WEST YELLOWSTONE, Montana — This Montana town will host an North American Ice Fishing Circuit national qualifier on Jan. 18 to 20. The qualifier — an ice fishing tournament — takes place Jan. 20 and is open to any two-person team. Teams range from locals to national level pros to teams just wanting to learn more about ice fishing. Teams can register up to 6 p.m. 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 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 p.m. at West Yellowstone Holiday Inn Conference Center, 315 Yellowstone Ave. From there, people can go in groups with other fisherman to local restaurants and taverns to talk ice fishing over dinner, where “Ice Fishermen Specials” will be available for purchase.
One of the most popular activities of the weekend — the NAIFC Kid’s Free Ice Fishing Camp — will be back again on Jan. 19. The classroom portion will begin at 10 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Conference Center, then move out to Kirkwood Resort & Marina on Hebgen Lake for on-ice fishing and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 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 pros and members of the USA Ice Fishing team.
On Jan. 20, the NAIFC will conduct the Hebgen Lake Qualifier with two-person teams fishing from approximately 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for thousands of dollars in cash and prizes. At 3 p.m., 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 10 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, go to www.westyellowstonemticefishing.com. To enter an NAIFC qualifier, go to www.naifc.com. For information on lodging and other winter activities, go to www.DestinationYellowstone.com or contact the West Yellowstone Visitor Center at 406-646-7701.