Frigid weather means ice fishing fun

By Celsy Martindale

January 25, 2014 Updated Jan 27, 2014 at 12:37 PM CDT

LAKE CAMELOT, Ill. -- The bitter winter temperatures are enough to keep most people indoors, but one annual event has people bundling up to hit the fishing holes.

The temperatures may seem below average for this time of year, but for an ice fisherman, it's just another day out on the lake. Saturday at Lake Camelot was no exception. Hundreds of fishermen broke through the ice in hopes of catching some fish.

"Just trying to catch some fish walleye, crappie, blue gill, whatever we can find," said Metamora Resident John Battioli.

"I'm out here to see if I can catch some fish and spend time with my sons," said Washington Resident Jeff Mullins.

This annual ice fishing tournament has been going on for more than 30 years and despite it being about 20 degrees with wind gusts of nearly 30 miles per hour, one long-time fisherman said the conditions are just right.

"I think conditions are pretty good, it not too cold, it's windy, but it's a pretty good day today," said Battioli.

But what does it really take to reel in a fish that's swimming under nearly one foot of frozen ice?

"You just jig for them and we use fish finders they seem to work pretty well," Battioli said.

But when that doesn't work...

"It's just a little bit of luck actually," Mullins said.

"Mitch has caught one that's probably about an inch," said Battioli.

So even if the big fish aren't exactly biting, these fishermen aren't going home empty-handed.

They've got some big stories to tell.