Annual “Jigs Up” event to take place on Lake Wissota

The ice fishing competition to be held with added COVID-19 precautions

More stories from Amira Lunderville


Photo by Submitted

The Jigs Up Ice Fishing Contest originally started small, with an attendance of about 200.

Dan Schumacher, director of athletics, said last year the attendance reached almost 2,000.

“This community is great for ice fishing,” Andy Jepsen, director of Recreation and Sports Operations and of Jigs Up, said. “This event gives people the ability to spend time with their families out on the ice.” 

The eighth-annual Jigs Up Blugold Ice Fishing Contest will be held from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021.

The event will take place on Lake Wissota — with individual weigh-in stations on the ice — in front of The View on Lake Wissota and The Edge Pub & Eatery.

According to the event website, a Kids Klub event will take place at 12 p.m. with prize drawings at 1 p.m. on the ice in front of The View.

Tammy Brunschmid, a UW-Eau Claire services associate said Scheels will continue to be a sponsor for the Jigs Up and Kids Klub events, by providing all needed fishing gear to teach kids how to fish.

“It’s a wonderful event,” Brunschmid said. “If you only have a small window of time, it’s a great way to get your family out there and involved in ice fishing.” 

Anyone can sign up, Sheryl Poirier, assistant director of programs, said. All you have to do is buy a fish ticket for each fish you want to register. 

“Jigs Up is an ice fishing contest for anyone and everyone ranging from all ages,” Poirier said.

According to the event’s Facebook page, you can buy tickets at Scheels, Mega Holiday Stations (Chippewa Falls locations only), Lake Wissota Travel Stop, Eau Claire Ford, Jacobson’s Hardware, UWEC Recreation, The Edge, The View and The Sandbar. You can also buy tickets online.

Fish tickets will be available until 10 p.m. on Feb. 5 at one of the sponsor’s outlets and will be sold at weigh-in stations until 9 a.m. Feb. 6. Ticket prices go up the day of the event.

Jepsen helped create this event eight years ago and shape it to what the community will see this upcoming weekend, he said.

“It was an idea I had for over twelve years,” Jepsen said. “I wanted one of those events that we could tie Blugolds in and make a lot of fun for everyone, including the community.

Schumacher said the Jigs Up event is primarily held as a fundraiser. Raffle prizes and food booths raise money for the local Lion’s Club, while the rest of the money is split between the university’s athletic and recreation departments.

This year, Jigs Up will have over $80,000 in cash and prizes, including a 2-year lease on a 2021 Ford F150 XLT Super Crew Truck, Schumacher said. 

The full list of available prizes — including gift cards and ice fishing gear — is available on the event page website.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event will look different from previous years, Jepsen said. Everything has been moved outdoors and there will be markings in the snow to make sure people are properly socially distanced, he said. 

Ryan Schone, a fourth-year finance student said staff for the event have made adjustments to the event to follow the state ordinances for the pandemic. 

“With COVID-19 still being a very real presence in our community, the staff has come up with ways to safely weigh the fish and give out prizes in a manner that will require no contact with others,” Schone said.

The weigh-in stations will be outdoors this year, and the prize drawings will be posted online to eliminate a large gathering of people, Schone said.

Prize winners will be able to arrange to pick up their prizes for a later date, Jepsen said. Everything will be done online through the event’s Twitter, Facebook and main website page.

The team has done everything they can to make this an event that is fun for everyone, Schumacher said. 

“You don’t have to be an expert fisherman (to enjoy the event),” Schumacher said. “You can come out and learn that day. You can be a novice or a long-term fisherman, but you get to spend quality time with your family and win prizes along the way.” 

Lunderville can be reached at [email protected]