Alaska and Utah Combine to Win Montana’s Premier Ice Fishing Tournament
By angelamontana

Posted: January 22, 2016

Hebgen Lake, West Yellowstone MT

firstplace

Brent Cummings and Shane Hofstead – First place winners for the second year in a row!

The team of Shane Hofstad, Alaska and Brent Cummings, Utah topped the 72-team NAIFC (North American Ice Fishing Circuit) Hebgen Lake Qualifier. Hofstad/Cummings’ 6 Rainbow bag tipped the scales at 13.81 pounds netting the pair $4,400.00 and more importantly the “Wood” (NAIFC plaques). Second place went to the team of Dan Zitto, MT and Zack Dekay, MT with a 12.96 pound bag. St Croix Rod’s Big Fish award and 4-rod prize package went to Dana Driggs, MT and RC Pierce, MT with a 3.11 pound Rainbow.

dana driggs rc pierce biggest fish

Dana Driggs and RC Pierce won biggest fish with a rainbow weighing 3.11 lbs.

Hofstad reported “Hebgen is a great fishery.” “Saturday’s pre-fishing had a couple of weather fronts move through but Sunday the bite was on.” “Even with the 14-18 inches of snow that fell Saturday night we had a shot at 19 rainbows to get our 6.” Open to any 2-person team the Hebgen Lake Qualifier attracted a strong field representing 10-States and a Canadian Province that included 5 past/present Team USA members. All teams that finish in the top-ten at any of the NAIFC Qualifiers earn an automatic invitation to the NAIFC National Championship to be held in December.

The NAIFC paid 14 places a total of $10,080.00 cash, along with $1,000.00 worth of product prizes provided by HT Enterprises, Aqua Vu underwater cameras, Honda Power Equipment, Work Sharp Knife Sharpening and St Croix Rods. Jack Baker NAIFC Tournament Director remarked “People think of West Yellowstone MT as snowmobile country but deep down this is a fishing community”. “Everybody fishes here, West Yellowstone throws out the red carpet and the competitors know they are welcome.” “It is like going home.” In addition to competition on the best lakes in North America the NAIFC is about education.

westyellowstonefishingtourneyA free Friday Night Seminar was held at the West Yellowstone Holiday Inn with Jason Kamrath/Peter Hupf, Clam Corp, discussing tournament tactics. Chad Schaub/Anthony Rodriguez, HT Enterprises-Team USA detailing European fishing styles and Ben & Luke Blegen demonstrating Aqua Vu underwater camera use. Saturday’s education focused on kids and family with 148 parents and children attending a NAIFC Kids Ice Camp held at Kirkwood Marina and Resort. Ice safety, Aqua Vu Underwater Cameras, live bait, and jigging techniques using St Croix Rods were demonstrated by NAIFC Pro-staff. All the kids attending received a free HT Enterprise ice fishing rod.

For more information on the NAIFC, NAIFC Qualifiers, NAIFC Championship, NAIFC Friday Night Seminar Series, or NAIFC Kids Ice Camp go to www.naifc.com or contact Jack Baker at jbakersports@hotmail.com. To enter a NAIFC Qualifying tournament click on Registration at www.naifc.com or call Kathy Roberts at 320-252-0428. For more information on the West Yellowstone MT area contact West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce www.destinationyellowstone.com or www.kirkwoodresort.com

(Release via Pamela Sveinson; Photos via West Yellowstone Ice Fishing Tournament)