“Fishing for a Cure” scheduled for Austin’s East Side Lake February 19th

A global pandemic froze “Fishing for a Cure” for a year but the popular ice-fishing contest that raised nearly $25,000 for cancer research in 2020 is returning next week to Austin’s East Side Lake.

On Feb. 19, the “Fishing for a Cure” ice-fishing contest will run from noon to 2 p.m. as part of the annual Paint the Town Pink initiative to raise funding for breast cancer research at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota in Austin.

Registration starts at 11 a.m. for the Saturday event at East Side Lake’s boat ramp on the eastern shoreline along Oakland Place Northeast. Portable fish houses are allowed on the lake, and Minnesota fishing regulations apply to all anglers.

Since its inception, “Fishing for a Cure” has raised more than $162,000 for The Hormel Institute’s cancer research, said Hayley Newman, who leads the event with her father, Glenn Newman.Organizers typically drill 200 to 250 holes in East Side Lake but can drill more, if needed, she said.

Holes usually all are flagged and participants can pick any available hole on the lake; anglers also can bring their auger to create their own holes.

Each $20 entry fee for “Fishing for a Cure” – whose motto is “Continuing in the fight against cancer” – includes drilled holes, bait from Runnings, a button number entered for a $100 drawing along with door prizes and a meal at the post-contest event at the Austin Eagles Club, 107 11th St. N.E. A silent auction also will be featured at the Eagles.

Top anglers – who are determined by the weight of their fish pulled up from East Side Lake – will win $300 for first place; $200 for second; and $100 for third. Most years, anywhere from three to 30 fish – typically pan fish –are caught overall by the contest’s anglers.

During the last “Fishing for a Cure” in January 2020 – which raised $24,594 – the long-running contest saw its biggest fish ever caught:  a 2-pound, 5-ounce largemouth bass. The fish was reeled in by Landen and Levi Lentz (at the time, ages 7 and 4) of Rochester. In comparison, the second-place fish that year weighed just 6 ounces.

In 2020, “Fishing for a Cure” raised $24,594 for The Hormel Institute’s cancer research.

This year’s event also has for the first time an online-donation option set up through the University of Minnesota to enhance the fundraising for “Fishing for a Cure.” The weblink is:  crowdfund.umn.edu/campaign/Fishing-for-a-Cure

For more information, email [email protected] or call Hayley at 507-440-8167 or Glenn at 507-438-0313.