Tag Archives: fishing derby

Northwest Fishing Derbies Contracting, Expanding With Times

As organizers of a Thanksgiving-week-long steelhead derby are cancelling their event, fishing for different species is being added to a salmon series.

Signs of the times?

“We do think the inconsistency of the fish counts has had an impact on that,” Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director Kristin Kemak reportedly said about a recent decision to call off the Snake Clearwater Steelhead Derby, apparently for good.

DURING MUCH BETTER TIMES FOR BIG B-RUN STEELHEAD, INLAND NORTHWEST ANGLERS FLOCKED TO LEWISTON TO FISH IN THE THANKSGIVING-WEEK-LONG DERBY. (BRIAN LULL)

At one time, the event was billed as the “nation’s largest steelhead derby” and it attracted anglers from wide and far to catch B-runs that pushed towards the 20-pound mark.

“It was once a major fundraiser. Now the efforts we put in to host the event outweigh the financial benefit of doing so,” Kemak also said, according to Eric Barker of the Lewiston Tribune who broke the news.

TABLES AWAIT PARTICIPANTS IN 2013’S SNAKE CLEARWATER STEELHEAD DERBY, WHEN IT WAS SPONSORED BY A LEWISTON CHEVROLET DEALER. (BRIAN LULL)

Recent years have been tough on the event due to poor returns of steelhead up the Snake. That’s led managers to institute bag limit reductions, closures, reopeners, and 28-inch maximums to protect B-runs, typically larger than A-runs, which only spend a year in the salt.

This season there’s a blanket closure on all fishing for steelhead — even catch-and-release — on the Clearwater and Washington and Idaho’s Snake up to the Couse Creek boat launch in Hells Canyon. The B return is forecast to come in at just 4,500, including 1,700 unclipped fish, and is the lowest on record back through at least 1984, with less returning than hatchery broodstock goals and “no surplus to provide a fishery,” per IDFG.

Above Couse Creek the limit is one hatchery fish a day, 28 inches or less, with anglers required to stop after retaining it or a fall Chinook.

BRENDA BONFIELD OF CUSTOMWELD SPEAKS DURING 2013’S DERBY CEREMONIES. A POSTER BEHIND HER DESCRIBES THE DERBY AS THE “NATION’S LARGEST” FOR STEELHEAD. (BRIAN LULL)

The chamber of commerce instead plans to hold an outdoor cookoff on Saturday, Nov. 16, according to Barker.

Meanwhile, the Northwest Salmon Derby Series announced some “big news” yesterday, including a substantial expansion into the Beaver State.

We’re hitting the refresh button on 2020 series and it will be renamed the ‘Northwest Fishing Derby Series’ that will likely include a spring-time lingcod derby in Oregon and a kokanee-trout derby on Lake Chelan, plus a couple more additions,” Mark Yuasa of the Seattle-based Northwest Marine Trade Association wrote in his monthly newsletter.

Next year’s schedule already lists a pair of late March lingcod and rockfish derbies out of Charleston and Brookings, as well as the recently rejuvenated Slam’n Salmon Derby in the latter port.

The dozen and a half or so events in the series are typically run by local clubs, but entry into any one automatically puts your name in the hat for the derby series’ grand prize, a brand-new boat, with Yuasa announcing that 2020’s will be a KingFisher 2025 Hardtop.

The winner is traditionally drawn at the late September Everett Coho Derby and this year’s $75,000 boat-trailer-electronics package was won by Trevor Everitt.

The series, of which Northwest Sportsman is a sponsor, has also been victim to uncertain runs in recent years, with local sponsors having to call off the Edmonds and Everett events due to coho closures, and organizers of the Brewster derby unsure they could hold theirs — until nearly the last minute in the case of this year.

For those local fishing clubs, it hurts to lose key fundraisers.

With low fall Chinook runs expected on the Oregon Coast, the U Da Man Fishing Tournament decided to cancel their October salmon derby on Yaquina Bay back in June instead of pressure the run, even as doing so would “severely” deplete the organization’s funds to do other fish-friendly projects.

