Jan 10, 2019

Making a Community Impact

Annual tradition of Battle on Bago supports more than $1 million for youth and conservation nonprofit groups


The months of January and February are very active in Oshkosh, and on our local lakes. Not only does winter bring ice fishing and the annual sturgeon spearing season, it also brings the annual Battle on Bago ice fishing tournament, attracting people from all over the Midwest and U.S. to fish Lake Winnebago and the upper pool lakes of Butte de Morts, Winneconne and Poygan.

What started as a small fishing tournament with less than 300 participants in 2008 is expected to have more than 10,000 participants and spectators over the course of two days from Feb. 22 to 23, making it the largest ice fishing tournament in the United States.

This not-for-profit event has raised more than $1.2 million over the last 11 years, with proceeds benefitting more than 80 organizations throughout Wisconsin involved in youth and conservation efforts. This includes local youth sports organizations, Cub Scout packs, conservation clubs, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources projects, local Boys & Girls Clubs, as well as sponsoring youth hunts for disabled children.

Lake Winnebago itself has around a dozen fishing clubs that exist solely to make your experience a better one when you take to the waterways in either the summer or winter, and they receive financial support for their efforts from Battle on Bago as well. Every time you drive over a bridge covering one of the many cracks on Lake Winnebago this winter, remember it was put there by a volunteer group. If you drive on a plowed ice road on the lake, those are maintained by a local fishing club and its unpaid volunteers as well.

On top of donations to various community clubs, Battle on Bago has a fishing prize list that surpasses a total value of $275,000! That prize list is what makes this tournament so special. A 1-pound white bass could win one of two Ford Trucks, a Lund boat equipped with a Mercury outboard, an ATV, hunting or fishing excursion, or a list of other great prizes.

Join us this winter February 22 and 23 to see just how special this event is. Even if you don’t fish, that’s just fine. You can warm up in the tent on Friday and enjoy the annual fish fry. Grab a cold beverage, have some laughs, and enjoy the live music, all while knowing you’re supporting an event that truly makes a positive local impact.