The tradition of ice-fishing continues in Kremmling

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Camaraderie on ice! The annual ice fishing contest provides the backdrop from generations of memories and fun
Camaraderie on ice! The annual ice fishing contest provides the backdrop from generations of memories and fun!

by Marissa Lorenz

In spite of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, hunting season, and snowmobile days, winter months represent a slight lull in Kremmling Town and Chamber events. Once the summer festivities come to a close, there is a pause during which event organizers are allowed a brief respite. But February’s cold is the obvious time for a return to fun and fundraising, with the perfect conditions for ice-fishing addicts and amateurs alike. The Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce (KACC) will kick off the escapades on the 15th with the 23rd Annual Wolford Ice Fishing Tournament.

“The thing we love about the Wolford Ice Fishing event is that people look forward to it every year, it has been so long-running,” says Tara Sharp, KACC Executive Director. And the enthusiasm is clear in the consistent success. The event is the first major fundraiser for the Chamber every year and, according to Sharp, one of the most important. She reports average participation to be around 500 contestants and average funds raised to be around $20,000. She says the vast majority of participants are paid attendees, with a couple dozen free youth registrants each year.

The Chamber partners each year with the Grand County Tourism Board, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the Colorado River District to put on an event that is sure to thrill any outdoors enthusiast. Cash prizes are offered for first tagged fish recorded at the tent ($5,000), second through fifth tagged fish ($250), largest fish ($1,200), next nine largest fish ($75 to $800), and largest crayfish prize ($150). All paid participants will be entered into drawings for door prizes, and raffle tickets are offered for $5 a piece or $20 for five. This year contestants can look forward to such enticements as two Clam ice huts, ice augers, insulated Clam bait boxes, an ice fishing lounge chair, hotel and cabin giveaways, and a bevy of gift certificates.

“We are always excited for all of our events,” enthuses Sharp, “but this one is going to be really great.” She goes on to explain the impact of the event on the town. “The event fills lodging during a slightly off season, increasing tourism and local business and bringing in additional revenue that the town wouldn’t otherwise see.” Finally, she points to support the event receives from area businesses as a sign of success, recognizing major sponsors such as Keller Williams Top of the Rockies, Blue Valley Ranch, Grand Fence, and Muddy Creek Cabins. “Jeff Miller [of Muddy Creek Cabins] gets his own shout-out,” she says. “Jeff does an incredible amount of work and the event truly wouldn’t be possible without him.”

The official contest will run from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM on the 15th, followed by an awards ceremony at 4:30 PM at the Chamber Building. Cost to register for the event is $35. Early registration can be done at the Chamber building or online at the Chamber website. There is an additional $2 online fee, but it will save any waiting in line! The day of the event, contestants can register at the Chamber between 5:00 and 7:00 AM or onsite in the Judging Tent at the Reservoir from 6:00 AM to noon. Those 15 and younger are free, but only qualify for cash prizes if registered as paid contestants.

Ice conditions are currently good and snow-mobiles and ATVs are expected to be allowed on the ice. Cars and Trucks will not. For more information or to register online, go to www.KremmlingChamber. com. And look for Wolford Reservoir Ice Fishing Tournament on Facebook to keep updated on ice conditions and other promised surprises.

The 5th Annual Warrior’s Scramble Ice Fishing Tournament will take place the following Saturday, February 22, on Williams Fork Reservoir. The event is a fun event for veterans, but is open for public registration. It is organized by Jubilee Events, hosted by Denver Water, and presented by ESCO Construction. A percentage of this year’s proceeds will go to Angel’s of America’s Fallen, a non-profit whose mission is to “encourage and fund healthy positive activities for the children of fallen firefighters, military, and law enforcement.”
Registration is $35 and can be done by mail or at the East Boat ramp, the morning of the event. The contest will run from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM, and will be followed by a 4:00 awards ceremony at the Parshall Inn. Snowmobiles will be allowed on ice the day of the event only and only for paid competitors and judges.

All contestants will receive a 2020 event flag and prizes include a $1,000 cash prize for longest Northern Pike, a trophy for longest trout of the day, and medals for winning youth. Other great prizes will be awarded for first, second, and third place for Rainbow, Brown, Kokonee, and Mackinaw. And event organizers say that “Military Branch teams are in for a special treat this year.” Other sponsors include Waste Management, Grand Lake Plumbing, Eskimo Ice Fishing, The Trash Co., Dean Public House & Dean’s West, and West End Rental and Tire.

For more information, visit the event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/400690110804129/.

So time to grab your rod and thermos! Get ready and come prepared! Conditions on the ice can be cold and appropriate clothing, food and drink are a necessity.

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