Ice fishing tournament nets winners

MECCA – Patience to sit for several hours Sunday on a frozen lake paid off for Travis Orient of Thompson as he was named the winner of this year’s ice fishing tournament.

Not only did Orient, and his fishing partner, Rob Klein of Leroy, have the heaviest amount of fish obtained Sunday at 9.47 pounds but they also caught the largest fish of the day at 1.02 pounds.

The two men were among the 19 teams of two competing at the fifth annual Mosquito Lake ice fishing tournament hosted by Causeway Sporting Goods,, and the Trumbull County Tourism Bureau.

The tournament kicked off at 7 a.m. at Mosquito Creek Reservoir in Mecca and ended eight hours later around 3 p.m. as teams weighed their catch.

Chris Valentine of Sunbury echoed the sentiments of the majority of fisherman saying it was a ”very slow day” due to the mid-ice on the lake.

Orient and Klein, who placed fourth in the event in 2010, brought in their bucket filled with fish along with others, noting that they were sure to be the day’s winners.

”Their bucket had the most fish I have seen all day,” Valentine said noting the crappy, bluegill and perch inside.

Orient said the two caught 11 perch and four crappies weighing in at 9.47 pounds with the biggest fish, a crappy at 1.02 pounds.

”This is a big bag of fish. They did a great job,” said tournament organizer David Hoheisel as he weighed the fish caught by Klein and Orient.

The top teams win prizes based on the weight of 15 fish caught during the tournament, Valentine said.

He said the event drew fishermen from Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania.

Valentine saidat one time the event drew 44 teams, but this year there was snow on the roads early in the morning.

”A lot of guys came out here Saturday to fish and said the fishing was really rough so they decided not to enter the tournament,” he said.

The extremely cold temperatures recently helped create a thick layer of ice on area lakes. Organizers said the conditions on the lake are better this year than last year with the thicker ice of 10 to 12 inches.

The event had not been held for the past two years due to poor ice.

Bob Voyda of Hartford and Ron Scarbrough of Farrell, Pa. were able to catch two crappies, a bluegill and a perch.

”We have been here before. We are in the middle of the season so there is a lot of mid-ice, which makes it rough to fish with the snow,” Voyda said.

David and Bob McCaughy, both of Champion, placed second in the event catching eight crappy and bluegill.

”It started out slow and finding the fish was tough,” David McCaughy said noting last year’s event was canceled because there was no snow.