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USA Ice Fishing Team traveling to Mongolia for World Ice Fishing Championship

The USA Ice Fishing Team is embarking on an extraordinary adventure, spanning over 6,000 miles, to participate in the 20th World Ice Fishing Championship (WIFC) in Kharkhorum, Mongolia. This prestigious event is scheduled for March 9-10, 2024. The journey to Mongolia involves a combination of trains, planes, and automobiles, traversing vast distances and diverse landscapes. The competitors will face not only the physical challenges of travel but also the extreme weather conditions characteristic of this remote region.

Weather conditions in Mongolia during this time of year can be brutal. The Ukraine Team, who has been practice fishing at the venue for the past two weeks, reported temperatures as low as -60 degrees. Imagine enduring such frigid cold while living in a traditional yurt on the shore of the frozen lake! The dedication and passion exhibited by all teams traveling to this distant and challenging location exemplify the spirit of true sportsmanship. May their pursuit of gold be as relentless as the icy winds that sweep across the Mongolian landscape!


Dedicating time to compete and practice for a competition that includes perch and roach in Mongolia has its challenges for the US Team. Perch are available in several of the lakes the team has competed on, but roach is the unfamiliar species that will be the challenge. Both fish can be convinced to visit your bait under 1.5 meters of ice with ground baiting techniques. Ground baiting is a system that involves using ground natural materials placed in the water to attract fish. Think of fish blood and guts as chum in Jaws. But legal freshwater ground baiting cannot contain fish parts and must dissipate otherwise it can be considered littering which comes with a hefty fine. In Mongolia the ground bait will likely not be the only determining factor in this WIFC. Freshwater Fishing Director, Mike McNett agrees, “this year the championship will be won with precise drilling and feeding techniques. I can’t imagine drilling more than ten holes during the three-hour event. I’m not even sure I could start the drill without standing on a fish box.” Below zero weather conditions and 1.5 meters ice thickness will be the struggle for the athletes. “Yes, I said over 4 feet of ice will have to be drilled by hand to reach the fish. Shanties are NOT allowed so the anglers will be exposed to the harsh elements. Only true athletes need to apply!”


The United States Midwest is in the warmest winter ever recorded in the history books. At least for the last 20 years… It was a struggle to find ice that was willing to hold training and competitions for the US Team. In fact, Steph Sissel, President of the USA Ice Fishing Team stated, “the National Championship scheduled for March 22-25 will have to be cancelled and rescheduled for next winter.” Not all is lost in this scenario as Team Coach, Myron Gilbert chuckles, “Well, that’ll just give us more opportunity to compete on the Lake where the WIFC will be held in 2025.” The planning stages of the 2025 World Ice Fishing Championship is in full stride, and we have some plans in store that will include a “no kill” style of catch, weigh, and release with a mortality rate of less than 1% in the tournaments that were held this year. Goal oriented, Tony Forte, President of USAngling Confederation is dedicated to the mission of introducing fishing to the Olympics. “The only way to convince the Olympic committee to take us seriously is to make sure that a catch and release system is in place. We have a system that will make it happen!” Michigan Out of Doors attended the final tournament of the year in MI and filmed the team competing for the gold, silver and bronze medals in the final event. They are a long-standing media partner with the USA Ice Team and will be airing the episode in two weeks that will highlight the catch, weight and release system that will be used in the WIFC 2025.


Watch 20th World Ice Fishing Championship 2024 Live Online


Please visit the USAngling website for more information about fishing for the USA Ice Fishing Team and other related events. Look for updates on the website to follow along with the USA Ice Fishing Team and the live weigh in on Saturday and Sunday.


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