Tournament weekend will already be a 3-day weekend for many people since it is scheduled during Martin Luther King holiday. So, plan your trip so you can enjoy all this area has to offer. Click on the West Yellowstone Visitor Center page to get complete information about the fun things to do while you visit this unique winter wonderland for an extended weekend. While you are here, please support the Tournament Sponsors for your lodging, dining and activities and tell them what you appreciate about the event.

West Yellowstone is often called the Snowmobile Capital…and with good reason. For more information, see the West Yellowstone winter activities and Gallatin National Forest pages.

And, don’t forget to plan your Winter Activities in Yellowstone National Park while you are here.

Winter comes to the West Yellowstone area in a big, wonderful way! Here is where you can access what you need to know about our weather and roads: West Yellowstone weather & roads update.

Whether you are an experienced ice angler or new to the sport, here are some links to help you get ready to fish for trout in Montana:

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Ice Fishing Primer While you are on this site, be sure to click through to see Montana fishing license information, under Licenses & Permits on the Fishing page. You can purchase a license online or at our tournament sponsors, the Corner Cenex and Kirkwood Resort & Marina.

And, if you want current information on fishing Hebgen Lake before the Tournament Weekend, send us an email at or call 1.406.646.7540 and we’ll put you in touch with a Local Fisherman.

Plan Ahead FAQs

I have never fished a tournament before. - My partner and I are not professional fishermen. How can we be competitive?

Fact from NAIFC President: Most Qualifying Tournaments are won by a “LOCAL” team… read that again… winners often have not been a traveling team, not a professional or even an Ice Men team… the winners were LOCALS. To be competitive all you need to do is sign up. We have had teams with 9-year olds on them qualify for the National Championship. The Qualifying Tournaments are a fantastic way to learn, to test your skills against others and to compete. You do not need tournament experience to enter and be competitive, you just need to step up and sign up. We do recommend that you read the Rules on the NAIFC website, so you are familiar with the competitive tournament requirements.

How do I register for a tournament?

The registration process is usually done online, using your assigned Team Number. However, if you are not comfortable using the online method, you may register by phone at (320) 252-0428. Either option allows you to pay by credit card. A Team Number is a permanent, unique ID number that is assigned to each team the first time they register for an event. Your Team Number is used by our staff to track your event participation, statistics and helps us better manage your event processing experience. Each Qualifying Tournament has an entry fee of $200.00 per team.
For each entry fee collected...
· 20% ($40.00) goes toward the Championship payout.
· 70% ($140.00) goes toward the respective Qualifying Tournament payout.
· 10% ($20.00) goes toward administrative costs.

Can I register by phone or online early, and then pay when I get to the Friday Night Seminar or the Saturday Rules Meeting?

You may pay your team’s entry anytime before the Rules Meeting on Saturday night but your starting position will be determined by when you pay your team’s entry fee, not when you sign up your team. The later you pay your team’s entry fee the further back in the starting line your team will be placed. If you sign-up on the Saturday of the Tournament there is a $20.00 late fee assessed.

When will my team be assigned our place in the starting line-up?

Your team’s starting position is determined by when your team pays its entry fee. The earlier your team signs up and pays for a tournament entry the closer to the front of the line your team will start. So again, your team’s starting position is not determined by when you signed up but by when your team’s entry fee is paid.

What if I don’t have a partner?

This is a team competition involving two people. If you don't have a partner you can post on the NAIFC Forum at NAIFC. Click on NAIFC Tournament Series, then 2017 Season and then under NAIFC Qualifier #2 - Hebgen Lake. There are always people looking for a team mate. The West Yellowstone Organizing Committee can also help with finding team mates or sponsors. You can contact the organizing committee at

What are the tournament boundaries?

The official boundaries will be set the week of the tournament depending on ice conditions and the number of registered teams and will be announced at the Rules Meeting on Saturday night. Cones that limit a bay or mark an area as out-of-bounds will be placed on the lake by Thursday night. The preliminary boundary being considered is to start at the Hebgen Lake Area information sign at Mile Marker 15 on Hwy 287, going out to the body of the lake and going northwest ending as close to the dam as is safe at the time of the tournament. Please be aware that there is private property along the lake's edge, especially to the immediate West of Kirkwood Marina. No access to the lake for the tournament or for pre-fishing is allowed through that private property. Also, please show courtesy to those lake front homeowners when fishing Hebgen Lake.

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Can I use my snowmobile or ATV during the tournament?

Snowmobiles, side by sides and ATV's are an acceptable way to travel during the tournaments. Snowmobiles are recommended on Hebgen Lake. Ice conditions may restrict the tournament to walking only. The final decision on "walk-only" will be announced at the Rules Meeting with ice conditions being the determining factors. Remember, ice is never completely safe for vehicle travel. Always travel with a friend and check the ice conditions before travel. Automobiles are strictly forbidden on Tournament days.

The rules state that I can’t fish closer than 5 meters from another competitor. What if there is another team fishing closer than 5 meters to my quad. Do I have to wait until they move to get my machine?

The 5 meter rule is established to keep the competitors from fishing or drilling holes closer than 5 meters from each other. The 5 meter distance is measured from: the edge of hole to edge of hole. You can walk within 5 meters of another fisher. You cannot block a hole by using your gear or machine to keep someone else from fishing an open hole that is more than 5 meters away from your person.

The rules state that I have to be within 30 steps from my team mate. How far is 30 steps and how do you determine the distance?

If an observer or the Tournament Director questions whether you are more than 30 steps from your teammate they may ask you to walk off the steps. If you are outside the 30 step limit you may be given a warning. The second time you break the rule you will be disqualified. Pay attention to your partner while drilling or moving about the ice during the tournament. 30 steps is approximately 90 feet.