I figured I'd let the guy's that caught the bigger fish fill in the blanks (skunked) but I guess I'll share.
The day was suppose to start out with the contest holders supplying the bait as part of the entry fee. We got there at 5:30 am and the place wasn't even open. By sometime after 6:00am we were able to sign up but the bait didn't arrive until almost 7:00. Much to my dismay the bait was the very small perch bait. No mediums. Oh boy here we go.
We make it out on to the ice and set up on a large flat. Flags were on the slow side but did manage to land some perch and small pickerel. It all stands to reason with such small bait. Jigging produced the same with the biggest perch about 11 inches and the biggest pickerel at 17.
Skunked and crew were smart enough to bring their own bait and faired much better with a pickerel in the 23' class and several others pressing the same length. Their good friend from NJ (Helmet) had the hot hole for the day. He must have run for that hole 18 times scoring fish about 1/4 of the time. I don't know exactly how many fish they walked off with that day but I do know they had some cleaning to do.
I walked off with 13 decent perch and 2 small pickerel (deep hooked). I would definitely like to fish it again, especially after having a conversation with a local informing me it was not a typical day. Generally the perch and pickerel bite is faster paced and the contest is usually won with a 26-28" class pickerel.
Highland Lake is a private lake and access is limited. This lake has a special meaning for me as it is the first lake I started on at the beginning of my ice fishing life.......50 years ago. My grandparents owned a house there and I started with 1 tip-up. I ice fished it just the one time and have never been back as my grandparents pass away soon after my start and the property was sold. A flood of memories came along with the perch I pulled through the holes that day.The summertime fishing off my grandparents dock seemed like it was yesterday. Good God where does the time go.