UDM still plans to raffle off a drift boat to try and raise money for those.

Undoubtedly as salmon and steelhead runs come out of the current downcycle, derbies will expand and new ones will come online, but for the moment, some are falling by the wayside while others are looking to embrace other species.

6th Annual King Of The Reach Derby Coming Up Oct. 26-28

With 10 million-plus fertilized fall Chinook eggs to their credit so far, salmon anglers, state fishery managers and a public utility district will build on their success later this month when the 6th Annual King of the Reach kicks off.

THE OSTROMS — THOR, KARL AND JACOB — WON THE SECOND ANNUAL KINGS OF THE REACH DERBY IN 2013 WITH THIS AND 51 OTHER FALL CHINOOK CAUGHT IN THE HANFORD REACH. (THOR OSTROM)

The Oct. 26-28 live-capture fishing derby collects wild upriver brights for the Grant County Public Utility District’s Priest Rapids Hatchery, improving the stock’s fitness and ensuring that hatchery fish remain genetically similar to the natives in the Hanford Reach.

Coastal Conservation Association Washington’s Tri-Cities Chapter coordinates participation, and compared to regular fishing opportunities, the event has some interesting regulations to be aware of.

It’s held after the Hanford Reach closes for the season — likely to occur sometime next week — no fishing license is required and two-poling’s OK without the endorsement. Barbless hooks must be used, though.

Participants are encouraged to preregister with CCA or on-site, and all anglers are required to register with WDFW as volunteers each day before they fish.

Boat captains need fish transporting permits plus a way to haul the salmon to the Vernita Bridge or White Bluffs launches, either in a livewell or a big cooler with a pump. After all, the goal is to get them to the hatchery alive. According to CCA, there was less than 2 percent mortality among the 511 kings brought in in 2017.

WDFW’s Paul Hoffarth, who is the brains behind the event, says that anglers have brought in a total of 2,111 fall kings, including 1,034 bucks and 1,077 hens, since the first King of the Reach was held in 2012.

Fishing effort has increased annually, from 598 angler hours that first year to 2,722 in 2017, his data shows.

While some numbers from last year have yet to be crunched, derby fish have resulted in 25 percent of the hatchery’s production having at least one natural-origin parent.

Hoffarth says that even with this year’s lower return — 38,357 based on a Sept. 30 estimate — escapement (the number of spawners) should exceeded the goal of 31,100 natural-origin adult kings.

Entry in the derby is $25 for the day or the weekend (youths age 17 or under are $15). Refreshments will be provided and prizes will be awarded to participants for the most live salmon turned in per boat per day, and for the entire event.

Last year Justin Sprengel turned in the most kings, 37.

Random prizes will be awarded as well.

Derby entries are available online at ccawashington.org/KingoftheReach and Grigg’s in Pasco, and Ranch and Home and Sportsman’s Warehouse in Kennewick.

Registration On For Lipstick Salmon Slayers Tournament At Buoy 10

Lady anglers will be fishing for a good cause next month at Buoy 10 and nearby ocean waters at the first annual Lipstick Salmon Slayers Tournament, benefiting the American Heart Association.

The Lipstick Salmon Slayers Tournament is being organized by Weddy Stephens and Megan Waltosz. (DEL STEPHENS)

Named after the monicker Del “Tuna Dog” Stephens gave them after a particularly good day of fishing, the event’s headed up by Weddy Stephens and Megan Waltosz.

They hope to simultaneously get more female anglers on the water while also bringing attention to the fact heart disease is the leading killer of women.

“So let’s fish together and improve the lives of all women!” the duo says.

The event will be held Saturday, Aug. 18, out of Astoria, rain or shine.

Tickets are $125 and the deadline to register is July 31.

While anglers can fish with their husband, brother, uncle, grandfather, nephew or other male relatives and/or a guide, it is a ladies-only derby.

