The annual Catfish Festival on the Chain of Lakes in Richmond has been cancelled  this year due to ice conditions.  The event was scheduled for February 9-10.  The official website for the event indicates fishing tickets will be honored for next year's event.  The prizes and sponsorships will carry over to next year's event as well, which is scheduled for February 14-15, 2005.

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In 2023 Glen Schmitt from Outdoor News says a 15-pound channel catfish won the contest and many catfish that were 12 pounds and more were caught.  Schmitt suggests the event is really turning into a party and will return in 2025.

As for ice conditions throughout Central Minnesota they are uneven.  Schmitt says many anglers are running ATVs on local lakes but he expresses caution when doing so.  He says he's amazed we have as much ice as we do.  Schmitt says they are starting to drive trucks on the ice up north including the larger lakes like Mille Lacs, Red, and Leech Lakes.  He suggests everyone work through resorts for what is acceptable based on ice conditions on those lakes.

Schmitt says there are more people out fishing in the past week but the amount of people fishing for this time of year is still below normal.  Despite the forecast for the next couple of weeks, which includes highs in the 30s and 40s, Schmitt doesn't believe we'll lose a lot of ice but locations on lakes that were late to freeze may not have enough ice depth.

If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Glen Schmitt it is available below.



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