(Above image courtesy of www.westyellowstoneicefishing.com)
Hebgen Lake, West Yellowstone, Montana – February 3, 2013
Shane Hofstad and Brent Cummings-UT, made good on their promise to improve on last year’s 3rd place performance by winning the 2013 NAIFC Hebgen Lake Tournament with a 6 trout weight of 10.51 pounds. Nipping on their ice cleats for second place was the team of Cindy and Mike Howe-MT, with a weight of 9.52 pounds. Rounding out the top three was Eric Wolfe-SD and Sean Warner-MN with a three fish bag of 6.72 pounds.
Jack Baker NAIFC (North American Ice Fishing Circuit) Tournament Director reported, “Shane and Brent said they should have won in 2012. They had to wait a year but backed up their talk with first place”. Their determination brought them a $3,600.00 check, along with the Hebgen Lake – NAIFC “Wood” trophy in addition to an automatic invitation to the NAIFC National North American Championship to be held in December 2013 on Mille Lacs Lake, McQuoid’s Resort, Isle Minnesota.
Two snowstorms during the week leading up to the West Yellowstone NAIFC Qualifier produced multiple slush pockets which became the biggest hurdle for the 68 teams competing on Hebgen Lake. Baker observed “Other than the slush, the conditions were near perfect. We had 18-24 inches of ice, no wind, and temperatures in the upper 20’s, everybody seemed to be on fish”.
A comment evidenced by the fact that the top three teams all went different directions from the launch, yet all caught fish. Leading the way in the Big Fish category was the team of Mitch Reinertson and Jason Watts-MT with a 3.29 pound rainbow earning the St. Croix Rod Big Fish award of 4 – St. Croix Legends Rods. West Yellowstone once again rolled out the red carpet providing the fishermen a community that is super friendly, crazy happy about ice fishing coupled with scenery you have to see to believe. Eric Wolfe led off the Friday Night Seminar Series discussing facts versus myths of trout fishing. Luke and Ben Blegen concluded the NAIFC’s cutting edge educational series by detailing the use of their Aqua VU Mini camera in pre-fishing, high lighting their version of “up-viewing” to see the white under belly of the trout as they swam through.
162 kids showed up for the Ice Industry’s number one Kids educational series: NAIFC’s Kids Ice Camp, which is held every Saturday at an NAIFC Qualifying Tournaments. Kids and their parents were introduced to ice fishing safety, equipment, bait and jigging techniques by NAIFC Pro-staff. Kids Ice Camps are open to all kids in the area at no charge with free HT Enterprise fishing rods being given away to all the kids in attendance.
For more information on the NAIFC Tournament Series, Friday Night Seminar, Kids Ice Camp, or to enter an NAIFC qualifier please go to www.naifc.com or email email@example.com. To enter an NAIFC qualifier over the phone please call Kathy Roberts at 320 252 0428. For information on the West Yellowstone area go to http://www.yellowstonedestination.com or http://www.westyellowstoneicefishing.com.
(Report by Pamela Sveinson of Kirkwood Resort & Marina)