Top prizes of $4,000, $2,000 and $1,000 in cash will go to the fishermen with the three fish closest to predetermined weights between 10 and 45 pounds.

Following weigh-in between 2 and 5 p.m., the awards dinner at the Astoria Amory begins at 6.

For more info, see lipsticksalmonslayer.com.

Wooldridge Girls Go All In (And Then Some!) At Angle Lake Derby

Editor’s note: The following was photographed, written and submitted by Grant Wooldridge.

By Grant Wooldridge

My four young gun girls are continuing strong in the local trout circuit! Pictured are my four daughters, named Avey (7), Anna (5), Kirsten (4) and Lily (2). The oldest three fished and won 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for girls under 8 years old at the annual Angle Lake Shore Club Fishing Derby!

THE WOOLDRIDGE FAMILY FISHERS — AVEY, ANNA, KIRSTEN, MOM ANGIE AND YOUNGSTER LILY — WERE ALL IN (AND THEN SOME!) DURING THE ANNUAL ANGLE LAKE SHORE CLUB FISHING DERBY, HELD APRIL 22 ON THE LAKE NEAR SEATAC AIRPORT SOUTH OF SEATTLE. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

We woke up before dawn on Sunday April 22nd. I cooked up some breakfast for the kids and off we headed to our boat. I had been building this up for a few weeks and the girls were excited, as Avey and Kirsten had won 1st and 2nd place last year in their first derby.

KIRSTEN AND DAD GRANT WOOLDRIDGE SHOW OFF A RAINBOW. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

Before last year it had been over 30 years since I had fished this local fishing derby as a kid and now the excitement was renewed with little ones of my own. The goal today was to make fishing fun so that I had some fishing pals for the future. I figured it wasn’t raining, so we were off to a good start anyway.

BEST WAY TO LURE KIDDOS ONTO THE BOAT? CANDY! IN THIS CASE, SWEDISH FISH FOR THE LI’L ANGLERS. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

We set off trolling our way to the sign-up dock with a simple split shot, swivel, leader and red Wedding Ring set-up. We had a few rigs tied up with a Ford Fender flasher as well. We used cut nightcrawlers, a little PowerBait and some pink maggots that Avey picked out.

AVEY AND ANNA HOIST A NICE PAIR OF TROUT. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

This actually brought us great results as the day went on. As luck (read that as skill) would have it, Avey had the largest fish of the day (13 inches) after the first pass. She just lost out for the derby’s largest by one larger fish! Pretty good for 7 years old.

THE GIRLS POSE WITH THE DAY’S CATCH, FOUR LIMITS. NOT INCLUDED IN THE PIC IS LILY, WHO NEEDED TO BE FISHED OUT OF THE LAKE DURING A HECTIC DOUBLE HOOK-UP SANS NET. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

Now I made sure we had plenty of good eats necessary for successful fishing trips with kids including Swedish Fish, gummy worms and some sparkling sodas. This certainly magnified what was already a quality father and daughter(s) experience. These little ladies proceeded to limit out before the derby count was due!

BACK AT THE DOCK, ANNA DISPLAYS A GOOD RAINBOW. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

The girls were having a blast! I was having the girls do the netting for their sisters, which ended up losing us the net but made for good experience.

AVEY’S 13-INCHER WAS THE SECOND LONGEST CAUGHT DURING THE DERBY. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

Of course once we were without the net, we proceeded to get a double going. My beautiful wife Angie and I were helping the attempt to get two fish in the boat at the same time without a net when we heard a larger splash – there goes my 2-year-old floating past the boat! I swooped her up as fast as a lightning bolt, and most importantly we landed both fish. Good lesson in having the little ones always wear their PFDs.

WITH THEIR DAD’S SUPER-FISHY 20-FOOT ALASKAN XL IN THE BACKGROUND, THE WOOLDRIDGE GIRLS LINE THEIR CATCH UP BACK AT THE DOCK. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

Once back at the derby location, we measured our catch and were entered into the catch record for the day. The girls won 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their age class and actually would have done well in any age class with their decent catch. Sure enough, we went home with prizes of kites, goodies and beach toys.

