Hebgen Lake, West Yellowstone MT, January 15, 2017.
71 teams from 8-States and Canada competed for the $10,000.00 first place NAIFC (North American Ice Fishing Circuit) Hebgen Lake Qualifier. When the auger chips settled, the team of Mike Howe and Jason Mundel, Kalispell MT, with a 14.44 pound, 6 Rainbow bag netted the 10-Grand and more importantly the “Wood” (NAIFC plaques). Howe reported “Hebgen is a great fishery.” “I have been to most all the Hebgen Lake Qualifiers that have been run and never been disappointed.” ” Hebgen always produces great fish, the NAIFC tournaments are the best on ice. To bring home first place “Wood”, there is nothing better!” The NAIFC’s motto of “Every Ounce Counts” was in full action as the second place team from Ennis, MT of Scott Clark and Stephanie Houston’s 6 fish bag came in at 14.43 pounds. Five of the top 10 teams were from Montana, with 2 each from Utah/ Wisconsin and 1 from Michigan. St Croix Rod’s Big Fish award and 4-rod prize package went to Gordon Sveinson and Sam Brown, from Billings, MT, with a 3.38 pound Rainbow.
Complete weigh-ins can be watched on the NAIFC Facebook page, using Facebook Live. Jack Baker NAIFC Tournament Director remarked, “Hebgen is a great fishery, more and more teams are figuring out how to catch trout out of Hebgen.” “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–making Hebgen a must-fish on the schedule.” The WY/Hebgen Lake NAIFC Qualifier has been sponsored by a long list of local West Yellowstone organizations. The 2017 tournament received notable support from Delaware North and the WY Holiday Inn, NorthWestern Energy Community Works, Three Bear Lodge, Happy Hour Bar, Kirkwood Resort & Marina and Clam Corp. Open to 2-person teams the Hebgen Lake Qualifier attracted a strong field that included 3 past/present Team USA members, 2016 NAIFC Team of the Year and 8 past Qualifier winners. All teams that finish in the topten 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, 1 out of every five teams entered got cash along with another 14 places winning product prizes worth $1,500.00 provided by Aqua Vu Underwater Cameras, St Croix Rods,
Lucky John Lures, Ice Team and Quicksilver Lubricants. In addition to competition, the NAIFC is about education sponsored by Ice Team and HT Enterprises. A free Friday Night Gathering was held at the West Yellowstone Holiday Inn featuring Ice Team Speed Reeling and Power Augering along with HT Enterprises Bobber Tossing. On Saturday, the education focused on kids and family with 115 parents and children attending an NAIFC Kids Ice Camp held at Kirkwood Resort & Marina. Ice safety, Aqua Vu Underwater Cameras, live bait, and jigging techniques using St Croix Rods were demonstrated by NAIFC and Ice Team Pro-staff. All the kids attending received a free HT Enterprise ice fishing rod, cap and jigs to take home. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. To enter an NAIFC Qualifying tournament click on Registration at www.naifc.com or call Kathy Roberts at 320-241-0809. For more information on the West Yellowstone MT area contact West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce www.destinationyellowstone.com or www.westyellowstoneicefishing.com
(press release via Pamela Sveinson)