Brainerd Jaycees to Investigate Possible Cheating at Ice Fishing Tournament

Brainerd Jaycees to Investigate Possible Cheating at Ice Fishing Tournament Click to Enlarge

BRAINERD, MN – For the first time since the Brainerd Jaycee’s Ice Fishing Extravaganza was launched in 1991, a major investigation is underway after contest officials confirmed that three men from Ohio were accused of cheating. The three men, a father, a song and another relative, took first, third and 98th place among the 150 prize winners on January 27th.

Event chairman Shane Meyer of Brainers released in a statement that organizers have no proof that anyone cheated. However, the title to the new GMC pickup that Stephan Kyogky or Hartville, Ohio won for catching a 3.10-pound northern pike is being withheld pending the investigation.

A hold has also been placed on the contest’s third-place prize, which is a $1,000 check won by Ivan Lyogky, Stephan’s father. Rostik Lyogky, who took 98th, won an ice auger. The trio told contest organizers that they caught their fish on Gull Lake’s Hole-In-The-Day bay.

“I was targeting walleye,” Stephan Lyogky told the Pine and Lakes Echo Journal newspaper after winning the contest. “I was paying attention to the guy next to me who caught a pike at 10 feet [deep]. I saw that and pulled up, and sure enough it was there.” He caught the winning fish about half hour into the three hour contest.

Ivan Lyogky told the Brainerd Daily Dispatch the fishing contest is “a gathering for the family, with cousins and uncles fishing alongside the father and son.” Ice fishing has been a Lyogky staple for generations, he told the newspaper, a pastime Ivan’s father shared with him when he lived as a child in Ukraine.

Efforts by the Star Tribune to reach the men in Ohio were unsuccessful.

In the contest’s 28 years, two other anglers were investigated for possible cheating. In those two cases, one person took a required lie detector test and passed it, and the other person declined, which was his right. When he did, he forfeited his prize.

Anyone trying to sneak a fish into the area would have to keep it alive long enough to get it into the water without being seen by other anglers or contest volunteers. To be counted for a prize, the fish must be alive when registered.

It’s also possible, Meyer said, that someone could sneak onto the ice the night before the contest to leave a live fish in a hole.

“We’ll have additional security protocols in place next year,” he said.

Date of the 2019 event, which is already being planned, is Jan. 26.

Photo used in this story courtesy of Caters News Agency

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