More than 400 people participated in this year’s King of the Ice Tournament at White Lake in Bethel on Sunday. Sullivan County Conservation Club President John Van Etten said it was one of the …
More than 400 people participated in this year’s King of the Ice Tournament at White Lake in Bethel on Sunday. Sullivan County Conservation Club President John Van Etten said it was one of the largest crowds of ice fishers in recent memory of the tournament.
Registration for the day opened at 5 a.m. and lines hit the water an hour later. The fishing didn’t stop until Conservation Club Secretary Jay Mendels walked to the shore at 3 p.m. to blow the air horn, signaling the end of competition.
“It was awful cold (Sunday) morning, but now the weather is beautiful,” said Mendels as the afternoon sun shone bright in the sky. “People need to start doing social things again and we feel good about being able to offer this opportunity.”
The Conservation Club has been organizing the King of the Ice Tournament for over 30 years. As with every year, the competition depends on the weather.
“Each year we see more families taking part. We see more husbands, wives and kids all getting involved with this. And that’s wonderful because that’s going to keep the sport alive,” Mendels said.
The Conservation Club, with assistance from the White Lake Fire Company, hosted the day’s events at the firehouse pavilion.
“To be able to have this facility here and have the fire company be able to work with us really pulls everything together,” Mendels added.
It was a very close competition for the top prize and it came down to two pickerel.
Jeffrey Altman took the early lead with a pickerel weighing 4lbs and measuring 25 inches long. Altman was thought to be the winner until Mark Kerstner came in with a pickerel weighing 4.5 lbs and measuring 25.5 inches, making him the 2022 King of the Ice.
According to the Conservation Club, Altman still took first place in the separate pickerel category. Hailing from Otisville, Kerstner said he’d been coming to King of the Ice for around 20 years, but it wasn’t until this year that he wore the coveted crown.
King of the Ice: Mark Kerstner
Youth Division: 1st Place Perch - Jaden Rion
2nd Place Perch - Maya Henri
3rd Place Perch - Wyatt Brennan
1st Place Pickerel - Ryleigh Lamantia
2nd Place Pickerel - Miguel Martirie Jr.
3rd Place Pickerel - Daniel Weiss
Adult Division: 1st Place Perch - Jacob Puzio
2nd Place Perch - Randy Caruso
3rd Place Perch - Tom Tootz
1st Place Pickerel - Jeffrey Altman
2nd Place Pickerel - Tim Weiss
3rd Place Pickerel - Jacob Puzio
1st Place Walleye - Teddy Krajovan
2nd Place - N/A
3rd Place - N/A
1st Place Crappie - Jake Polick
2nd Place Crappie - Teddy Krajovan
3rd Place Crappie - N/A
1st Place Trout - Mike Clegg
2nd Place Trout - Matt Kerstner
3rd Place Trout - Bill Payne
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