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Drop a line and chill: Rotary readies for fishing contest

This young fisherman proudly displays one of the biggest fish ever caught during the Jim Ferguson Kids Ice Fishing Contest. (Photos courtesy of Tom Feehan)1 / 3
Nice weather has brought good crowds for the Jim Ferguson Kids Ice Fishing Contest the last few years.2 / 3
Red Wing Rotarian David Anderson speaks to the crowd of kids anxiously awaiting their chance for fishing glory. The 2014 Jim Ferguson Kids Ice Fishing Contest starts at 1 p.m. Saturday Jan. 25 at Pottery Pond.3 / 3

After all the holes are drilled, all the hooks baited and the horn sounds there is one thing left to do: fish.

Saturday Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. the horn will sound and the fishing will commence for the Red Wing Rotary children’s ice fishing contest on Pottery Pond.

“The idea is to get kids out there and introduce them to ice fishing,” said Rotarian David Anderson, who has been involved in the contest for 10 years.

The Red Wing Rotary Club sponsors two contests each year – one in June and the other in January – on Pottery Pond.

Along with rewarding prizes for first fish caught, biggest and smallest fish, and number of fish, the contests also pay tribute to a long-time Rotarian Jim “Fergie” Ferguson.

“(Jim) always enjoyed introducing kids to fishing,” Anderson said, adding Ferguson was instrumental in the process for the Rotary Club adopting Pottery Pond Park.

Anderson said the last few years they had good weather for the event, which drew pretty good crowds.

Some equipment is available, bait is provided and all the holes will be drilled by Rotarians and other volunteers, Anderson said. However, he does encourage people to bring their own gear if they can.

Shelters are allowed for the contest, which isn’t always the case for fishing contests, but Anderson said they want to make sure the kids get out and enjoy their time fishing.

Anderson said the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources usually stocks the pond with trout a couple weeks before the contest and last year kids pulled up some pretty nice trout through the ice.

Hot chocolate will be provided during the contest and registration starts around 12:30 p.m. Anderson said people are welcome to come out a little early and get some fishing in, but nothing counts until the horn sounds.