SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As eastern KELOLAND experiences its first taste of winter weather, local anglers are eagerly awaiting the return of ice fishing. Despite a current lack of ice, sportsmen are getting their fishing fix at the Sioux Falls Arena and Convention Center.
The Dakota Angler Ice Institute is one of the largest ice fishing shows in the nation.
“It was really developed as a way to sell people product, the latest and greatest in ice fishing, but also teach them how to use it and that’s why the name is called the Ice Institute,” Dakota Angler Owner Todd Heitkamp said.
More than 100 vendors will be on hand showcasing everything from jigs to rod & reel combos to underwater cameras.
“These are the people that are going to be down here this weekend to show you really what they have to offer, why you need to buy it, why it makes your next adventure on the ice a more successful one,” Heitkamp said.
“It’s good to show them stuff, show them what’s new, show them what’s working, help them with their ice fishing questions and get them ready for ice fishing season,” Clam Outdoors Pro Staff Director Matt Johnson said.
Matt Johnson is the Pro Staff Director at Clam Outdoors and says he’s always looking to push the bar.
“You’re going to see all kinds of new stuff in shelters, configurations, quality of materials. You’re going to see a lot of new rods & reels, the tackle is outstanding, you can try some of it. We’re going to have three jig tanks, people can jig and see the lures for themselves,” Johnson said.
“It’s no longer the Grumpy Old Men type of thing, sitting on a bucket, trying to stay warm. There’s clothing now and shelters to help you stay warm and so the technology and comfortability, if I can use that term, has really come a long ways,” Heitkamp said.
Heitkamp hopes to see at least 5,000 people and a lot of smiling faces.
“This show is being developed for them, for the people, to come out and enjoy themselves and have a good time,” Heitkamp said.
Stop by the KELOLAND Media Group booth at the Ice Institute for your chance to win an ice fishing prize package.
Click HERE for an event and seminar schedule.