Rules and Policy
2023 NAIFC TOURNAMENT SERIES OFFICIAL RULES: Open Qualifiers
Official time will be taken from tournament director cell phone. Start, finish and any penalties will be measured by cell phone clocks.
Registration for every event must be received by 8PM the Wednesday before the event. Entries received after this cutoff are subject to rejection. Maximum of 75 teams per event
1. NAIFC Qualifiers are two persons, one and two day, total weight tournaments. Locations, times, boundaries, designated species and total number of fish will be announced prior.
2. Cars and trucks will not be permitted for team use in the tournament area during the event. Snowmobiles, UTV’s and ATVs can be used when ice conditions are satisfactory for snowmobile and ATV use. All powered vehicles must employ a surface drive system (track, wheel, gear, etc.) Any vehicle with a powerplant/powertrain NOT present in at least 20 percent of the vehicles entered will not be allowed. NO airboats, hovercraft or experimental vehicles will be allowed. Directors’ decision is final.
Snobears and WILcraft are allowed, with one team per vehicle. Since these vehicles tend to move much slower than most other common machines, and drivers may not impede another team, teams in these vehicles may be passed if it can be done safely.
3. Auger blades must not be exposed if the auger is in any way attached to or being transported by/on machine(s) or a device being moved by a machine, at ALL times on tournament day.
4. All scouting/pre-fishing activities must be complete, and all registered participants OFF the iceby the 5PM commencement ofregistration/packet pick-up. Rules meetings will begin at 630 PM.
5. At least (1) one team member must attend rules meeting/registration.
6. On tournament day, all teams must travel and fish within the designated tournament boundary area. Do not travel inside the tournament boundary area to arrive at the Start/Inspection Line. (No crossing lake to arrive at start area)
7. All state, federal and local laws must be followed at all times. KNOW THE LAW for the body of water you are fishing. If any team member is cited by any law enforcement, during tournament hours, and is removed from the ice, that team’s entry is disqualified.
8. NO ALCOHOL ALLOWED DURING TOURNAMENT HOURS.
9. No team can wave a rule or agree with another team to break a rule, both teams will be held guilty (i.e., letting a team fish closer than 15-feet because you know the team or did not want to say something).
10. Participants can fish with only one line at a time. A tip-up would count as a line.
11. No third-party fishing during the event. Each team must fish on their own without assistance except emergency/medical. This is a competitive event, please do not invite family or friends to “join you on the ice” during this event. They should respect the competition you are involved in. This rule is on you to enforce as a participant. No communication/sharing of information between teams that may give another team a fishing advantage.
12. There will be mandatory team inspections (and possible media interview) before teams are allowed to proceed onto the tournament area. The starting line will be visibly marked on the ice the morning of the event, typically by cones and banners. Teams will line up in starting order and have machines and equipment ready for inspection at the time designated at the rules meeting. ANY compartment that can hold water or keep a fish alive must be opened and ready for inspection.
Both team members and both their gear must be in their starting position when the inspectors arrive, or they will be sent to the back of the line. Walking teams will stay just out of the line of machines, but at their respective position unless this creates a safety hazard
13. Once released through the start cones, teams must hold their starting positions across the ice. YOU MAY NOT PASS ANOTHER TEAM TO GAIN AN ADVANTAGE (A MOTORIZED TEAM MAY PASS A NON MOTORIZED TEAM). Passing to gain an advantage will see a 15-minute no fish penalty imposed, with an additional 5 minutes for every other team passed). If you must slow for any reason, raise a hand over your head to signal any team directly behind you that you are pulling over/slowing. If your machine is bogging down, or struggling with conditions, causing following traffic to slow or struggle below the pace of the field average, you may not impede another team’s progress.
14. (A). Once your team has rolled past the start cones, the lake is active and you may begin fishing. DO NOT STOP and impede the obvious line of travel until the last machine clears that area. Once you stop your machine in the area you want to fish, you must drill your first holes within 60 seconds, and “plant your flag”.
14. (B). (Respect the starting order) ONLY after any other contestants(s) with a LOWER starting number, within a perimeter you may also wish to fish, drills their first hole, may you then drill your first hole, respecting the 15’ rule and begin to fish.
