United Way Announces Hooked on Itasca Winners

Temperatures were cold over the past two weeks, but the weather didn’t stop local anglers from getting outdoors and supporting the community they love. 

January 28th – February 6th marked the second annual Hooked on Itasca ice fishing tournament. The ten-day competition, benefitting United Way of 1000 Lakes, encouraged participants to enjoy the outdoors and partake in a much-beloved Minnesota winter activity. The virtual format of the tournament, which utilized the FishDonkey app to record catches, provided a unique opportunity for tournament competitors to fish all over Itasca County.

“This was my second time doing the contest, and fishing with the Fish Donkey app; both are really fun,” said Aaron Alto, who caught the largest walleye in the tournament. “[Hooked on Itasca] motivated me to explore new lakes and try different methods, which was extra fun, especially since the adventures and efforts were all for a good cause: United Way of 1000 Lakes and all the good work they do.”

Hooked on Itasca also gave participants of all ages and fishing abilities a shot at prizes in two categories: the Grand Slam, a string of walleye, northern pike, and crappie; and Largest Walleye. Kids under age 17 competed in their own division, aiming for success in the same categories the adults competed in. 

Eric Scrivner took home the top prize in United Way’s Hooked on Itasca ice fishing tournament with a 72.85-inch Grand Slam.

Eric Scrivner, competing in Hooked on Itasca for the second time, won the Grand Slam in the Adult division with a combined length of 72.85 inches. Scrivner was followed by Jennifer Talbot in second place, with a combined length of 67.9 inches, with Pat Rowan in a close third at 67.15 inches. Aaron Alto won the Largest Walleye category with a 23-inch catch. 

Asher Tuttle, a second-year Hooked on Itasca competitor, had another successful tournament with his 38.4-inch string netting a second-place finish.

Competitors in the Kids Division saw success as well, with Lily Rowan taking the Grand Slam with a combined length of 56.85 inches. Rowan also won the Largest Walleye category with a 23.5-inch catch. Asher Tuttle, who took home the top prize in his division last year, had another successful tournament, placing second with a 38.4-inch string. Oscar Bundermann took third with a 20.5-inch total length. 

Lily Rowan won Hooked on Itasca’s Kids Grand Slam with a 56.85-inch string.

The tournament was generously sponsored by L&M Fleet Supply at the Platinum level and Woodland Bank at the Gold level. Tom Neustrom, a local fishing guide, served as tournament judge, helping to verify that submitted catches were legitimate. 

“We’re grateful to all of our competitors, sponsors, and volunteers who helped us accomplish another successful ice fishing tournament,” said United Way Executive Director Kimberly Brink Smith. “Participants of all ages should know that, whether they placed on top of the leaderboard or not, they made a positive impact in the Itasca area.”

Proceeds from the tournament will go towards United Way’s Helping Here campaign, which supports the organization’s community investment work. As United Way builds a new impact strategy, support from the community through events, donations, and volunteering will remain essential in helping the Itasca area thrive. 

To learn more about United Way’s work, impact, and how you can play your part, visit uwlakes.org. Opportunities to participate in other community events like Hooked on Itasca can be found at uwlakes.org/events.