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Blackduck Lake turns into playground for ice fishing derby

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BLACKDUCK ­– Not long after the start of a fishing derby on Blackduck Lake, adults and children alike began pulling northerns out of the water like it was their job.

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And the tail clippings for keepers started piling up near the weighing table.

Jodie Burmeister picked up one of the clippings, glinting green and gold in the sun and walked over to her granddaughter, Brynn. Burmeister handed the small trophy to the 6-year-old as she waited in line to sign up for a scavenger hunt.

“I’m going to kiss it,” Brynn said and started leaning toward the piece of tail.

Burmeister smiled and rolled her eyes.

“Anything dead or gross is right up her alley,” she said. “She should have been a boy.”

The scavenger hunt challenged dozens of children to find something on the lake, filled Saturday with over 300 people fishing and raising money for the Blackduck Fire Department, that represented each letter of the alphabet.

Brynn already had “T” out of the way with.

The derby and the hunt, along with a polar plunge and a “shoot the puck for a buck” event raised funds for the fire department, youth baseball and youth hockey, respectively.

And while there were plenty of serious fishermen, pulling in three, four and five-pound fish – mostly northerns – there were just as many kids.

On Saturday, Blackduck Lake resembled a giant, recess-time playground.

They wrestled, ran, dove in snow two-feet deep where it hadn’t been plowed away and, probably with the aid of more patient adults, caught some fish.

Holley, Kaitlynn and Jaris Johnson managed to pull a nearly two-pound northern from the lake – despite being a rambunctious and Frisbee-obsessed trio.

“Do you want to keep it? Fletcher Cauchon asked them at the weighing table.

The girls looked at each other, unsure.

“Are they good?” Jaris asked.

“Boney, but good,” Cauchon said.

“No, throw it away. I mean, throw it back,” Jaris decided.

Brynn didn’t appear too concerned with catching anything. She seemed pleased with her prize.

So, with a pencil and a card with a box for each letter of the alphabet in her hand, Brynn set off with Burmeister on the hunt for an “A.”

After one more question from grandma.

“What are you going to do with the tail?”

“Put it in my bed.”

It was a free, tiny and biodegradable trophy, and a check mark next to “T.” 

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Justin Glawe
Reporting on crime, courts and Beltrami county government. Follow me on Twitter @JustinGlawe.
(218) 333-9200 x343
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