14. (C). Participants may fish with or without a portable, soft sided fish house. *-Designated as a flip-over or hub style shelter, or equivalent, that folds up for transportation and requires some set-up to be used.. No single fish house being used by a team may exceed 9’ at its longest side, nor exceed 75 square feet, as measured on the ice. You may not utilize any pre-positioned shelters, nor may you enter any during the event. Teams may not fish closer than 15 feet to any pre-positioned shelters or other structures on the ice, nor closer than 15 FEET TO THE CENTER OF ANY COMPETITORS SHELTER.
15. Team partners must stay within 100 feet (approximately 30 paces) from one another from the time their team has passed inspection until at least one team member enters the check in/weigh in line with the team’s fish. This includes travel. Once inspected, tournament rules are active. During competition or after being inspected a team may ONLY leave the ice through the Time Cones/Start Line. Team must be inspected when leaving the ice and must be re-inspected when coming back onto the ice through the Time Cones/Start Line.
16. Participants may drill as many holes as they wish. When a participant drills a hole, that participant or team partner gets first drop in that hole if they remain within 15 feet, otherwise anyone may fish that hole.
17. Hole Blocking is not allowed: Leaving a sonar, shelter, or other equipment next to/in a hole does not stop another fisherman from using that hole if you are over 15 feet away. An angler may RETURN to retrieve or adjust gear that was in place before the other angler moved in but may NOT fish that hole again until back in compliance with 15-foot rule, and must move away immediately
18. If an angler moves in on another angler in violation of the 15 foot rule, both partners of the offending team will incur a 10-minute-no-fish penalty. If a fish is caught while this angler is in violation, the offending team will forfeit their biggest fish (caught up to that point) in addition to the 10-minute-no-fish penalty. Tournament Director and camera crew are excluded from the rule. Marshalls will have ability to check 15-foot distances and administer the time penalty.
19. Fish must be kept alive in a bucket, cooler or similar container with water and without ice/slush. No frozen fish, no foreign matter in the bucket with the fish. If a bucket has too much slush/ice that team’s fish may be rejected until the fish can be presented properly.
20. All fish brought to the weigh-in must be caught on the day of the tournament, during tournament hours, by the team entering the fish. Fish may not be gifted from another angler, picked up off the ice nor obtained in any manner other than hooking, landing, and taking possession by one of the team members.
21. Teams must cross the official tournament CHECK IN line with their team’s entry of fish, in a container marked with their team number, with all fish sorted, your BIG FISH marked with the supplied zip tie or similar and ready to weigh, before the official’s time piece turns to 1:00 pm. NO late penalty will be applied, in the line before 1:00 PM tournament time or your entry will not be weighed.
22. Once a team crosses the check-in line, their entry becomes official. If it exceeds the designated total number of fish, or number of fish per species for that event, that team’s entry will NOT be counted, and a zero score will be awarded. NO EXCEPTIONS. Make sure you enter the line with a legal, tournament bag.
23. Once inside the check in line, the team’s container must be in direct control of at least one team member (mounted to a machine, in a sled, carried by hand, etc. always meaning “hands or eyes on”). Once in line with your team’s entry, no fish are to be displayed/sorted or further handled until the fish have been turned over to the official checking in your fish.
24. If a team witnesses a violation of these rules, it is the obligation of that team to notify an official immediately. If a violation is reported after the fact (up to one hour after the 1:00 pm cut-off), the team filing the grievance must do so in writing, with pertinent details, signed by both team members and any witnesses. Pictures and photo evidence will be considered if indisputable.
25. To preserve the integrity of the field the Tournament Director reserves the right to disqualify or penalize a team from the NAIFC Tournament Series and Championship for any rules infraction. The NAIFC Tournament Series reserves the right to amend and introduce rules.
Lastly, ANY modification to a fish to add weight will be met with immediate disqualification and a lifetime ban from NAIFC competition. Tournament officials can inspect any fish at any time up to 15 minutes after a team weighs their fish, and any fish that are found to be modified become the property of the NAIFC for evidence.
Rules violations will be evaluated by tournament officials following the below basic criteria.
Minor Infraction: 1st time distance violation, etc.
Major Infraction: Conduct (fighting, poor sportsmanship) pre-fish violation, safety, law enforcement, etc.
Outright Cheating: Modifying fish, entering fish not caught that day, illegal bait, etc.
Penalties may include a warning, a weight reduction, a DQ for that event, or a total suspension. Any suspension or DQ will require a full board review before either member is allowed entry to any further tournaments.
Tournament Director Mike Howe, 406-249-0556 or email@example.com