The Hardwater Classic returns to Lake Cascade

    The 2017 Hardwater Classic will take place on Lake Cascade January, 28.

    by Joe Evancho IOJ

    CASCADE —The Hardwater Classic ice-fishing tournament will be held on Saturday, January 24th, on Lake Cascade in Cascade, Idaho. Registration for this one-day event includes dinner, an award ceremony and door prizes at the Cascade American Legion hall.

    Cash prizes will be awarded for the top three perch and trout in both adult and youth categories. There will also be special cash prizes for largest junk fish and smallest perch.

    It takes more than two hands to handle some whoppers. Hardwater photo.
    It takes more than two hands to handle some whoppers. Hardwater photo.

    Tournament Director Luke Spaete said the event came about as a way to offer Idaho ice anglers a chance to experience a community orientated tournament. “It gives the anglers a chance to compete for cash, win a door prize and come together afterwards to celebrate the successes of the day over a hot meal,” he said.

    Registration is $25 for adults and $10 for kids 14 and under. All of the registration money is used toward the cash prizes, dinner and rental of the hall so the more people who participate, the larger the cash prizes.

    Registration opens at 6 a.m. at the Cascade American Legion hall. You can pre-register online at http://hardwaterclassic.com/

    The perch of Lake Cascade in Southwest Idaho are big and getting bigger. Hardwater photo.
    The perch of Lake Cascade in Southwest Idaho are big and getting bigger. Hardwater photo.

    “As soon as you punch your registration ticket at the Legion hall you can hit the ice,” Spaete said. “But you need get your official registration number before you can start to fish.”

    The registration number is also the angler’s chance for a door prize and donations by area sponsors last year allowed every participant to receive a prize.

    The rules are simple

    Weigh-in ends at 5 p.m. All anglers must either have their fish weighed and measured or be in line at that time or their fish will not be counted toward the cash prizes.

    Registration ticket stubs are used for the door prizes and you must be present, with your ticket, at the award ceremony to receive a prize. There is also a buy-in raffle to raise money for the Idaho Youth Outdoors ice fishing day.

     

    Anglers of all sizes caught big perch at last year's Hardwater Classic.
    Anglers of all sizes caught big perch at last year’s Hardwater Classic. Hardwater photo.

        From whence he came

    Spaete is from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where he said some summers up there are just six weeks of bad ice fishing. “I really enjoy ice fishing and I got involved with Sean Cluff and the Idaho Youth Outdoors group that sponsors a kid’s free ice fishing day at Horsethief every year,” he said.

    “After I moved to Boise I fished a tournament up here and I thought it lacked the community involvement element I felt back home,” he said.

    Back in Michigan the fishing derbies he attended were social events where friends, neighbors and strangers would fish all day and then meet afterwards for food, drink, conversations and general group shenanigans. “That’s what I wanted to bring to this little tournament,” he said.

    The first year Spaete said they had 60 participant and for the second there were about 110. “This year I hope to have between 150 and 200, depending on the weather,” he said. “When the weather’s warm and the ice isn’t so you good you can lose a lot of fishermen with bad ice.”

    For a greater good

    The Hardwater Classic also supports Idaho Youth Outdoors, Inc., a regional non-profit that hosts an annual youth ice fishing day at Horsethief Reservoir. This year’s youth tournament has been postponed and will take place on January 17. For more information go to: http://idahooutdoorjournal.com/2015/01/06/6th-annual-youth-ice-fishing-day-horsethief-reservoir/

    Once you catch the ice fishing bug, you just don't lose. Young anglers are the future of the sport. Hardwater photo.
    Once you catch the ice fishing bug, you just don’t lose it. Young anglers are the future of the sport. Hardwater photo.

    The youth ice fishing day offers new and experienced anglers and their families an opportunity to experience the joys of ice fishing without the burdens of ice fishing gear, bait or a fishing license because gear, bait and angling advice are provided free of charge by Idaho Fish and Game staff and event sponsors.

    There is no cost for the youth day and participants do not need a fishing license because it’s an education event sanction by Idaho Fish and Game. Last year, despite the weather, an estimated 500 adults and youth attended the event at Horsethief. To learn more about the free fishing day go to the Idaho Youth Outdoors website at http://www.idahoyouthoutdoors.org/

    Spaete said the basic premise for the Hardwater tournament “is an opportunity for like-minded individuals that enjoy ice fishing to get together and support a good cause, and maybe win some money in the process.”

    For more information contact Luke at (208) 391-5348 or hardwaterclassic@gmail.com