The Mobridge Ice Fishing Championship will go ahead
MOBRIDGE, SD (KELO) — The annual Mobridge Chamber Ice Fishing Tournament will go ahead, Ice Fishing Tournament President Jesse Konold announced during a Facebook Live video on Jan. 8.
“It’s currently 13 degrees Celsius and clouds here,” Konold began to announce that the committee had met and made the decision to go ahead with the tournament.
“Today is the day we made a decision on whether or not we were going to fish as far as the fishing tournament,” Konold explained. “Given the forecast and what has happened over the past week and a half, we chose to go fishing.”
Ice or no ice, there would likely be people willing to fish regardless, but with sufficient ice available, the committee decided that a portion of the prize collected by the tournament could be tied directly to fishing.
Speaking with KELOLAND News last week, Konold explained that if the ice wasn’t thick enough to host the entire tournament, the committee planned to raffle team names for fishing prizes, which amount to about $16,000. The remaining prize pool of approximately $234,000 is still scheduled to be distributed in drawings.
In his video, Konold continued to outline some ice thickness, noting that there is 5-6 inches at the mouth of the Grand River, adding that at the top of the Grand you can find 10 inches of ice.
This is not the case elsewhere though.
“The challenge is, guys, some of these things have just frozen over and we want to make sure everyone knows that running around and shooting like we normally do with four-wheelers and jumping between potholes and so on — that’s a no-no,” Konold said.
The danger with the current situation Konold explains is that even though you might have a place with 8 inches of ice, you won’t have to go far to find a place where the ice drops to 3 inches. “We should be safe out there,” he said.
Besides the Grand River, another place with a lot of ice is the mouth of Oak Creek, according to Konold. “It has been frozen for some time,” he added. “We’ve heard some questions about access — we’re working on that and we’ll see what we can come up with.”
Here Konold referred to an incident in which hunters caused some damage to a landowner’s road surface while accessing the ice. “The biggest thing we ask of our hunters is when you’re out there, let’s make sure we respect the land and the access fences,” he said.
Pulling out some maps, Conold warned anglers about a particular stretch of water that extends from Shaw Creek to the West Pollock State Rec area. region. “It’s been open for a couple of days and there’s still some open water here,” he said. “Please stay away. This is very shallow ice at this point.”
In previous years, Shaw Creek had marked the northern edge of the tournament fields, but this year the commission decided to extend the boundary north to the North Dakota state line.
Returning to the mouth of the Grand River, Konold again noted the good thickness of the ice, but offered a warning here as well. “Make sure you get snow cleats because they are soft,” he said.
The 2024 tournament kicks off on January 11 at the Ice Show, and fishing begins on January 13. This year, Konold says, they will have 553 two-person teams.