2005 Winners
of the
Lake Vermilion Muskie Challenge



Adult Tourney

Muskie Division
  1. Charlie Erickson, Britt, MN --- 45 inches
  2. Gerald Pellinen, Hoyt Lakes, MN --- 43.5 inches
  3. Aaron Ohrn, Moline, IA --- 43 inches
  4. Eric Ohrn, Moline, IA --- 42.5 inches
  5. John Backman, Embarras, MN --- 42 inches
  6. Scott Hinrichs, Virginia, MN --- 41 inches

Northern Pike Division
  1. Don Magney, Joseph, MN --- 38 inches
  2. Josh Opatz, Clear Laske, MN --- 37 inches
  3. Libby Hoene, Coon Rapids, MN --- 32 inches



We are proud to say The Lake Vermilion Muskie Challenge turned five years old this August. Over 200 kids have had a chance to fish muskies with guides and over $25,000.00 dollars have been distributed among Iron Range youth groups. Way to go, guides, sponsors, contestants & volunteers!

This year's Jr. Muskie Challenge didn't produce any muskies for the kids but Devin Love from Denver, Colorado had a 45 "incher plus" Muskie up to the boat and afterwards at the awards ceremony admitted to the crowd he got scared! The fish spit the hook and swam off to harass another muskie hunter. Many jr. muskie hunters had a chance to see muskies follow their lures and a couple of kids had muskies hit. All and all the kids had a good time and every kid walked away with prizes, T-shirts & hats. Once again the guides were awesome! Without the guides, the Jr. Tournament wouldn't be possible. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

The Adult Muskie Challenge went without a hitch. By 6:00am Saturday morning over seventy contestants hit the water fishing hoping to dethrone last years winner, Chuck Niskinen. Sixty degrees was the starting temp for the tournament with overcast skies and wind. Six muskies were registered between 41 & 45 inches and the winner was Charlie Erickson Britt, MN. Don Magney from Joseph, MN. caught a 38 inch pike and won the northern pike division. At the awards banquet there were many stories of the big one that got away. As always the food provided by Fortune Bay Resort Casino was great and Keith the Chef was awesome! Once the award dinner was over I think most contestants couldn't find a bed fast enough as the wind, long day and meal did them in. Finally at 8:00 p.m. we said "Good Nite"!

During the day on Saturday however while the muskie contestants were out braving the elements we had a Karaoke Contest for kids and adults. Over a one hundred spectators watched as three year old Dixie Love (who won the 11 & under Division) stood on stage singing "Twinkle, Twinkle little star," and rocked the house! A.J. Michaels won the Adult Division,

Christen Norkunas took 1st in the 15-17 year Division & Brianna Hinrichs won the 12-14 year Division.

I can't say thank you enough for all the sponsors who gave prizes or money to help make this year's event possible.
  1. Mesabi Range Youth for Christ $2,000.00
  2. Bois Forte Boys & Girls Club $700.00
  3. Northland Special Olympics $500.00
  4. Virginia Rotary Kids Fishing Contest $400.00
  5. Tower Soudan Speech Team $300.00
  6. Camp Chicagami $300.00
  7. Virginia Public Schools $50.00
Once again, Thank You, for your support & generosity. See you next year August 11th & 12th 2006!

Doug Ellis & Dave Stewart