Leelanau News and Events

Interlochness Ice Fishing Contest Cancelled For Second Year In A Row

By Craig Manning | Feb. 7, 2024

Bad news, ice fishing enthusiasts: For the second year in a row, the popular tri-county Interlochness Fishing Contest has been cancelled. The event was supposed to take place during the weekend of February 17.

“The forecast leading up to the 17th is not good,” host organization NWMI Fishing Club wrote in a Sunday Facebook post announcing the cancellation. “If anyone signed up early, your registration will be returned at Long Lake Grocery.”

The news is likely no surprise to most local ice fishers. This winter has consistently seen above-average (and above-freezing) temperatures, with little snow and next to no ice cover. This week’s weather forecast also calls for temperatures to rise into the mid-50s, leaving little opportunity for new ice for form in the next 10 days.

Traditionally, NWMI Fishing Club hosts the Interlochness competition each year during the Michigan DNR’s wintertime “Free Fishing Weekend,” which falls during Presidents' Day Weekend. The contest invites ice fishers of all ages to fish any body of water in Leelanau, Grand Traverse, or Benzie counties in pursuit of fish in five divisions: lake trout, pike, perch, walleye, and bluegill.

NWMI Fishing Club wrote in its social media announcement that it is “truly bummed” about having to cancel the popular event, before proclaiming: “Let’s get this ‘winter’ over with.”

The cancellation is especially notable given that it marks the second straight year where Interlochness could not proceed as plan. Last year, similar low-ice conditions in early February prompted NWMI Fishing Club to cancel the event for safety reasons.

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