NAIFC Tournament Series FAQs

Q: I have never fished a tournament before | We are not professional fishermen. How can we be competitive?
Fact: Every Qualifying Tournament in 2010 was won by a “LOCAL” team… read that again… the winners were not a traveling/professional team… the winners were LOCALS. To be competitive all you need to do is sign up. We have had teams with 9-year old kids on them, father/daughter, mother/son, grandpa and grandkids qualify for the National Championship. You do not need tournament experience to enter and be competitive, you just need to step up and sign up. The Qualifying Tournaments are a fantastic way to learn, to test your skills against others and to compete.
Q: How do I register for a tournament?
The registration process is usually done online, using your assigned Team Number. However, if you are not comfortable using the online method, you may register by phone at (612) 308-4858 or (507) 301-2239. Either option allows you to pay by credit card.

If you have registered your team for an event that took place after January, 2008, then you have been assigned a Team Number. If you are unsure whether or not your team has been assigned a Team Number, or if you forgot it, you can check the database here, or call (612) 308-4858 or (507) 301-2239.

If this is your first time registering for a NAIFC event, you must obtain a Team Number by completing the New Team Registration Form. Once submitted, a new Team Number will be assigned to you automatically, and sent along with a confirmation e-mail.
Q: What is a Team Number, and how is it used?
A Team Number is a permanent, unique ID number that we assign to each team the first time they register for an event. Your Team Number is used by our staff to track your event participation, statistics and helps us better manage your event processing experience.

It is important that you remember your Team Number, as you will need it to register and participate in all future NAIFC events. If you have forgotten your Team Number, you may look it up here, or call (612) 308-4858 or (507) 301-2239.
Q: What if I change teammates?
The short answer is to call (612) 308-4858 or (507) 301-2239.

If the members of your team change it is considered a new team. You must use the New Team Registration Form to register your new team and receive a new Team Number, or you may register by phone. Your old team will still exist in the database and remain visible on the website for historical purposes, however you MUST use your new Team Number from now on.

If you registered for an event and your teammate changes BEFORE the event takes place, the same rule applies. However, there will be more than one registration for that particular event with at least one teammate's name on it. Since you can't fish the tournament on two teams, you MUST call (612) 308-4858 or (507) 301-2239 and have the old registration voided.

If you want to keep the same teammates on your team, but decide to switch who is captain, you DO NOT need to create a new registration or Team Number. Simply call (612) 308-4858 or (507) 301-2239 and have the team information modified.
Q: What if my address, phone number or email changes?
You can email your new contact information to  or (please include your team number), or call (612) 308-4858 or (507) 301-2239.
Q: How do I pay my registration fee?
NAIFC uses PayPal to process entry fee payments for web-based registrations. If you would like to use an offline method of payment, you have the option to either call us at (612) 308-4858 or (507) 301-2239 and arrange payment over the phone with your credit card, or pay by check or money order via the US Mail.

Make checks payable to:
NAIFC Tournament Series

Mail payment to:
NAIFC c/o Jack Baker

1003 Winona ST

Northfield, MN 55057
Once you complete the online registration process, your team will be registered in our system for the chosen event(s). However, if you choose not to pay online, your account will be flagged as not yet having paid the entry fee until you make payment arrangements over the phone. In this case, be aware that your team will not be allowed to participate in the event(s) unless you make arrangements to pay the entry fee prior to the event(s). Remember that entry fees are subject to an additional $20 administration fee if paid within 24 hours of an event.

Q: Where does my registration fee go?
90% of Qualifying Tournament Entry Fees goes toward Payouts.

