Saturday is expected to be the perfect backdrop for the over 500 anglers who will descend on Kremmling this weekend to participate in the 23rd annual Wolford Ice Fishing Competition thanks to predictions of warmer temperatures and sunny skies.
Brittany Vanderlinden, assistant director of the Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce, said the town is preparing for more participants this year than ever and is looking forward to a bluebird day.
“We’re really excited that it’s supposed to be sunny and … it will be in the 30s, which obviously for winter up here, that is grgeous weather and we couldn’t ask for better,” she said. “As far as winter goes, this is our biggest event. It sets the tone for the rest of the year and what we are going to be doing as a chamber.”
Anglers can begin setting up their tents and drilling holes at 7 a.m. Saturday if they have pre-registered for the competition at the Kremmling chamber or online. Day of registration will also be available.
Conditions at the Wolford Reservoir are also pretty ideal for competition day, with an ice thickness of 15 inches, an outflow of 21 cfs and a stock of brown trout, rainbow trout and kokanee. Muddy Creek will also be available for open water fishing.
For those that don’t want to slosh through the lingering snow on foot, ATVs and snowmobiles will be allowed on the ice, but cars will not.
The first angler to catch a tagged fish wins the competition’s $5,000 purse, but participants have the chance to win prizes every hour until 3 p.m. for the biggest fish caught. Another prize will be given to the biggest crayfish caught on Saturday.
“There are cash prizes for the tagged fish and hourly prizes, which I think makes it enticing, but people get out there because they love doing it,” said Tara Walker, executive director of the chamber. “It’s great to know that they appreciate (the event) as much as we appreciate them coming up and making the event as successful as it is each year.”
Sitting in the Colorado River Headwaters and at the base of Wolford Mountain, the competition is a great chance to highlight the beauty of Kremmling and emphasize its ties to outdoor recreation, Vanderlinden said.
“It speaks to what Kremmling represents and … how we live in Colorado and the event collectively brings that all together,” she said.
Both Walker and Vanderlinden highlighted the support they receive from locals, including Jeff Miller of Muddy Creek Cabins, who helps set up the hospitality and weighing tents and provides angler expertise when needed.
Walker noted the community aspect of the competition really helps make the event special and unique.
“It’s a really great feeling that (the event) has become an annual tradition for many families,” Walker said. “I think people really enjoy the small-town feel of this event. The community is what makes the event and the people set it apart from other competitions.”
For more information or to register, visit KremmlingChamber.com.