Watertown will once again Host a NAIFC

(North American Ice Fishing Circuit) National Qualifier on Bitter Lake. The tournament will be headquartered out of Evolution Power Sports of Watertown and is open to 100 two – person teams. The Top-10 finishing teams will receive an invitation to the NAIFC North American Championship to be held in December of 2018 on North & South Twin Lakes, MN.

NAIFC Qualifiers are not derby style events, they are competitive in nature. Lake boundaries are set with teams allowed to move and drill as many holes as they wish. Tournament fishing hours are from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. The species and team bag limit for Bitter Lake are 16 perch.  Portable fish shelters are allowed with walking, ATVs and snowmobiles the modes of transportation. The NAIFC pays deep into the field with one team out of every five teams earning cash. Along with the cash prizes the winning team takes home “The Wood” (NAIFC Trophy). Aqua Vu, Quicksilver Lubricants and Lucky John Lures provide additional Product Prizes.

While the competitive portion of the Qualifier takes place on Sunday, the NAIFC weekend kicks off with a Friday Night Seminar. Hosted at Evolution Power Sports the seminar series opens with a 5:00-7:00 PM demonstration of Ice Fishing basics covering everything from what knot to tie to the use of plastic baits. Then at 7:00 PM the technical/how-to information is taken up a notch by highlighting fishing techniques from across the Ice Belt as well as underwater camera use and tournament tactics. NAIFC Prostaff, Team USA members along with Prostaff from major manufacturing will be the seminar speakers. The seminars are “Free” to attend and are open to the General Public. There will be a drawing for Quicksilver Lubricants prizes for those in attendance.

On Saturday local kids will take center stage during the Kids Ice Camp to be held at the Redlin Arts Center. All area kids and parents are welcome to the “Free” Kids Ice Camp sponsored by Ice Team and Lucky John Lures. Starting indoors at 1:00 PM kids and parents learn about ice safety, bait, electronics, rods and jigging techniques. At 2:00 PM both the kids and parents are 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. Quicksilver Lubricants product prizes for adults will be drawn for.



Lake Metigoshe, ND Sunday, January 7th, 2018 Open Qualifier

Hebgen Lake, MT Sunday, January 14th, 2018 Open Qualifier

TBA, MN Sunday, January 28th, 2018 Open Qualifier

Antioch Channel, IL Sunday, February 4th, 2018 Open Qualifier

Lake St Helen, MI Sunday, February 18th, 2018 Open Qualifier

Lake Menomin, WI Sunday, February 25th, 2018 Open Qualifier

Bitter Lake, SD Sunday, March 4th, 2018 Open Qualifier


While NAIFC tournaments attract the best of the best from across the Ice Belt, it is generally the local teams with their home field advantage that hold the competitive edge. In 2017, Jeff and Grant Wirkus, a father/son team from Watertown proved that very statement when they smoked the field on Bitter Lake. The local family duo’s 16 perch bucket tipped the scale at 16 pounds, 11 ounces, which is over a pound a fish, an accomplishment that is seldom done in a panfish tournament and speaks to the tremendous fishery that Bitter Lake provides.

Jeff Wirkus, Team Captain and father explained: “We found the spot a couple of weeks ago and hoped other teams would not find it.” “30-32 feet of water off a hump that has a pretty steep drop off.”  “It worked out perfect, the perch were there and the other teams weren’t.” “Being a dad and getting to watch your son pull monster perch, beating teams that travel the nation is unbelievable, fantastic.”

In 2017, teams from 6 States converged on Watertown for the NAIFC South Dakota Qualifier. The quality of perch on Bitter Lake and the hospitality shown by the community of Watertown created quite a buzz in the tournament world and the 2018 tournament is poised to build off that success. As an added incentive to enter the Bitter Lake Qualifier, Aqua Vu Underwater Cameras is offering special VIP pricing to all involved in the event, a saving per camera that literally covers the cost of registration.

NAIFC Tournament Director Jack Baker reported, “The NAIFC’s motto is Every Ounce Counts and in most of our tournaments the local fishermen do real good, Watertown was no exception.” “Jeff and Grant winning by 8 plu

s ounces just proves the value of local knowledge.” “A lot of local fishermen don’t think they can compete against tournament guys and that just isn’t true.” “All they have to do is get off the couch and get in the game, they know the area lakes and that home field advantage is huge.”

For more information on the NAIFC, Qualifiers, Championship, Friday Night Seminar or Kids Ice Camp go to www.naifc.com or contact Jack Baker at 612.308.4858 – jbakersports@hotmail.com.

To enter a NAIFC Qualifying tournament click on Registration at www.naifc.com.

For information on Watertown check out www.visitwatertownsd.com.