From the Chetek Alert
August 20 1998
| You think you've heard them all when it comes to the "reel-em-in"
type fish stories. But this one is unique to Chetek--it has to be, because Chetek is the
only community that supports the Fish-O-Rama
contest year in and year
This fish story had its beginnings back in the spring of 1992. It
was then that Gary Fredrickson of Outers Resort on Prairie Lake had the thrill of catching
a 4 lb. 4 oz., 19-inch long largemouth bass. As it was in late April or early May, before
the opening of the 1992 fishing season, this Fish had to be released back into the waters
of the Chetek Chain of Lakes. But there was one other thing that could be done with this
fish--it could be tagged and become one of the major prizes in that year's Fish-O-Rama contest
So the same Gary Fredrickson, then and still the official
"fish tagger" for Fish-O-Rama decided that this fish would be a great fish to be
tagged. It was, in fact, one of three that Gary caught in Zone 2 on Prairie Lake (central
part of the lake) on that day, all to be eventually tagged for the contest. The fish were
probably in the livewell of Gary's Ranger boat for just a short time before he took his
"tagging gun" and placed tags just below the dorsal fins of these bass,
including the 4 lb. 4 oz. fish that received the number 92018, and then released back into
If the fish had been caught in1992, it would have been worth
$1,000.00 to the person catching it. During that era of Fish-O-Rama gamefish such as bass, northerns and walleyes were worth the big money. Panfish had values ranging from $25.00 to $100.00 each. A few years later the Department of Natural Resources began to frown on tagging gamefish, so the emphasis was moved over to panfish for Fish-O-Rama tagging purposes.
As the bass in question wasn't caught and turned in for cash that
summer of 1992,it apparently did what any largemouth bass does--swim around ,eat frogs and
worms and leeches and other delicacies that only bass can love. The years went
by--1992--1993--1994--1995--1996--1997--and finally the year 1998.
Re-enter Gary Fredrickson back into the picture. Last Tuesday
night Aug.4, Gary was back in his Ranger boat doing a little bass fishing and tuning up
for the annual Bass Tournament here on the Chetek Chain of Lakes coming up this weekend.
Gary was casting his plugs in the headwaters of the Chetek chain, up on the north end of
Prairie Lake, when the large bass hit. Minutes later the bass was on board the Ranger, and
Gary noticed the tag sticking out from the dorsal fin. The follow-up inspection and
record-checking showed the 1992 release date.
Fredrickson then weighed the fish in at 5 lbs. 1 oz., and
measured its length at 21 inches, a seemingly small growth rate. He said the fish seemed
to be in excellent condition, no scratches or scars, and fully developed. It was later
learned, through a conversation with DNR fish Manager Rick Cornelius at Barron, that this
is probably a mature fish that will grow very little more, and is believed to be about 15
And where is this fish today? Why, back in the waters of
Prairie Lake where it came from. Gary released the bass, in hopes that it just might be
hungry once again when the Chetek Open Bass Tournament is held this week end, sponsored
locally by Pokegama Inn Supper Club and Chetek Marine.
this fish possibly be caught again?
Enter the Fish-O-Rama and find out.