In the early 1990s the Brainerd Jaycees had a desire to develop a signature project—a project that would rally members, raise money for local charities, and provide avenues for individual growth, personal development, and leadership. 

With the first contest being held in January 1991, it is certain the founders never expected this event would become the world’s largest ice fishing contest and put Brainerd, MN, on the map with a winter event that generates over $1-million in revenue for area businesses and over $150,000 for area charities annually.

Ice fishing is the practice of catching fish with lines and fish hooks or spears through an opening in the ice on a frozen body of water. Ice fishers may fish in the open or in heated enclosures, some with bunks and amenities.

The Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza, is held on Gull Lake, north of Brainerd, Minnesota, in January of each year. 

The tournament takes place on Gull Lake’s Hole In The Day Bay, 15 miles north of Brainerd. The locale takes its name after Chief Joseph Hole-In-The-Day. The lake isn’t as big as some of the neighboring ones, but still, there’s always that awe-inspiring feeling when you’re standing on such a massive body of frozen water. Seeing thousands of excited people dotted all around you only adds to the spectacle.

There will be as many as 20,000 holes in the ice drilled for the Extravaganza – all done by the hardworking volunteers. It takes just four hours to drill all these holes, but a whopping 20 thousand volunteer hours go into making the whole event.

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