9 ice fishing tournaments and events to check out this winter
Salt Lake City — If you want to add an extra challenge to your ice fishing this winter, a tournament may be just the thing. Plus, you can help many of Utah's fisheries and often win prizes!
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Utah State Parks will be sponsoring or hosting several ice fishing tournaments from January to March around the state. A valid Utah fishing license is required for anyone over 12 years old to fish in any of the events. Anyone participating should be familiar with the ice safety recommendations on the Utah State Parks website.
Here are a few tournaments to check out:
Buckboard Pupulation Control Contest
Hosted by Buckboard Marina at Flaming Gorge and sponsored by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, this third annual fishing contest is geared toward helping control the population of small lake trout (pups) at Flaming Gorge. This contest started on Oct. 20 and runs until June 12, 2022, so anglers can continue participating during the ice fishing season. Anglers who catch a tagged lake trout and turn in the tag automatically win a cash prize. Other drawings for prizes are also available for registered participants.
Learn the rules of the contest and register online at the Buckboard Marina website.
Hosted by the Flaming Gorge Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the DWR and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Burbot Bash will be held Jan. 28–30, 2022 at Flaming Gorge Reservoir. This annual ice fishing tournament helps to control the burbot population, a cod-like fish that rapidly reproduces and preys on other sportfish species in the reservoir. $30,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to anglers who catch the most burbot, the largest and smallest burbot, and tagged burbot.
Due to COVID-19 event safety procedures, all participants must register online between Dec. 28 and Jan. 24. There will be no on-site registration for the tournament. For more contest details or to register, visit the Burbot Bash website.
East Canyon Ice Fishing Derby with Fins & Fur
Fins & Fur Guide Service is partnering with East Canyon State Park to host this ice fishing contest on Jan. 15, 2022. Cash prizes will be paid out to those who catch the top four fish, with additional hourly prizes awarded for the biggest fish caught that hour. You can find information about registration and prizes on the Fins & Fur website.
Ice Addiction Tournament at Rockport and Steinaker state parks
Hosted by Tightline Outdoors and Utah State Parks — and presented by Clam — this ice fishing tournament will take place at Rockport Reservoir on Jan. 22, 2022, and at Steinaker Reservoir on Feb. 5, 2022, from 8 a.m. to noon. All anglers must register online for the Rockport tournament by Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. and online for the Steinaker tournament by Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. Details about the tournament rules and registration are available at the Tightline Outdoors website.
Millsite On Ice Fishing Tournament
The sixth annual Millsite on Ice Fishing Tournament will be hosted Jan. 7–8, 2022, at Millsite State Park. This event is sponsored by Emery County. The first day of the tournament (Jan. 7) will be a two-person team tournament. The second day (Jan. 8) will be a single-person event.
All the proceeds from registration will be included in the cash prizes, so there will be up to $2,000 in cash awards each day and thousands in drawing giveaways. The tournament is currently full, but people can sign up for the waitlist on the Millsite on Ice website in case a spot becomes available.
Monster Cisco Disco & Tournament
While this is not technically "ice fishing" because Bear Lake doesn't typically freeze over, this annual winter fishing event is worth attending. The Monster Cisco Disco tournament is part of the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest and will be hosted Jan. 22, 2022, from 6 a.m. to noon at Bear Lake State Park. Participants will have the chance to dip net for Bonneville cisco, a fish species only found at Bear Lake.
Unless you have a current Utah State Parks Annual Day-Use Pass, you'll need to pay the entrance fee to enter Cisco Beach, which is within Bear Lake State Park. Prizes for the biggest cisco will be awarded. For more details and tournament rules, visit the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest website.
Rockport Ice Fishing Tournament
Rockport State Park and The Marina at Rockport are co-hosting an ice fishing tournament on Jan. 15, 2022. The top three finishers will win a cash prize, and everyone will have a chance to win some amazing raffle prizes. Registration for the event is $40 per person and will remain open until Jan. 15. Learn more and register on the tournament's Eventbrite page.
Slotbuster Ice Fishing Tournament at East Canyon and Lost Creek state parks
This is the first year for the Slotbuster Ice Fishing Tournament. This trout-focused competition will be held at East Canyon and Lost Creek state parks on Jan. 29–30, 2022 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The tournament will be held at one state park each of the days, and individuals can register for both dates and locations or for just one. This contest has a size limitation — any fish under 22 inches that is caught at Lost Creek must be released and does not count toward the competition. Fish over 22 inches are known as "slotbusters" and can be kept or used for measurement in the tournament. Food trucks will be on-site during the tournament, along with measuring stations.
Visit slotbustericecomp.com to register and see additional details.
Starvation Ice Bowl
This popular event will be held at Starvation Reservoir at Fred Hayes State Park on Feb. 12, 2022. Participants will be targeting trout and walleye for the contest, and prizes will be awarded based on fish length. Registration is $60 per team, and either a $5 day-use fee or an annual pass per vehicle is required to enter the state park. All teams must be issued a team number. For more details about the contest, visit the Fred Hayes State Park at Starvation website.