St. Michael Lions Club Set for Annual Ice Fishing Contest

By Mike Schoemer

Worried about thin ice? Forget about it, the St. Michael Lions say. There’s a layer about 16 inches thick on Beebe Lake today, and with temperatures at night below freezing, that’s not going anywhere.

“We’re more concerned about a storm,” said Joe Dehmer, a longtime Lion and one of this year’s organizers for the annual St. Michael Lions Ice Fishing Contest. “This is such a family event, we love it when we can have some good weather and get the kids out there.”

The ice fishing tournament, which runs from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, is one of the largest fundraisers for the local Lions Club, which shares Lions International’s mission of service and eye health. Funds raised from this year’s tournament benefit everything from local scholarships (for St. Michael-Albertville High School graduates) to other community service projects.

“It’s really a great group of guys, very talented,” said Jim Pichler, another of this year’s organizers. “They work hard at it. But it’s a lot of fun.”

This year’s ice fishing event promises to be a lot of fun, as well. Pichler said the community support from local businesses has been “amazing,” with prizes from Hardware Hank, Cabela’s, Marketplace and many more.

The St. Michael-Albertville Boy Scouts will be on the lake selling refreshments.

As for Dehmer and Pichler, they’ll be on hand judging fish and making announcements.

“You get the kids running up to you with fish of all sizes, and you want to make each one feel special,” Dehmer said. “It’s pretty fun.”

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. They are available from Lions members or at the Hardware Hank store in St. Michael. Raffle tickets are $5 each and get anglers a chance to win items like a Vexilar fish finder or a Strike Master gas-powered auger, among other items.

KRWC Radio will be on hand with contests, and a live broadcast as well.

Due to the warm temperatures, participants will not be allowed to park on the lake. The Lions (in their traditional yellow vests with the purple logo) will provide parking instructions and some shuttles to the ice.

Holes will be drilled Friday evening by the Beebe Lake Association, so anglers should be careful when they head out to find their spot.