Midwest Open Ice Fishing Tournament organizer Tom Knutson knew he was in trouble when the 2012 event filled all 150 two-man team slots in less than four hours.

But he has a solution.

Tournament organizers of the annual ice fishing tournament held near Brooklyn, MI, have a formula for the 2014 event.

“Some fishermen have been trying for years to get into this tournament without much luck,” tournament organizer Tom Knutson said. “We understand this is very different from the way we have taken entries in the past, but we feel this is the fairest way to handle the demand that has come with this exciting event.”

The top 2-20 teams in the recently completed 2013 Midwest Open Ice Fishing Tournament will have an automatic berth – with the same two-man team; up to seven past champion spots are available; five spots from the Michigan Open Tournament held on Hamlin Lake in Ludington will be automatically entered; and 70 spots from the 17 ice belt states and Canada will also be chosen from a random draw.

These numbers include two each from Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire; three from Massachusetts, Nebraska, Montana, and Wyoming; four from North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa; and five from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Canada.

Forty spots will be from Michigan – again using a random draw.

Nine spots plus reserves will be drawn for the remaining entries. A list of 20 reserves will fill any vacancies that may occur.

Until the change, the teams were accepted on a first-come-first-served basis. Registration for the 2012 tournament was opened during the weigh-in of the 2011 event and the tournament sold out that day.

The 2012 tournament was cancelled due to poor ice conditions.

The ice fishing tournament will be held at Wamplers Lake on Jan. 26, 2014, with the top prize being $20,100 for the winning team. Teams fish for eight bluegills and eight croppies with the top prize given for the greatest weight recorded by a team.

All fishermen interested in the event have until 11:59 on Feb. 28, 2013, to enter – complete with partner names and credit card information. For more information go to www.Midwestopentournament.com or call 1-800-292-0857. The tournament costs $150 per two-man teams with a limit of 150 teams.

The tournament entry list for next year will be posted no later than Friday, March 15 on the website.

The 2013 event handed out more than $34,000 in checks and merchandise to the 300 anglers in the event. The top prize of $16,000 will be increased for the 2014 event.

Image courtesy Midwest Open Sports

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