It's known to anglers as the Olympics of ice fishing and it's come to Central Wisconsin. The World Ice Fishing Championship kicked off Saturday at the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir in Mosinee. Anglers from 12 different countries, including the U.S., braved freezing Wisconsin temperatures in day one of the two day tournament.
Last year the Championship took place in Kazakhstan and now it's returned state side. Team USA Captain Mike McNett says having the competition at home certainly gives them an edge.
"The host country always has an advantage because generally they will have their finals on the same water and they can do training with maps and with an aqua view camera or some of the sonars that are out there. Obviously, you can't use them now. But the pre-fishing and the training, it's on this body of water so we should be doing better," McNett explained.
Team USA hasn't won gold since 2010. Now they're hoping to win their third ever tournament right here at home. At the end of competition Saturday, McNett said he was feeling confident about his team's chances, adding that they caught enough fish to leave them near the head of the pack.
Last year the team from Belarus took home the gold. Speaking of taking home the gold, the Championship is also bringing a lot of gold into Marathon County. The Wausau Tourism Board estimates the Championship brought in more than $30,000 in revenue.
If you want to catch the World Ice Fishing Championship, it continues Sunday, February 17th. Anglers will be on the ice from 9:00AM until noon.
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