By Louie Stout
A national ice fishing contest is coming to LaPorte and area anglers are invited to participate.
The North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAIFC) will conduct a qualifying contest on Pine and Stone Lakes Feb l1 with other activities scheduled for Feb. 9-10.
Entry fee for the national event is $200 per two-man teams. Teams must register online at www.naifc.com. The payout is 70 percent of the entry fees with 20 percent going towards the championship slated for next December.
One of every five teams entered in the LaPorte event wins cash. Aqua Vu, Quicksilver Lubricants and Lucky John Lures will provide additional prizes.
The top 10 finishing teams also earn invites to the national championship held on North and South Twin Lakes in Naytahwaush, Minn.
Teams will be allowed to move and drill as many holes as they wish.
Tournament hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with weigh-in at Cummings Lodge.
Contestants will fish for a bag limit of eight bluegills and eight crappies. Portable fish shelters are allowed with walking, ATVs and snowmobiles the modes of transportation.
NAIFC festivities open Feb. 9 with seminars followed by a smaller scale tournament Feb. 10 on the same lakes.
The NAIFC Pro Staff will conduct the first seminar Feb. 9 at the LaPorte Best Western Plus Hotel and Conference Center. The program opens with an ice fishing basics program from 5-7 p.m. followed by a more technical, how-to discussion at 7 p.m.
If the national event entry fee is too rich for your blood, there will be a “Friends of Fishing” derby Feb. 10.
Entry fee for that event is $20 per fisherman with 50 percent going toward cash prizes and the balance slated for a Friends of Fishing “Take a Kid Fishing” event.
Registration will begin at 5 a.m. at Cummings Lodge on Stone Lake. That tournament will end at noon and there will be cash prizes offered, plus every angler’s name will be entered in a drawing for a gas auger donated by the “Visit Michigan City LaPorte” tourism bureau.
First-place cash prizes will be awarded to anglers catching the longest fish in six categories: pike, bass, bluegill, redear, crappie, perch and walleye.
Stone and Pine Lake are the designated waters but participants can fish on any lake within LaPorte city limits. You can get more information for that event by calling 219-510-3193.
Also, ice fishing experts will conduct a “Kids Ice Camp” at 1 p.m. that same day at the Best Western Plus Hotel & Conference Center. Kids and their parents will learn about ice safety, bait, electronics, rods and jigging techniques. At 2 p.m., the kids and parents will be invited out onto the ice to experience in person what was demonstrated inside.
Every kid in attendance will receive a fishing rod from Lucky John Lures.