Three members of an Ohio family who registered winning fish in the Jan. 27 Brainerd Jaycees $150,000 Ice Fishing Extravaganza on Gull Lake have passed lie detector tests and will be allowed to keep their prizes, including a new GMC pickup, contest organizers said Thursday.
Ivan Lyogky of Hartville, Ohio, and his sons Stephan and Rostik were tested separately by a licensed polygraph examiner and no deception regarding the contest was detected, the Jaycees said in a news release.
Stephan Lyogky won the contest and the pickup with a northern pike that weighed 3.10 pounds. Ivan Lyogky took third place with a 2.89-pound northern pike, and Rostik Lyogky captured 98th place with a 1.07-pound perch.
Ivan Lyogky won $1,000 for third place, and 98th place was good for a new ice auger.
Contest organizers said they received anonymous information after the contest that raised suspicions about the Lyogkys’ fish.
About 12,000 anglers participated in the contest, and only one angler other than Ivan and Stephan Lyogky registered a northern pike among the top 150 largest fish.
The only perch registered among the 150 largest fish was Rostik Lyogky’s, and at 1.07 pounds it appears to be larger than any perch netted in Gull Lake by the Department of Natural Resources during periodic fish surveys dating back three decades.
Winning anglers must take lie detector tests if asked by contest organizers, or forfeit their prizes.
Ivan Lyogky told the Star Tribune Monday morning that his fish and those of his sons were caught legally and according to contest rules. All three anglers would take lie detector tests, he said, adding that he had talked to a lawyer about suing contest organizers for defamation.
Contest chairman Shane Meyer said the investigation was necessary so participants are confident the event is on the up and up, and that anglers participate on a level playing field.
“We are pleased with the results of this inquiry and appreciate the cooperation of the Lyogky family to ensure to the sporting community that our event is fairly administered,” Meyer said in the news release. “We congratulate the Lyogky family, as well as all other anglers that participated in the contest this year. What we do makes such an enormous difference in our community.”
The contest, begun in 1991, is run entirely by volunteers and benefits more than 50 charities in the Brainerd area, with Confidence Learning Center the primary beneficiary.
Jaycees members have donated more than 550,000 volunteer hours organizing and running the contest, raising more than $3.3 million.