Rules, Terms, and Conditions

Tournament participants indicate their agreement with all rules, regulations, and conditions via the checkout process and associated disclaimer(s) (1 angler may act as a proxy for the “team” if both team members agree to such). All tournament participants must read and verify a full and unconditional understanding of the rules laid out in this document. This indication must also occur via each angler’s signature (or e-signature) on the release of liability before they are eligible for competition. Tournament rules and the liability release are available online. Anglers must sign (or e-sign) the designated liability waiver and rule acknowledgment form at least once per calendar year. Tournament participants under the age of 18 must have the consent and signature of a legal parent/guardian in order to participate in any Northwoods Team Trail tournament. 

All contestants must pre-pay in FULL no later than Wednesday (at midnight) prior to the event. Each tournament is a first come first served format. No on-site dues will be accepted. No checks will be allowed. The only way to sign up for our events is online.

There is a 25 boat maximum for each tournament.

This is a team tournament trail. Each tournament will have an entry fee of $25 (per angler; $50/boat) as well as a $10 club fee (per boat) per event. Anglers may fish solo as long as they pay the “absent” angler’s entry fee. The club fee is applied towards items/actions deemed appropriate by the tournament director(s) including but not limited to: the purchase of food and/or drink refreshments after a tournament (for all participating anglers. Must be 21+ years of age to consume alcohol), tournament-designated equipment or equipment replacements/repairs, digital payment transaction fees (such as PayPal) and other costs associated with operating the tournament trail. Consequently, the total cost for each individual event is $60 per team. The entry fee and club fee are required to be paid together ($60 total) for each individual event no later than the Wednesday (at midnight) prior to the contest. 

A small percentage of the total entry fee is paid to PayPal as a transaction fee for the use of their payment platform. Payouts for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place as well as the Big Bass winner will not be 100% payback to anglers. In the event of a qualifying refund, teams will be refunded the total entry fee amount ($60)  less PayPal transaction fees. PayPal has recently (October 2019) changed their refund policy for goods and services. The transaction fee is no longer included in any refund. We apologize for any inconvenience in regards to refunds. 

Payout structure will be 50% (1st), 30% (2nd), 10% (3rd), 10% (Big Bass) for every tournament. Payouts at these rates will be based on $50/boat multiplied by the number of boats fishing that event.

The team that brings in the biggest bass (in pounds) will win the Big Bass prize. This is included in the total $60 entry fee and does not cost teams extra to participate for the Big Bass prize. In the event of a tie, the Big Bass Pot will be split accordingly.  

Additional prizes may be administered to contestants at the discretion of the tournament directors.

Tournament hours will be 6am-1pm unless specified otherwise by the tournament director(s). Tournaments later in the year (typically after September 1) may operate from 7 AM – 2 PM. Make sure you know the exact hours of competition before entering a tournament.

All boats must be checked in (in the launch ramp parking lot, at minimum) at the designated launch point no later than 20 minutes prior to the scheduled take-off time. 20 minutes prior to take-off is the default, however, the tournament directors may require you to be earlier. If boaters are not present by this time, they will not be eligible to participate and their respective entry fees will be automatically forfeited. This rule will be enforced at the discretion of the tournament directors and extenuating circumstances may or may not be considered. Play it safe. Early is on-time and on-time is late (or so the saying goes).

Boats will be checked by the tournament director(s) prior to take-off. This includes but is not limited to: livewells, lockers, storage containers, tackle boxes, etc. If an angler or team chooses not to comply with this search, his/her team may be instantly disqualified and their entry fee will be forfeited.

No pre-fishing is allowed on tournament designated waters 24 hours from the start of each tournament. Allegations of a team breaking this rule may be enough for disqualification. (IE: “I was fishing for *insert other fish species here*!” won’t cut it). We recommend playing it safe and not being on the designated tournament waters 24 hours prior to the event for any reason.

No live bait is allowed.

All state and federal boating laws apply.

5 fish limit with a 12-inch minimum. Largemouth and Smallmouth only. The winner is determined by the total weight (in pounds) of (up to) 5 qualifying fish brought to the scale. Tiebreakers are decided by big bass. With the occurrence of a tie, the contestants will split the pot.

Boats must have an aerated livewell and working navigation lights.

Big bass must be identified by a member of the respective fishing team using the provided Big Fish tag. Tournament directors will NOT choose big bass for any team. Failure to identify a big bass will result in the loss of the team’s ability to win the big bass pot or win a tie-breaker.

Any petitions will be assessed by the tournament directors and they will make a ruling about the said petition. All petitions must be stated before weigh-in has concluded. All decisions are final and at the complete discretion of the tournament directors. All competitors must abide by the ruling(s) of tournament officials.

Boat draw will be determined before each event at random. Competitors will be informed of their boat draw number no later than the morning of the tournament.

Dead fish penalties will be given at -8 oz per dead fish. This WILL be enforced, so keep your fish alive! Dead fish rulings by officials are final and non-disputable.

Releasing of fish must be done with proper care. We are all sportsmen here. There will be no out of the water bag dumps or walking away from belly up fish. Penalties (minimum of and not limited to 8oz/offense) will be given if any mishandling is witnessed.

Substitutes are allowed for any tournament. All substitutes must also sign the rules and liability waiver acknowledgment. If a substitute is not able to be found the competitor will be allowed to fish alone. The angler also retains the right to decide not to fish and will receive a refund if the tournament directors are notified at least 48-hours in advance.

Questionable weather will be assessed at the discretion of the tournament directors. Tournament directors will make a decision whether or not to proceed with the tournament. All decisions are final. In the event of a canceled tournament due to weather, refunds (less PayPal fees) will be given to all competitors of that event that paid prior to the event, unless otherwise specified. If anglers feel unsafe on the water due to hazardous weather conditions, the team(s) can opt-out of the tournament. Refunds will be at the complete discretion of the tournament directors in these circumstances.

All boats must be off plane and within a reasonable distance of the boat access at the end of the tournament hours. Boats arriving at the respective access later than the respective weigh-in time will be penalized at a rate of 8 OZ per minute. 

The tournament directors have the final say in all matters regarding the operation of the Northwoods Team Trail. The enforcement and revision of these rules at any time without notice is at the complete discretion of the tournament director(s). All decisions are final. 
For any questions, comments, or concerns, please email