Wisconsin leads all other states for the highest number of ice fishing contests held each year. This is not just a one time or recent occurrence but rather a streak going on 12 straight years based on data going back to 2012. Oftentimes Wisconsin had more than double the amount of the next closest state. For example, in 2015 and 2016 Wisconsin had 270 and 203 respectively while the next closest state, Minnesota, had 57 and 81. In recent years the gap has closed a bit with the onset of online ice fishing contests but, Wisconsin still leads by a wide margin. In 2022 Wisconsin had a total of 221 ice fishing contests and Minnesota had 146. So far for 2023 Wisconsin has 175 and Minnesota has 113 scheduled ice fishing contests (counts for both states should increase as more organizations announce theirs). Even when removing the impact of online events and counting only those events which have an on-site weight and measurement requirement, Wisconsin leads the next highest state count. In 2022 Wisconsin had 205 “on site” events to 105 in Minnesota and so far for 2023 Wisconsin has 148 to Minnesota’s 63.
From 2012 through 2022 Wisconsin averaged 224 ice fishing contests per year. They are generally all held during 8 weekends in January and February. This averages 28 per weekend. Other states average 11 to 3 or less a weekend. If you are in Wisconsin on a weekend in January or February, chances are very good that you won’t be far away from an ice fishing contest.
Other states that consistently tally a good number of ice fishing contests include Maine that averages 57, Michigan with 41, Montana with 32 and Iowa with 30. States that round out the top ten states are ND, CO, VT, and SD, all of which average around 22 a year.
Most Wisconsinites know or have heard that their state leads all other states when it comes to brandy consumption. Wisconsin can also rightfully claim that more ice fishing contests are held within it’s border every year than any other state in the nation.
AmericanFishingContests.com lists all the Wisconsin ice fishing events along with those in 20 other states. If you want to help boost the ice fishing contest count in any state, just use the “Submit Contest” feature on AmericanFishingContests.com to add your favorite or ones you know about.