Ice fishing contest hooks 86 anglers

By Hank Lohmeyer


Ice fishing contest hooks 86 anglers | Grand Mesa, Ice fishing,

Photo by Hank Lohmeyer Winners in last weekend's ice fishing contest at Island Lake are, from left, Eugene Wilson of Grand Junction/Fruita; Tyler Kuntz of Hotchkiss, and Bruce Bufkin of Leroux Creek/Hotchkiss.

The Grand Mesa Island Lake fishing contest keeps growing.

This year there were 86 entrants in the event, up from 73 last year and about 50 in 2014.

This year's winner of the $250 top prize was Bruce Bufkin of Hotchkiss/Leroux Creek. He landed his fish and had it measured only minutes following the contest's 9 a.m. opening last Saturday. The fish was one of just a few he caught during the day and it measured 21 inches combined length and girth. Contest officials said the fish was a splake.

Another resident of Hotchkiss, Tyler Kuntz, took the second-place $200 cash prize with his catch that measured 20-7/8 inches. Levi Kuntz, also of Hotchkiss, landed a 19-incher; a nice catch but a big fish that finished out of the money this day.

Eugene Wilson of Grand Junction/Fruita took third place and a $150 prize by reeling in a fish measuring 20-1/4 inches. Also finishing close but out of the money was Cade Schindel of Castle Rock with a catch measuring 20 inches.

In the 11-and-under youth category, Braxton Wilsey of Clifton, Gia Purdue of Parachute, and Alissa Metrovich of Rifle won top prizes. Their awards included trophies and gift certificates.

This fourth annual event drew contestants from around the area, and also from the Front Range cities of Castle Rock and Centennial, contest officials said.

The annual contest is sponsored by the Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce and organized and hosted by Terry and Carole Jarbo of Creekside Bed and Breakfast.