Fee Allocation Breakdown (per team entry):
Each Qualifying Tournament has an entry fee of $200.00 per team. For each entry fee collected...
· 20% ($40.00) goes toward the Championship payout.
· 70% ($140.00) goes toward the respective Qualifying Tournament payout.
· 10% ($20.00) goes toward administrative costs.
Q: Can I register by phone or on line early, and then pay when I get to the tournament?
You may pay your team’s entry anytime before the Rules Meeting on Saturday night but your starting position will be determined by a random draw prior to the start of Saturday's Registration. If you pay after the random drawing has taken place your team’s starting position will be the first available spot at the end of the line. If you sign-up on the Saturday of the Tournament there is a $20. 00 late fee assessed.
Q: When will my team be assigned our place in the starting line-up?
Your team’s starting position will be determined by random draw prior to the start of Saturday's Registration.
Q: What if I don’t have a partner?
The NAIFC was designed as a team competition involving two people.  You may registar as a one person team.  The entry fee is the same as a two person team.  State limits and Tournament Limits do not change.
Q: Is it mandatory that I attend the Friday Night Seminar?
No, it is not mandatory to attend the Friday Night Seminar (FNS). Attendance is free of charge and open to the public. The FNS is a two (2) part educational event presented by the NAIFC. The first portion of the FNS covers the basics of ice fishing. The second portion of the FNS features speakers who talk about the more advanced/technical side of ice and tournament fishing. The NAIFC Pro-Staffers are available after the speakers are done to sit and talk with any of the locals or new teams that want to learn more about the tournaments, fishing techniques or new products on the market. Check the details page under the current tournament for speaker information.
Q: Do I have to attend the Saturday Rules meeting?
One member of the team must attend the Rules Meeting. If you are a new team we recommend both of the members attend the Rules Meeting. At the Rules Meeting you will receive your packet with rules, tags, and big fish marker. Prior to the start of the tournament both team members are required to sign a waiver. If one team member is not present at the Rules Meeting that missing team member must sign the waiver in the start/line-up line Sunday morning.
Q: Will there be food served at the Friday Night Seminar or the Rules Meeting?
Check the details page for the current tournament for specifics. Most Host Community offers food to be purchased before the Friday Night Seminar. Some Host Community may serve complementary food to the competitors at the Saturday Rules Meeting. Social hour for both nights begin at 5:00 pm with a cash bar. Saturday night Rules Meeting Registration starts at 5:00pm. Usually the food is generally available from 5:30-7:00pm. The Saturday Rules Meeting starts promptly at 7:00pm.
Q: What are the lake boundaries?
Look on the current lake “details page”. Depending on ice conditions the boundaries may change for the tournament. The official boundaries will be announced at the Rules Meeting. Cones that limit a bay or mark an area as out-of-bounds will usually be places on the lake by Thursday night.
Q: Can I use my snowmobile or ATV during the tournament?
Snowmobiles, side by sides and ATV’s are an acceptable way to travel during the tournaments. Ice conditions may restrict the tournament to walking only. The final decision on “walk-only” will be announced at the Rules Meeting with ice conditions being the determining factors. Remember Ice is never completely safe for vehicle travel. Always travel with a friend and check the ice conditions before travel. Automobiles are strictly forbidden on Tournament days.
Q: What are the regulations for registration stickers for snowmobiles and ATV’s?
Each state has different regulations. Be sure and check the DNR for state regulations. Some states require that you wear helmets. Each person fishing is personally responsible for following DNR regulations.
Q: What happens if I already have a limit and I catch a bigger fish? Can I cull out a smaller fish and keep the larger?
No culling is allowed. Keep in mind there are two (2) different “limits”. First you have the Tournament limit, which is defined as the number of fish your team could bring to the weigh-in. The other “limit” is the State daily limit for both you and your teammate. The Tournament limit is always less than the State daily limit. You sort your team’s Tournament limit from your team’s combined State daily “limit”. Part of team tournament fishing is deciding what fish to keep and what to immediately release: having time set aside to sort your fish is part of team strategy. Once you and your team partner have your State daily limit you are not allowed to cull. In other words, once a fish is in your bucket that fish stays in your bucket.
Q: How is the pay-out determined if there are less than 100 teams?
The NAIFC’s cash payout ratio is 5 to 1… meaning we pay one place for every five teams that enter ( best ratio in the industry high). Example: A 50 team tournament will pay down to 10th place. The distribution of the entry fees are 10% for administration 20% for the Championship pay-out which leaves 70% for the current tournament. The pay-out amounts are tallied and announced at the rules meeting prior to the tournament. See the payout schedule here.
Q: Am I going to have to pay to compete in the Championship?
The fee for the Championship is based on the amount of dollars collected from the qualifiers. When the Tournament Series grows to a level of 500 total entries (combined from all the Qualifying Tournaments) there will be no fee for the Championship. If total entries do not reach the 500 team level there will be an entry fee to supplement the pay-out for the Championship.
Q: The rules state that I can’t fish closer than 15 feet from another competitor. Can you clarify this?
The 15 foot rule is established to keep the competitors from fishing or conducting fishing activities closer than 15 feet from each other. The 15 feet distance is measured from: the edge of hole to edge of hole. You can walk within 15 feet of another fisher. You cannot block a hole by using your gear or machine to keep someone else from fishing an open hole that is more than 15 feet away from your person.
Q: The rules state that I have to be within 100 feet from my team mate. How do you determine the distance?
If an observer or the Tournament Director questions whether you are more than 100 feet from your teammate they may ask you to walk off the steps. If you are outside the 100 foot limit you may be given a warning. The second time you break the rule you may be disqualified. Pay attention to your partner while drilling or moving about the ice during the tournament.
Q: I frequently get important calls on my cell phone. Can I answer my phone during a tournament?
No. We ask that you only use your phone during the competition for emergencies or to call the Tournament Director for a ruling. If you need to use the phone make sure an official or another team is alerted and the reason for use is stated. At NO time during the tournament may you use the phone to communicate in any way with another team. The same is true for two-way radios. Communication between teams is strictly forbidden during tournament hours.
Q: Can I cross the cones before the 1:00pm time limit and then sort my fish for the weigh-in?
All fish must be sorted prior to crossing the time-line for the weigh-in. No sorting is allowed after crossing through the cones.
Q: What if I witness a rule infraction and there isn’t an official present to alert?
As a competitor it is your duty to keep an even playing field. If you witness an infraction your first step is to alert an Observer or the Tournament Director immediately. If neither are immediately available point out the infraction to the offending team and continue fishing, do not escalate the situation in to a war of words or worse. Use your cell phone to call the Tournament Director if the need arises.