Winter warm up doesn’t put a stop to the Black Lake Challenge

Winter warm up doesn’t put a stop to the Black Lake Challenge

MACOMB, N.Y. (WWNY) -A little warmth didn’t put a freeze on one north country fish tourney as anglers from across the northeast traveled to St. Lawrence County Saturday to fish for a cause.

There was still ice to drill on the Black Lake in the town of Macomb Saturday despite a warmer than average winter day.

Enough ice was a sigh of relief for Joey Parker, who puts on the Black Lake Challenge.

“Two days ago, when I was thinking I was going to cancel, I go, ‘we’ve got enough ice, so the show is on,’” said Parker.

Parker owns Fish Creek Bait and Tackle in the town of Macomb, which has hosted the charity ice fishing derby for 7 years.

Half of the proceeds from the event will go to Fort Drum soldiers and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Parker’s compassion for charity earned him a special phone call two years ago.

“My phone was ringing, and it was the Pentagon. He goes, ‘This is Ryan D. McCarthy.’ He goes, ‘I’m the Under Secretary of the United States Army,’” said Parker.

Even though the challenge is for charity, it’s still a competition. That’s where the other half of the proceeds go.

The top three adults and top three kids competing win a cash prize.

But that money sometimes makes its way to charity too.

“We’ve had some winners just hand the money right back to us,” said Parker.

The warmer weather has created a layer of water on the ice, and some ice anglers say that creates new challenges.

"Well, when it’s warm today like this, the conditions are slushy,” said ice angler David Gascon.

It was not enough to stop an angler of sixty years like Gascon, a St. Lawrence County native, or Parker, who has angled at turning his love of ice fishing into a way to give back.

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