West Yellowstone, Montana will host an NAIFC (North American Ice Fishing Circuit) National Qualifier from January 12-14, 2018. The qualifier – an ice fishing tournament – takes place on Sunday and is open to any two-person team. Teams range from locals to national level pro’s to teams just wanting to learn more about ice fishing. Teams can register up to 6 PM at the Saturday night reception and rules meeting.
The tournament is located on Hebgen Lake just outside of West Yellowstone. Kirkwood Resort & Marina is the location for the tournament starting point and Kid’s Ice Fishing Camp.
Throughout the two days preceding the tournament, there are many educational opportunities. These activities are free and open to the public.
Friday night kicks-off with a Gathering with a chance to meet local fishermen, familiar with Hebgen Lake, along with nationally ranked ice fishermen. A Social Hour and informal introductory information for people new to ice fishing—and networking with experienced friends who love to ice fish–starts at 5 pm at West Yellowstone Holiday Inn Conference Center (315 Yellowstone Avenue). From there, people go in groups with a pro-fisherman to another local restaurant/tavern to “talk ice fishing” over dinner, where “Ice Fishermen Specials” will be available for purchase. These group discussions, which are open to the public, are geared toward educating fishers to the world of tournament ice fishing.
Starting around 8:00 am Saturday, Pro-Staff and representatives from ice fishing product companies will be demonstrating the latest techniques and equipment on Hebgen Lake. Meet them at the Kirkwood Marina, where you can try out the newest ways to catch fish through the ice.
One of the most popular activities of the weekend is the free NAIFC Kid’s Free Ice Fishing Camp will be back again on Saturday, January 13th at Kirkwood Resort & Marina on Hebgen Lake. All kids can participate, along with family members, regardless of age. This is the largest kids ice fishing camp in the Intermountain West where kids get to meet ice fishing pro’s, and members of the USA Ice Fishing team.
A change this year: the Kids Ice Camp will start with classroom instruction and demonstration at the Holiday Inn Conference Center at 10:00 am and then lunch and on-ice fishing experience at Kirkwood Resort & Marina on Hebgen Lake starting at 11:30 until 1:30. The classroom instruction and demonstration will cover ice fishing equipment, techniques, safety, conservation & environmental stewardship. Before leaving, all kids who participate also will receive a complimentary ice rod and tackle. The NAIFC Kid’s Ice Camp is sponsored by ice fishing industry supplies along with local businesses, food suppliers, and Kirkwood Marina.
On Sunday, the NAIFC will conduct the Hebgen Lake Qualifier with two-person teams fishing from approximately 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM for thousands of dollars in cash and prizes. At 3:00 PM the NAIFC Tournament weigh-in will be conducted at the Holiday Inn Conference Center. Cash and prizes will be awarded to the top teams. The top ten finishing teams also receive an invitation to the NAIFC National/North American Championship to be held next December.
Make sure to bring the family and enjoy our other events and activities happening throughout West Yellowstone. Saturday and Sunday children and their families can enjoy activities like snowshoeing, M120 Kids snowmobile rides, live raptor programs from the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, s’mores, sledding and skating for free during the Kids’N’Snow Weekend.
For more information on the NAIFC, tournament events, the Kids ICE CAMP, information about the West Yellowstone/Hebgen Lake lodging and activities for tournament, go to www.westyellowstonemticefishing.com. To enter an NAIFC qualifier please go to www.naifc.com or please call Kathy Roberts at 320 252 0428.