By Steve Weisman
The Iowa Team Extreme Ice Fishing Circuit Series kicks off its second year with its opening tournament on northwest Iowa’s West Lake Okoboji on Sunday, January 11. Rod Woten, the Iowa Team Extreme Tournament Director, is excited to bring this opportunity to anglers across the state. “This is a great opportunity for ice anglers. Since Team Extreme is a regional tournament circuit, anglers can fish an entire circuit without the need to put in all of the windshield time that a larger circuit requires. It’s a chance for anglers just wanting to test out the tournament waters.”
Woten relishes the idea of coming back to West Lake Okoboji. “Last year was our first year here, and we had 18 teams competing. The teams caught nice fish last year, and I hope to see more teams competing this year. There is just something about going after those big gills in perfectly clear water.”
Registration and rules meeting will take place on Saturday afternoon, January 10 with check-in time set for 2:45 p.m. and the meeting beginning at 3 p.m. “It is important that at least one member of the team attends the rules meeting.”
Sunday begins with inspection at 7 a.m. “Our plans are to have the inspection take place on the ice in Little Emerson Bay. Take-off will be at 7:30 a.m. with the official start time at 8 a.m. Weigh-in will take place back at the take-off point at 2 p.m.
Teams will be able to fish all of Emerson Bay.” Teams will weigh their 16 best sunfish.
Woten notes that anglers can use a variety of ways to get to their fishing spots. “Anglers can walk, use ATVs and snowmobiles, but cars and trucks are not allowed.”
Entry fee is $100 per team per tournament with each person paying a one-time $25 membership fee.
The Iowa Team Extreme Circuit is part of a three-division format that also includes the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Teams can fish one qualifier or all four, whatever they want. An incentive to fish more than one qualifier is the chance to finish in the top 25 in a division and qualify for the Team Extreme National Championship that will be held later this winter in Wisconsin.
In addition to West Lake Okoboji, the other qualifiers include Big Creek (near Polk City) on January 18, Brushy Creek (near Lehigh) on February 15 and Rock Creek (near Grinnell) on March 1. Fish limits at these three qualifiers will be eight crappies and eight sunfish.
Reflecting on tournament angling, Woten added, “I’ve fished a lot of tournaments over the years. Tournament angling being the BEST way I know of to become a better ice angler. You learn from other competitors and you learn how to quickly break down a body of water and unlock its secrets.”