Kremmling: Ice fishing contest brings annual family reunion |

Kremmling: Ice fishing contest brings annual family reunion

Katie Looby
Kremmling, Colorado

For the past decade, Kremmling’s Jim and Linda Mahon have invited family and friends to their home to fish, play games, and take part in cooking contests the weekend of the Annual Wolford Mountain Reservoir Ice Fishing Tournament.

“We just have a good time all day,” Linda Mahon said. “It’s just a big family event.”

They live near the reservoir where the contest is held, so those who are not fishing can walk to Wolford to check out how the contest. Though they always enjoy the day, no one in the family has caught a prize winning fish. Still, every year they try.

“We’re always hopeful that one of these days they’re going to catch a fish big enough to qualify for a prize,” Linda Mahon said. “They always give they’re best shot.”

Even though she has participated in the fishing before, she enjoys spending time with family and grandchildren more than getting out on the ice.

“I don’t like being cold anymore,” she said.

While the guys fish, the women play Mahjongg, a Chinese gambling game, and some of the men who don’t fish take the kids sledding.

Once the fishing contest is over, they drink wine and have a cooking contest. This year, they will cook and judge meatballs.

A poker tournament rounds out the night.

Linda Mahon comes from a large family, and estimates that 20 to 40 guests usually take part in the activities each year. The children range from ages 3 to 14.

The whole groups stays at the Mahon house.

“We pile them in on the floor and closets ” they just get piled everywhere,” she said.

“There’s a lot of talking. It’s total chaos and It’s just so much fun. I have the best family in the world; everyone gets a long.”

Anglers will compete for $5,000 in cash prizes at the 12th Annual Wolford Mountain Reservoir Ice Fishing Tournament on Feb. 14, and a lucky competitor could catch a $12,000 tagged fish.

The Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the event. Children and women are encouraged to come out on the ice. Spouses may also spend their Valentine’s Day getting a massage or eating out at any of the town’s businesses.

Participants in the top 10 places for largest fish also will receive cash prizes.

Fishin’ Hole owners Dan and Deb Murphy will provide 10 trophies for the children who come in the top 10 places, door prizes for adults and eight hourly prizes, according to Dan Murphy.

The growing event attracted more than 600 anglers last year, an increase of 100 from the previous year.

Wolford Mountain Reservoir is located six miles North of Kremmling on U.S. Highway 40. People can drive an ATV or snowmobile on the frozen reservoir. Hole drilling starts at 7 a.m., and a flare will fire to kickoff the event. Fishing is open until 3 p.m.

Types of fish include: rainbow trout, brown trout, splake, cutbow trout, and kokanee salmon. If anyone catches a northern pike, a predatory fish that eats other fish from the lake, the Division of Wildlife will want to confiscate the bones.

Placing for prizes is based on length and girth of game fish caught by registered competitors during the hours of the contest. Only live fish will be measured, and all Colorado fishing rules apply.

Prizes will be distributed at 4:30 p.m. on the back stage of the Visitor Center in the Kremmling Town Square the day of the contest. Fishing licenses and entry forms will be checked before distributing prize money.

Registration costs $35, and children are free. They will receive goodie bags when they bring in a fish to get measured. However, children may enter as an adult by paying the registration fee and eligible to win adult and cash prizes.

A credit card registration form is available at; or to print a registration visit Participants may also register the day of the contest at the Fishin’ Hole in Kremmling or at the Judging Tent on Wolford Mountain Reservoir, beginning at 6 a.m.

Event sponsors include: Fishin’ Hole, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Water Conservation District, Alacer Corp., the makers of Emergen-C, Grand Fence in Kremmling, and Kremmling Area Chamber of Commerce.

Volunteers are needed and should contact the Chamber at (970) 724-3472 for more information.

” Katie Looby covers government and education for the Sky-Hi Daily News. You may reach her at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or

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