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Roscoe Seeks Perfection


Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

Tyler Laufersweiler, “King of the Ice”

By Ted Waddell
MONGAUP VALLEY — February 22, 2000 -- Saturday was a day for cold fish and chilled-to-the-bone ice fishermen during the Sullivan County Conservation Club’s 15th annual Muriel Hupalo Memorial “King on the Ice” ice-fishing contest.
Tyler Laufersweiler of Monticello was crowned “King of the Ice.” The14-year-old angler, his father Bucky, and a couple of friends arrived at Swinging Bridge Reservoir at 5:15 a.m. and had their tip-ups set up by 5:45 a.m.
Laufersweiler said he’s been fishing for the “King of the Ice” trophy for about eight years.
His winning fish was a 25", 69-ounce pickerel, which earned him first place honors with a combined total of 94 points. The intrepid young ice fisherman endured biting winds and freezing temps to land his prize winning fish.
The reward? A giant trophy, $300 bucks and plenty of photos wearing the traditional crown and cape befitting a “King of the Ice.”
“It feels great to win,” said the plucky youngster after spending 11 hours on the frozen reservoir.
“We’re going to mount it and preserve it on the wall,” added Bucky Laufersweiler.
According to contest officials, 330 anglers registered for the annual event, held this year on the frozen waters of nine-mile long Swinging Bridge Reservoir in Mongaup Valley.
Interviews with several men and women out on the ice indicated that attendance at annual local ice fishing contests is down from previous years, due in part from a perceived aggressive policy of regulations enforcement by NYS Department of Conservation (DEC) conservation officers. According to several folks, they thought the DEC was issuing more tickets than people were catching fish.
But at the “King of the Ice” event, it seemed as if the COs were administering justice with a friendlier hand: a few warnings, and as of late in the afternoon, no tickets were issued.
This year at the “King of the Ice” contest, NYS DEC COs Lou Bellow and Neal Watt spent the day patrolling the frozen reservoir.
“We’re happy to report that as of this afternoon, we haven’t issued any tickets,” said Watt. “All the sportsmen have their paperwork in order, and all the machines we’ve checked were registered and insured. We’re very pleased.”
Later in the afternoon, one young four-wheeler didn’t pass muster, but got a warning instead of a ticket.
Louis and Barbara Millspaugh of Grahamsville were among the participants. He took home first place (and $200) in the walleye division with a 20-inch, 47-ounce (total of 67 points) fish. She caught a 20-inch pickerel, but didn’t land a trophy.
“We’ve been fishing this tournament for about twelve years,” said Louis Millspaugh. “We always have a good time, but it’s a finicky lake. There’s not a lot of small fish that bite, but when you get a flag you know it’s a serious fish.
“The bottom line is, it’s a good feeling to be fishing and not working,” he said. “It’s an independent feeling.”
Added Barbara Millspaugh, “We got out on the other end of the lake at six a.m. when you couldn’t even see anything yet.”
Cheryl Wyman of Glen Spey took second place in the pickerel category with her 24-inch, 56-ounce fish (a total of 80 points).
“Next year, I hope to be ‘Queen of the Ice,’” she said.
The Sullivan County Conservation Club was founded 72 years ago in 1928.
Vinnie LoCascio has been a member since 1960 and organized this year’s edition of the ice fishing contest.
“It was a good turnout and a good time,” he said. “I just wish we could have caught more fish.”
According to LoCascio, the local sportsman’s club sponsors hunter safety courses, provides an annual $500 scholarship to a local high school grad headed off to a conservation college, sends two kids to the NYC DEC summer camp at DeBruce every year, stocks area waterways and picks up litter along a couple of roadways.
The Sullivan County Conservation Club also holds the annual “King of the Open Water” fishing contest and the “Daniel Boone” target competition.
First place winners: Joe Januseski (25", 65 oz. pickerel); Fred Wilson (12 3/8" 18-oz. pan fish); Joe Kessler (13 3/4" 21-oz. yellow perch); Louis Millspaugh (20", 47-oz. walleye) and Seth Siegel (12 1/2" 14 oz., largest catfish).
In addition to trophies, winners received the following prizes: 1st-$200; 2nd-$125; 3rd-$75; 4th-$50.

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