2018 NAIFC – Lake Metigoshe Wrap Up
While a good portion of America has recently been agonizing through some of the coldest weather so far in 2018, there are hardy competitors in the “ice belt” who welcome and thrive in the cold.
The North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAIFC) has just completed its first of eight 2018 championship qualifying events. The first was on Lake Metigoshe in the Turtle Mountain region of North Dakota near Bottineau. A total of 41 teams or 82 individuals from 8 different states registered for the first-place prize of $2,500 and the chance to earn points to qualify for the championship. This is the second year that Quicksilver Lubricants has supported the NAIFC and are helping the competitors and their snowmobiles and ATV’s perform in harsh weather conditions.
The temperature was 5 degrees when Tommy Turtle, the Largest Turtle in the World, straddling the Largest Snowmobile in the World welcomed the NAIFC to Bottineau, the sponsoring city. The cold weather didn’t deter over 120 kids and their parents from attending the Saturday “Kids Ice Camp” where the NAIFC Pro Staff teach and demonstrate ice safety, bait, equipment and fishing techniques in an indoors classroom setting. The kids received fishing rods and lures donated by NAIFC sponsors and they and their parents were then invited to fish on Lake Metigoshe with the NAIFC Pro Staff.
Jack Baker, President and Tournament Director of the NAIFC states that “The mission of the NAIFC is to advance the sport of ice fishing in North America by providing the highest level of competition, education, and promotion. “Our Friday Night Seminars and Saturday Kids Ice Camps are the Ice Industry’s leaders in education”. It must be working because one parent wrote “How wonderful to have this program for the children. A big THANK YOU to the NAIFC for what they did. This is what the country needs to show the upcoming generations positive things to do.”
While competitors gathered before daybreak on Sunday to ready their gear and face inspection before the 8:00am start, Jack stated that Lake Metigoshe is one of the best Bluegill fisheries in North America. Anticipating a good bite, the teams roared off on their snowmobiles and ATV’s to the spots they thought held the most or largest fish to attain the tournament rule of the heaviest combined weight of 10 bluegill.
At 2:00pm in the afternoon the teams needed to cross the start/finish line to qualify for the official weigh-in. Fish where then presented and weighed at the tournament headquarters and awards given for the “Big Fish” and total weight of bluegill caught up to a maximum of 10 fish per team.
North Dakota resident Glen Delorme Jr and his partner Timothy Marsh of Montana took 1st place by winning both the “Big Fish” award with a 1.1-pound bluegill and a total combined weight of 10 fish of 7.03 pounds. Jacks often repeated statemen of “every ounce counts” is very true as less than an ounce separated 5th and 6th place, 1.28 ounces separated 2nd and 3rd place and 4 ounces separated 1st and 2nd place.
The next event is scheduled for January 14th on Hebgen Lake, MT near Yellowstone National Park. Other NAIFC qualifying events will be held in MN, IL, IN, MI and WI. Find out more on the NAIFC web site. http://www.naifc.com/