HOUGHTON LAKE – It’s been a slow start to the Houghton Lake Area Tourism Bureau’s (HLATB) “Catch Us If You Can” fishing contest. But Mark Lambie of Eagle “broke the ice” and caught the first tagged fish for the 2022-23 year.
Mark was ice fishing Houghton Lake New Year’s Eve day, Dec. 31, 2022, with a buddy. After catching one keeper, they moved spots looking for the bottom weeds.
“We moved to the middle grounds,” Mark said. “When it hit, I thought it was a perch. When it got up to the hole, I saw the tag.”
He and his buddy thought it might have been a DNR tag. But they sent a picture to another friend, who knew about the contest.
“I’ve been fishing for 45 years and have heard about it, to finally catch one is pretty cool. I’m super excited!” Mark said.
Lambie, who has a cottage on Houghton Lake, ice fishes there almost every weekend during the winter and often during the summer.
He registered the walleye at Lyman’s on the Lake in Houghton Lake, where he received a $50 gas card and was entered into the contest. The tagged fish could be worth $100,000 and a new Lund boat from Spicer’s Boat City in Houghton Lake – the grand prize in HLATB’s year-round fishing contest. The contest ends March 15 each year and begins again March 16.
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 $1000 cash. The second-place prize is a Mark Martin Ice Fishing School valued at $500. A prize packet will be awarded to a third angler sponsored by Pioneer Hills Marine of Higgins Lake.
Youth anglers (under 17 years old) catching a tagged fish are eligible to win a $250 cash prize and a new kayak, sponsored by Art-Y-Facts of Roscommon.
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.