With the coming of October, small ice fishing events have begun popping up across the Ice Belt, but the largest ones have started or will be starting soon. With the Dakota Angler Ice Institute done, attention now turns to the Blaine Hardwater Expo sponsored by Clam Outdoors, the Ice Show in Fargo, ND in the coming weeks, followed by the granddaddy of them all, the St. Paul Ice Fishing and Winter Sports Show going from Dec. 6th-8th.
These huge events showcase the latest and greatest in the ice fishing industry with nearly all the major players in the business present to display the new gear. These conventions also offer smaller businesses a chance to showcase their contributions to the industry, many of which can offer ice anglers huge advantages over others due to the creativity and engineering that these small businesses can create and specialize in.
Word of mouth in person and on social media can help these companies become huge hits and generate national exposure for their products. These conventions also offer great opportunities to network with the different companies and their staffs that are present to help explain and sell the gear of their respective companies.
I had the privilege of attending the Dakota Angler Ice Institute in Sioux Falls, SD on behalf of Clam again this past weekend and it did not disappoint. Over 70 vendors, both large and small, were present this year and thousands of people from all levels of experience on ice came through the doors and asked questions and got the gear that they were after for the coming season.
Whether it was a new model Clam flip-over sled with the new Side Symmetry door system, the new line of ice tackle from Northland Tackle, or Cold Snap Outdoors auger blade covers, reel wraps, or their new Redline Series of ice rods, there was something for everyone to look at or purchase. And the seminars presented, gave attendees a chance to learn tips from some of the best in the business with the highlight of this year's Institute being the one presented by the Godfather of Ice Fishing himself, Dave Genz! It was standing room only for his presentation.
It was such a great 3-day event with the stories told or the information shared to help people with their choices. If you live anywhere near Sioux Falls and haven't attended, I would highly recommend attending next November.
These events offer chances to meet new people and make new friends, regardless of company represented. I've made many new friends because of the Institute and I look forward to seeing them every year at it. Those of us working at these shows are all ice fishermen and women and we only want attendees to have success and fun on the ice no matter what equipment is chosen. And who among us doesn't want to chat about the hardwater with others of similar interest.
You never know what contact you may make or what a new product from a small business can do for you on the ice. Be sure to attend any of these shows that you are near. And for those whose waters are locking up, it's a great way to get prepared for the coming of the ice! Enjoy and tight lines this season!