The annual Big Bobber ice fishing tournament took place Saturday, but a change to this year's tournament provided a whole new look on the lake.

Nearly 3,000 anglers prepared their holes for this year's Mad Bobber ice fishing tournament.

Previously known as the Big Bobber, the new format allowed fisherman to house themselves anywhere on the lake as opposed to a condensed section for the last nine years.

Not only did the amount of space change, but participants had the option of fishing inside or chilling out in the cold, sunny afternoon.

Tournament official Al Dorn said "People are allowed to use their wheelhouses, portable houses, open air fishing on a great day today. What it's done is has really gotten a broad range of people that maybe can't sit on a bucket for three hours but they can sit in their hard houses."

The event had no age restrictions for both adults and kids were eager to see that rod move and when the initial siren went off, everyone had their eyes set on catching the big one.

Contestants competed for five categories; Walleye, Bass (Largemouth, White), Northern, Panfish (Crappie, Yellow Perch, Bluegill) & MadBonus (Buffalo, Bullhead, Catfish, Sucker). 

A number of different techniques can go into ice fishing and some have learned how to prevent wind from being a deceptive factor.

Participant Christian Barker said "One good technique is to have the car in front of you. When I was fishing before, I thought I was getting fish because my pool kept bending because of the wind was coming. So, just park in front of the hole so then you can really tell if there's a fish or not."

Plenty of fish couldn't stay underneath frigid Madison Lake as one group caught fire early on in single digit weather.

Although those who caught fish competed for the top prize of an ice house all the way down to a cooler, anyone became eligible to win any of the 25 door prizes which included anything from fishing and camping gear to $600 in cash.

Whether individuals caught a fish or won a prize Saturday, the experience of partaking in this event with loved ones is a win in and of itself.

Father Jim Barker said "Just a fun event, you get quality time to spend with your kids. We like the outdoors and we like fishing and it's just a really good event to attend."

The catch of the day belonged to Kinley Tish who brought in a nice 8 lb. 6 oz. fish in the MadBonus category.

The other four winners were; A. Weinandt who brought in a 3 lb. 15 oz. walleye, Jesse Drummer with a 1 lb. 12 oz. bass, K. Kroells with a 7 lb. 7 oz. northern and J. Gorden with a 1 lb. 1 oz. panfish.   

- KEYC 12