13-year-old takes first at a Brainerd ice fishing tournament, winning a pickup truck

A young angler won a prize he's not even allowed to use, all thanks to reeling in a 9.5 pound walleye.

Zac Padrnos, 13, stands with his 9.45 pound walleye — winning the Brainerd Jaycee's Ice Fishing Extravaganza.
Contributed / Padrnos family

BRAINERD, Minn. — A young champion would be breaking the law if he used his big ice fishing prize.

"It bit, and I set the hook, and it just started pulling drag immediately," Zac Padrnos recalled. "So I knew it had to be pretty big."

Padrnos won first place at the Brainerd Jaycee's Ice Fishing Extravaganza, and in doing so winning a Ford F-150. At just 13 years old, it would be illegal for him to actually use his prize, and since prize tax payments would be in the thousands, the family is deciding to sell it. The family will likely still take home thousands of dollars, making this Padrnos' most valuable catch to date.

WDAY News asked if he was at least able to take the truck out for a spin before selling it.

"Nope. I can't drive, so it would have been kind of hard to do," he said.


"He did get to sit in it though," his dad Eric Padrnos added.

They said most of the money will be saved for college and a new car, when he is old enough to drive it.

WDAY News asked a tax expert why the young angler has to pay prize taxes. Devon Liljenquist, a CPA with Arrow Advisors, said anyone at any age can be taxed on winnings thanks to laws aimed at preventing investment fraud from parents.

"It doesn't matter your age, the government will still tax you," Liljenquist said. "The second you're born, I mean think of infants on television shows, they get paid and they have to pay taxes on it," Liljenquist said.

Liljenquist estimates taxes would cost about $9,000 for that type of truck, and would need to be paid by April of 2024.

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