The USA Ice Team was reformed in 2008 with the sole purpose of fielding a national team, comprised of the most accomplished tournament ice anglers in the United States, that could represent the US in world competitions and become the country’s ambassadors of American ice angling abroad. Currently the team competes annually in the The World Ice Fishing Championship (WIFC), and team members make several public appearances over the ice and open water seasons. In just its second attempt on the world stage, the USA Ice Team beat ten other countries to take home the gold in 2010.
About the World Ice Fishing Championship
The World Ice Fishing Championship (WIFC) is a well established, highly competitive international sporting event. Similar in many ways to the Olympics, teams from typically 10-15 countries come together at the WIFC to compete for the championship title in both team and individual events. Past participants include Sweden, Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Finland, Canada, Belarus, Bulgaria, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Norway, Iceland, Czech Republic, Moldavia, and Romania. Each team consists of five fishers with one alternate, a captain and a coach. Most teams will also bring support personnel, trainers and managers.
The WIFC is not your typical ice fishing tournament. It is a true test of one’s skill, determination and endurance. FIPS-ed, the governing body of the WIFC, has established rules to this end. For instance, power augers or electronics of any kind are not allowed. The fishers must rely on intuition, research, stamina and experience to find and catch fish. They must use physical power and skill when drilling through thick ice with hand augers. In addition, on-ice time prior to the event is limited to only three days. Competition zones will be utilized during the event, each zone including one fisherman from each country per zone, and fishers will not be allowed to fish inside these zones prior to, or outside the official tournament times of 9:00am to 12:00pm each day.
The WIFC crowns its Champion following an often grueling two-day competition. Placement is based on the total weight of fish caught by each team on each day. Each fisher is given a number according to his or her placement for the day, and each day’s numbers will be added determining the winner with the lowest number. Ties will be broken by the fisher with the heaviest weight from both days.