HOUGHTON LAKE—Ayden Pratt, 16, of Roscommon, loves to fish. While he normally targets pan fish, his goal this year was to catch his first lake trout. As an avid fisherman, Ayden spent six days in a row ice fishing on Higgins Lake in February, through the warm-up in weather, the rain, and the frigid cold that followed.
During this week of fishing, he did have a huge trout on his line, but lost it, according to his dad, Kelly Pratt. Well, goals are goals, and parents will do just about anything to help their kids reach their goals. So on February 13, Kelly went fishing with Ayden.
Ayden’s grandpa, Tom Pratt, used to take his kids fishing on Higgins Lake. Tom passed away a year ago, so Kelly took the reins.
“Ayden’s grandpa used to take his kids to one of his special spots on the lake,” Kelly said. “I took Ayden there.”
They targeted lake trout, jigging in a shanty. As Ayden was reeling in the fish, Kelly could see it through the hole, and saw the tag.
“It’s got a tag in it so you can enter that (contest) so don’t lose it,” Kelly said on the video of the catch. “This fish is tagged!”
Ayden’s lake trout is the fourth tagged fish caught in the 2021-2022 Houghton Lake Area Tourism Bureau’s Catch Us If You Can fishing contest. The contest runs year-around, ending on March 15 each year, and beginning again March 16.
His fish was registered at Lyman’s on the Lake in Houghton Lake, where he received a $50 gas card and was entered into the contest.
As a youth angler (under 17 years old), Ayden is eligible to win a $250 cash prize and a new kayak, sponsored by Art-Y-Facts of Roscommon.
Adult anglers catching tagged fish are eligible for a chance to win a grand prize of $100,000 and Lund boat from Spicer’s Boat City. There is a guaranteed major prize of $1,000. The second-place prize is a Mark Martin Ice Fishing School valued at $500. A prize packet sponsored by Pioneer Hills Marine will be awarded to a third angler.
More than 100 tagged fish are swimming in Houghton Lake, Higgins Lake, and Lake St. Helen. Anglers can bring their tagged fish in for verification at Lyman’s on the Lake in Houghton Lake, Korbinski’s Marine in Prudenville; The Sports Barn in Higgins Lake, or in St. Helen at The Minnow Bucket at Exit 222 or Trails Inn.
For more information on the contest, please contact the HLATB office at 1-989-422-2002, 1-800-676-5330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contest rules are found on www.visithoughtonlake.com.