The Magic Reservoir will soon look like the famous ice-fishing scene from the movie "Grumpy Old Men."
Whether rain, snow or sunshine, come next week you’ll be able to find a number of these savvy sportsmen on Magic Reservoir participating in an ice fishing tournament.
The event is 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 19 and 20.
It’s been several years since Magic held a fishing tournament, said DonHartman, owner of West Magic Resort. He decided to restart it as a way to promote fishing in south-central Idaho. It’s one of the few times a year, he said, when the reservoir looks like a scene out of the movie “Grumpy Old Men.”
“What the heck,” Hartman said about his decision to restart the tournament. “As long as it took for the reservoir to freeze this year, everybody has cabin fever.”
The tournament will be a good way to help cure them of that, he said.
Anglers may participate in two categories for perch and trout: longest and heaviest, Hartman said. Not quantity. Cash prizes will be awarded and, if they wish, anglers can donate their catch to a fish fry held Sunday afternoon.
Anglers also will be able to learn from representatives of Sportsman’s Warehouse and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, who’ll be on hand to give tips about ice safety and fishing techniques.
Doug Megargle, regional fisheries manager for Fish and Game, said since Hartman had planned the fishing tournament it was a good time for the department to hold a concurrent event.
“It’s a unique opportunity to come out and have a good time,” he said. “We’re going to be up there helping new anglers.”
Scott Stanton, regional fisheries biologist, will be available from 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 19. An auger and a limited number of fishing rods will be available to beginners who might need them, he said.
“I’ll be there to give people a hand and do some ice fishing,” Stanton said.
Season in review
Mother Nature, having sent snow and cold temperatures throughout the season followed by periods of warm weather, has done little to spark good ice fishing this year.
“Ice fishing in general has been struggling this year,” Megargle said, noting that above-freezing temperatures have made it difficult for anglers to access the ice.
“What happens is that the shoreline tends to open up,” he said.
Fishing has been decent in at least a few places. Salmon Falls and Lake Walcott, in particular, have been doing well.
“We’ve watched the snowpack drop slowly because we haven’t gotten a whole lot of big precipitation storms in the mountains since early season,” Megargle said. “We’d love to see more snow in the mountains.”
Magic, which didn’t freeze until New Year’s Day, has been doing better than usual for trout, with perch picking up in the narrows. Hartman said he expects good fishing through the month.
Weekends at the reservoir have been busy lately as anglers and their shanties dot the icy surface.
“It’s starting to look like ‘Grumpy Old Men’ out there,” Hartman quipped.
Andrew Weeks may be reached at 735-3233 or email@example.com.