This year, the World Ice Fishing Championships drew in the best angling teams from around the world for a showdown in the Wisconsin heartland. Comprised of anglers from Finland, Sweden, Japan, and eight other countries–including traditional ice fishing hot spot Mongolia–competitors hunkered down last weekend for a fight. After the fish and the ice settled, the Russian national team walked away with first place.
Teams were judged on the order of finish in their designated fishing zones as well as the total weight of fish brought out of the ice. According to WAOW, Team USA had a lackluster first day, but roared back into the game on Sunday by jumping up three rankings on the leaderboard. In the end the American team was just shy of medaling at fourth place.
“I am not as satisfied as I would be with first, second, or third but coming from seventh up, I’m feeling better,” team coach Jason Gruett said. “I can go home happy knowing that we gave everything that we had to.”
The US team’s surge back to fourth place was led by Michigan native Chad Shaub, who caught the highest weight total for Sunday at 676 grams of icy cold fish.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Schaub said. “I’m still a little nervous and shocked but I wish it was gold and I wish we had a team medal more.”
While Russia took the gold, Finland and Lithuania finished in second and third, respectively.