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Bass Lake Ice Fishing Contest will go on as scheduled this Saturday

The 2011 Bass Lake Ice Fishing Contest will be held as scheduled this Saturday on Bass Lake, outside of Somerset.

Bass Lake has more than 20 inches of clear safe ice. However, the combination of unseasonably warm weather and excessive salt run-off from the parking area has caused the ice at the only public landing on the lake to deteriorate to the point where the Department of Natural Resources has closed the landing to vehicular traffic.

The Somerset Youth Athletic Association, which sponsors the tournament, has in place contingency plans that will be put in effect for this year's contest.

All vehicles will be parked at the Somerset School complex and shuttle buses will be used to transport participants the three-mile drive to the contest site. Handicapped parking with permits will be made available at the landing with transportation to the site upon request.

The grand prize for this year's contest is a new Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 pickup truck. The total prize package to be given away is worth more than $50,000.

Putting the tournament together takes a huge effort from a large number of volunteers.

"It takes just two days to fully set up, hold the contest, and take everything down and in those two days more than 200 people will have stepped in and given their time to help the event succeed," said Scott Thell, one of the tournament coordinators. "At 6:30 a.m. on Saturday two-man crews will be running 50 augers at full speed to drill more than 4,000 holes through two feet of solid ice."

With the exception of outside vendors, 100 percent of the contest is a volunteer effort, an effort that exemplifies the long standing tradition of volunteerism that the community of Somerset is known for.

Visit for details on the tournament.