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Fishing enthusiasts to participate in Hard Water Classic ice fishing tournament

Contest to be Jan. 14 at Blackwell Forest Preserve

WARRENVILLE – For die-hard fishermen, fishing is a year-round activity.

Plenty of fishing enthusiasts are expected to participate in the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's Hard Water Classic ice fishing tournament from noon to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 14 on Silver Lake at the district's Blackwell Forest Preserve on Butterfield Road in Warrenville.

The tournament has proven to be popular over the years. This would be the fifth year of the event.

"We probably get anywhere between 170 and 220 people participating [in each tournament]," said Bob McNeel, assistant manager of the district's west rangers. "There's not a whole lot of tournaments and competitions in the wintertime around here. This is kind of a unique opportunity for the local fishermen to come out on the ice and fish and have some camaraderie with friends and family and compete for some prizes too."

The top three catches of northern pike, largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill will win $125, $100 and $75 gift cards, respectively, to sporting goods store Cabela's, McNeel said. The big fish of the day winner will get his or her choice of a gas-powered auger or a flip-style shelter, he said.

Door prizes also will be presented. Those who want to participate can register online at the district's website at Those who participate must bring their own equipment. Registration is $20 in advance or $25 at the event.

Proceeds will support archery, fishing, boating and other ranger-led programs for Boy Scouts, youth groups, community resource centers and children with special needs in DuPage County.

Check-in and registration will begin at 11 a.m. at the Silver Lake boat launch. If weather conditions cancel the event, the tournament will be rescheduled for Feb. 11.

"Really the only thing that could stop it from happening is a really warm heavy rain," McNeel said. "I don't really see that happening, but you never know."

McNeel runs the tournament. He enjoys seeing the camaraderie between participants.

"It's just kind of neat to see how everyone has a good time and gets along, the camaraderie of it all," he said.


If you go

What: Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's Hard Water Classic ice fishing tournament

When: noon to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 14

Where: Silver Lake at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville

Cost: $20 in advance or $25 at the event


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