QUITE A HAUL FOR THE WOOLDRIDGE GIRLS! AVEY, ANNA AND KIRSTEN PLACED 1-2-3 IN THE UNDER-EIGHT GIRLS COMPETITION. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

What a great day on the water fishing out of the very awesome but a tad overkill Wooldridge 20’ Alaskan XL. A huge thank you to all those at the Angle Lake Shore Club who put on such a great event.

Editor’s note: Grant is the vice president of our longtime backpage advertiser, Wooldridge Boats.

Fishing Derby Brings Back Memories, Makes New Ones For Dad, Daughters

Editor’s note: The following was photographed, written and submitted by Grant Wooldridge.

By Grant Wooldridge

Look out, April Vokey! My two young gun girls are starting strong in the local trout circuit!

KIRSTEN AND AVEY WOOLDRIDGE SHOW OFF THE RAINBOW TROUT THEY CAUGHT AT ANGLE LAKE, NEAR SEATAC AIRPORT SOUTH OF SEATTLE. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

Pictured are my first- and third-born daughters, Avey and Kirsten. Avey is the oldest at 6 years old, and Kirsten is three. They won 1st and 2nd place for girls under 8 years old at the annual Angle Lake Shore Club fishing derby last weekend!

DAD GRANT WOOLDRIDGE SMILES WHILE HOLDING HIS DAUGHTERS’ CATCH, GOOD ENOUGH TO TAKE FIRST AND SECOND IN THE UNDER-EIGHT AGE GROUP. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

We woke up before dawn on Sunday, April 30. I fried up some eggs and cooked up some hot cereal for the kids. I had been building this up for a few weeks and the girls were excited. It had been over 30 years since I had fished this local fishing derby as a kid and now the excitement was renewed with little ones of my own.

The goal was to make fishing fun so that I had some fishing pals for the future. I figured it wasn’t raining, so we were off to a good start anyway.

We set off trolling our way to the sign-up dock with a simple split shot, swivel, leader and red Wedding Ring set-up.  We had a few rigs tied up with a Ford Fender flasher as well. We used cut nightcrawlers, a little PowerBait and some pink maggots that Avey picked out.

AVEY REELS ONE IN AS HER DAD KEEPS AN EYE ON THE FISH. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

This actually brought us great results as the day went on.  As luck (read that as skill) would have it, we had two trout in the box by the time we made it over to the sign-up location.

When we arrived, a bonfire, hot cocoa and doughnuts were waiting for us! This certainly magnified what was already a quality father-and-daughter(s) experience.

But even with the fun, festivities and chocolate stinkin’ doughnuts, my little fish-magnet girls were anxious to get back on the water for more stocker trout action!

WITH HER GRANDFATHER GLEN WOOLDRIDGE ON THE NET, AVEY SUCCESSFULLY BRINGS ANOTHER RAINBOW TO HAND. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

They proceeded to boat seven more fish in short order! The girls were having a blast!! Before we reached the halfway point of the morning, Avey and Kirsten were already making plans with pops to fish in the derby again next year.

GRANDPA AND GRANDDAUGHTER GLOW WITH THE REWARD FOR GOOD TEAMWORK. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

Once back at the derby location, we measured our catch and were entered into the catch record for the day. Sure enough, we went home with prizes of hula-hoops, jump ropes and beach toys.

What a great day on the water, fishing out of the very awesome but a tad overkill Wooldridge 21’ XP.

GRANT HAS SURELY HOOKED SOME YOUNG FISHERGIRLS ON ANGLING AFTER A SUCCESSFUL TRIP OUT ON ANGLE LAKE THAT NOT ONLY YIELDED A GREAT CATCH, BUT PRIZES TOO FOR KIRSTEN AND AVEY. (GRANT WOOLDRIDGE)

Editor’s note: Grant is the vice president of our longtime backpage advertisers, Wooldridge Boats.