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Results of the West River Ice Fishing League (WRIFL) Championship

After qualifying to get into the WRIFL championship round, I was looking forward to seeing how my partner and I would do. Unfortunately, he was unable to make it due to a sudden work commitment, but luckily, another buddy of mine was available to step in for him and he had a four-wheeler as well, which would work out great for moving around on the lake much more efficiently than walking would have been.

Since it was a total weight competition, I mapped out a few places to try that would have chances at catching perch as well as pike, since I figured that perch alone were not going to stand a chance at placing higher.

The morning of the championship was perfect, with low pressure, sunny skies, little wind, and temps in the low 50s. I was hopeful that we'd get some fish and have a good shot at getting into the top five if a few pike would play along.

Our first location, we lined up Arctic Warriors and other tip-ups in the weeds along the shoreline and jigged for perch in 25'-40' of water along the muddy basin. Finding fish wasn't hard, getting them to bite---that was another story. We managed to bring up several perch, but only one was a good one. We only had one pike take a bait.

After two hours, it was off to the second location to try for trout as well as perch and pike. We struck out there. We spent the last couple hours before weigh-in fishing around structure in a bay which, like the second location, failed to produce.

I felt a bit defeated that we could only manage several perch and a small pike for all our efforts, but hoped that others had the same issue. Well, most could find more fish, but surprisingly, not too many pike were caught. Finding bigger rainbows, in fact, was what placed the other teams higher, including the team that won it.

We ended up placing 9th, below where I was hoping to be, but at least, we made it to the finals and fishing against some of the best fishermen in the Black Hills, I could chalk up a successful tourney season to making it this far. I'll be looking forward to next season's WRIFL series that could include more teams and new locations to fish on. Until then, there's still hardwater to fish on around here for a few more weeks......hopefully!

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