Posted By VanOtisco, last year
The results are in for the 2016 NYS Ice Pro-Am Tournament (IPA) Series & NYS Winter Classic Tournament. By all accounts, it was a difficult season due to the effects of a strong El Niño, making it extremely difficult to run ice fishing events. Still, Director Tim Thomas and his team were able to hold 4 of the 6 Ice Pro-Am Series events and the Winter Classic (due to its broad platform and allowing for open water & stream fishing).
Despite lower numbers of participants attributed to a late ice season and sketchy ice conditions leading up to the events, those who participated brought some very impressive fish to the scales including walleye over 14 pounds, pike over 20 pounds, and both perch and crappie over 2 pounds!
A Recap By Event
The IPA Tournament season started off with the Honeoye Lake Team Event on January 23rd. Most teams were able to put together decent catches of panfish and perch, while only a few capitalized on the Pickerel in the shallows. No teams were able to ice any walleye or pike, however Rich Wood (Director Tim Thomas' brother-in-law who was helping with weigh-ins that day) was able to catch his first fish through the ice – a 20.34 lb northern pike that (according to the NYS Dept. of Fisheries and DEC) is the largest officially recorded pike caught on the lake to date. Team Brotherdads (Jim & Jake Pollock) took home the first place trophies and over $400 in cash & prizes. They also took the lead in the running for the IPA Series Triple Crown title. All teams that participated were given door prizes from the many Series sponsors this year.
If the video is not displaying properly, view it directly on YouTube here.IPA Event Honeoye Lake
The second IPA Series event was held on Chaumont Bay on January 30th, where it was a balmy 15 degrees as opposed to the previous year's event when it was -23 at the shotgun start! While some teams were able to find and capitalize on the large walleye Chaumont Bay is famous for, most teams struggled. Team Farmer, lead by team captain Paul Farmer, was able to put together the largest box with a 85.88 point total, while Team Gaff Lunkage (Dan Jackson & Catherine Gumtow) iced the largest walleye tipping the scales to 14.24 lbs and placed 3rd overall. This would bring them into contention for the Triple Crown title. Team Farmer came away from the event with over $700 in cash & prizes.
The third IPA Series event was held on Oneida Lake. While several teams did very well pre-fishing the days prior to the event, all the teams struggled on tourney day without a single keeper walleye (16" or larger) being caught. Team Fish Raper came out on top with 15.62 points bringing them into contention for the Triple Crown title. They walked away with over $400 in cash & prizes.
If the video is not displaying properly, view it directly on YouTube here.IPA Event Oneida Lake
The 4th and final IPA event this year was moved from Sodus Bay to Oneida Lake due to safe ice concerns and was run as a 2-day team event. Leading up to the event the bite was very good on the lake and that continued into Day 1. Many teams came to the scales with their 3 walleye and an assortment of perch with a few pickerel too. After Day 1, Team Brotherdads had a 2.50 point lead over Team Fish Chopper (Kevin Keller & Doug Davis). Day 2 proved to be a much slower bite for most, but FishChopper found a hot bite and came in with a full box again on Day 2 to take first place with 133.60 points. They also weighed-in the largest perch (1.12 lbs) and walked away with over $1000 in cash & prizes. Team Brotherdads placed 2nd with 104.63 points and weighed-in the largest Pickerel of the event (3.43 lbs) that also took the Lunker Pool – they walked away with over $800 in cash & prizes. Team Gaff Lunkage rounded out the Top 3 teams with 97.13 points. They walked away with over $950 in cash & prizes including the Kayak Raffle Package.
The IPA Series Triple Crown Cup Title is awarded to the team that places the best consistently throughout the Series events accumulating the highest Triple Crown point total score across a minimum of 3 events. This year's Series Title was awarded to Team Brotherdads with a total Triple Crown point total of 294. They were also the 2015 Triple Crown champions. Full details and pictures regarding the 2016 events can be found by clicking on the event links at: http://www.nysiceproam.com/Events.html.
Although the weather made it a tough season, attracting about the same number of anglers as before, Thomas sees the 2016 season as a huge success beacuse more people know about the events than ever. He says, "[Our] following on Facebook increased from around 400 in the spring to over 1700 currently, and those that participated brought some very nice fish to the scales!". Among those credited with his increase in Facebook followers is NYOutdoorTalk.com, which provided statewide exposure for the IPA and Winter Classic.
Here's a photo album of some of the more memorable catches.
Below is a list of the top placing anglers in the 2016 event:
Pike: Justin Walts – 16.57 lbs
Walleye: Catherine Gumtow – 14.24 lbs
Trout: Tyler Morrison – 16.79 lbs
Pickerel: Charles Trump – 6.40 lbs
Yellow Perch: Tom Allen – 2.38 lbs
Crappie: Kevin Riley – 2.74 lbs
Panfish: Jake Pollock – 1.61 lbs
Largest Steelhead: Tyler Morrison – 13.00 lbs
Largest Fish by a Female Angler: Catherine Gumtow – 14.24 lb Walleye
A full listing of placements and weekly winners can be found here.
Wanna Get In On It Next Winter?
The 2017 schedule of Series Tournament events is currently being finalized and will be released by the end of March.