Fishapalooza ice fishing contest on FL put on ice

Lack of anglers to blame for tourney’s demise

Clint Riese
Sports Editor

It just wasn’t working.

The reasoning behind the discontinuation of the Fishapalooza ice fishing tournament is that clear-cut for Jim Woods of Ice Hole Productions, who brought ice fishing back to Forest Lake in 2008.

The on-again-off-again event is back off, and without any unforeseen developments, this time it’s for good.

“If someone wants to pick it up they can,” Woods said last week. “But if what we were giving away didn’t make it work, I don’t think anything will.”

Indeed, the tournament’s troubles were not for a lack of sponsor interest – Fishapalooza 2011 saw the disbursement of about $180,000 worth of prizes, including a $20,000 check for the biggest fish. And while the balmy winter might well have forced the event’s cancellation anyways, Woods made up his mind months ago.

Fishapalooza drew only 3,300 or so participants last year. For an event in its third year (it was not held in 2009), Woods could not continue to work on it year-round and not see a profit.

“It’s just not what I expected when we started this,” he said. “I expected it to grow…It just didn’t work.”

VFW Post 4210 in Forest Lake was Fishapalooza’s title sponsor.

  • What A Joke

    I just want to say this is a huge joke. Not the turn out you are expecting come on 3300 people or so that’s a lot of people. Also Mr. Woods what kind of profit are you looking for, with the 3300 people and if everyone bought two holes that’s 264,000 dollars but I understand not everyone bought two holes so we will go with half of the people bought two hole that’s still 222,750 dollars that right there is 42,750 over your total prize pool, and let’s be honest proboably most of the prize pool was donated from your sponsors. Let’s stop being greedy and lazy. Again what a joke.

    • Ryan Lamusga

      I would have to agree with the last respondant. That is a Joke. 3300 people is over three times what the Hardwater classic brings in each year and the Duluth Big Jig contest has a limit to 3,000 total entries. This isnt something your suppsed to get rich on. Its to bring together the surrounding community and to get people invoved. If its too much work for the current individuals then i suggest passing it on to someone else…. fyi- its pretty dang hard to get bigger if the contest doesnt take place…

      • jbird

        yea I agree with you guys and lets not forget the thousands to be made by venor pecentages,beer and food sales n such!

  • Steve

    Let me start by saying, it’s a shame this fun event has been canceled. My friends and I have always made this a weekend event. We travel from NW Ia and spend the weekend in Forest Lake. For us, it wasn’t at all about the fishing, but, more the fun we had in meeting and socialising with all the new people we met. We can catch plenty of fish right here for much less money.

    As a promotor of fundraisers for a non-profit agency, I certainly do understand where Mr. Woods is coming from. There are many “man hours” that go into organizing and pulling off such an event. However, I feel that Mr. Woods has missed the mark this time. Winter events typically do not profit as much income as summer events, even in this neck of the woods. I would suggest looking at the current expendatures and see if these are items that could also be donated. If not, then I would look at the costs that could be eliminated all together. Including any of the prizes that are purchased. I personally can’t see how this is a “break even” event with 3300 entries. One option could have been raising entry fees by $5.00/person. That would generate an additional $16,500.00. For most fishing enthusiests, the additional $5.00 would not have chased us away. After all, I believe most people attended the event for the same reasons I and my friends did. A fun day on the ice meeting and socializing.

    On top of that, I believe Mr. Woods has missed the bigger picture than simply making money from his event. It would be interesting to see the economic inpact of the local retailers, restaurants, bait shops, license sales, motels etc. as a result of this event. Now I know this one weekend won’t “make or break” any of the local retailers, but the lost income certainly will be noticed.

    Again, it’s a shame to see such a fun and well organized event go to the wayside. I for one will miss it! Thank You Mr. Woods, for the enjoyment you and your team have proved to so many people, with such a well organized event. It will be missed.

  • Jon

    I usually got as many people as I could to go each year to this event. 3300 not enough? thats alot, not to mention all the raffle tickets I bought each year! Each person I brought and I usually bought at least 4 raffle tickets each.

    I would think the more years that you arranged the event it would get easier and easier by making contacts with each vendor.

    Hopefully someone will take over in the future, maybe have it somewhere closer to the city and closer to where there is money. Hint Hint (Minnetonka)

  • don

    i think maybe the entrance might have gotten to high, like everything else, fenders the price the public out of this event

  • Shane Warnke Jr.

    With the amount of time that goes into planning and orchestrating an event such as this, I commend Jim for giving it his all. Having known Jim for a few years I can say first hand that he is a dedicated driven individual. For the amount of time and effort set forth to put an event such as this on, one deserves a reasonable return. I think that it was a fair statement for Jim to say, that if anyone else wants to pick it up and put forth their valiant effort, than the opportunity is here. Once again, thanks Jim for the time and effort you dedicated to making this contest happen for a few very fun years.