After fishing and placing in the top ten of the first NAIFC tournament in Canada Toni Hadi wrote the following article recapping his experience.   Dave D  

Lake Winnipeg NAIFC
Toni Hadi

Travis Taylor

          Travis Taylor and I took the opportunity to compete in the North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAIFC) Ice Fishing Tournament on Lake Winnipeg in January.  This was the first time the NAIFC has crossed the border.  For the most part, the NAIFC is the only competitive ice fishing circuit in North America. Travis and I were both very excited to hear that this event was coming to Canada, as we were both interested in proving ourselves as competitive ice anglers, as well as participating in an ice fishing tournament that was run differently than the typical derby-style tournaments. We were given GPS coordinates to a specific area which spanned approximately two square miles, where we were able to drill our own holes at locations of our choice, providing Travis and I were no more than 30 feet apart.  Much like the Walleye Trail tournaments, this tournament was a five walleye, catch and release format, with a 22” slot limit. On the south side of the border this circuit is typically a pan fish catch and kill format, so to come to Canada and take on a Walleye “Green Back” catch and release format was a change for the NAIFC and its anglers.  

         Jack Baker, President of the NAIFC, worked with Stu McKay, owner of “Cats on the Red”, and Holly Chow, Stu’s Leading Guide, to bring the NAIFC to Canada. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Jack, Stu and Holly, as well as all of the volunteers, for hosting such an excellent event. The tournament headquarters was at the South Beach Casino which offered everything you needed to host a first class event with incredible meals, great rooms, and some awesome evening entertainment. There was a conference room booked all week where the fishermen could go have a few drinks and mingle with each other.  On Friday night there was a seminar on fishing Lake Winnipeg put on by Roger Stearns and Lee Nolden, two avid fishermen who guide on the lake.  They covered everything you needed to know about fishing Lake Winnipeg, including what types of lures work best, how to fish these lures, how to setup and what to look for on your flasher, as well as information and tips to help us navigate this body of water, which is fed by the Saskatchewan River, Winnipeg River and  Red River. This seminar was very informative, and we really appreciated the expertise of Roger and Lee.  We would also like to thank Bobby Kalid of Pro-Am Tackle in Winnipeg for helping us get our hands on the lures recommended during the seminar. Bobby had everything you’ll ever need for fishing the Winnipeg area and had no problem helping a couple Saskatchewan boys out.

         All in all this was a great experience, as we met many great people and made some really good contacts. Since we finished in the top 10, along with Glen Boehme and Kelly Miller, we are looking forward to reconnecting with some of these guys again at the NAIFC Championship in Wisconsin in December 2011, where we’ll see how we fair against the rest of the Ice Men in the Pan fishing portion of this circuit.   We can’t wait for the return of the NAIFC on Lake Winnipeg and we hope to see more Saskatchewan anglers at this tournament next year participating in this event. Who knows, maybe if we prove Canada is a great place to host these kinds of events, the NAIFC will be in Saskatchewan in the near future…