After nearly a four-year absence due to bad weather or COVID-19, the Midwest Open Ice Fishing Tournament will return to Brooklyn, Mich.
The tournament features the highest-paying purse of any ice fishing tournament in the United States with $20,300 awarded to the winning two-man team.
A total of 150 two-man teams will be attempting to win the top prize on Sunday, Feb. 6 at Wamplers Lake near Brooklyn.
Anglers from nearly 10 states will be looking to win the big check at the end of the day.
Joe Thornburg and Marc Melson of the Kalamazoo area are the defending champions from 2018.
The tournament is organized by Knutson’s Sporting Goods of Brooklyn.
“We are a bit rusty, but we are going to pull it off,” Tom Knutson said. “We are right in the middle of a busy stretch at the store and our crew is exhausted.”
A rules meeting will be held at Columbia Central High School on Saturday, Feb. 5. Only one team member is needed to attend the 7 p.m. meeting.
Fishing starts at Wamplers Lake at 8 a.m. and the teams need to be in a finishing area no later than 1 p.m.
Anglers are attempting to catch eight big crappies and eight large bluegills. Total weight wins the tournament.
Melson and Thornburg won the tournament with a total weight of 10.35 pounds in 2018. They edged out local anglers Grant Neblo and Bronson Burch by a tenth of an ounce to take the $20,300 check.
The weigh-in will be held at Columbia Central High School, 11775 Hewitt Road, Brooklyn, on Sunday beginning at 2:30 p.m. The weigh-in event is free and the public is invited to cheer on the anglers.
One by one, each of the fishing buckets are weighed to determine the winning team. Knutson and Scott Clow of McKibbin Media Group/K105.3 will serve as the emcees of the event.
More than $41,000 in money and prizes will be handed out in the annual tournament.
The tournament is expected to be broadcast on Facebook Live @FoxSportsJackson.
For more information, go to www.midwestopentournament.com.