12th Annual Elk Lake Take a Kid Fishing Derby

The 12th annual “Elk Lake Take a Kid Fishing Derby” was held April 14th, 2018. It was the largest turn out ever in the derby’s history with 306 adults and 85 juniors entered. There were plenty of fish weighed in and the weather was mild with overcast, and a gentle breeze. With plenty of prizes for all the junior anglers, there were beaming young faces everywhere; it was enough to melt your heart. Thanks to the sponsors, each junior received a prize pack and a rod or net. How exciting!

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The history of the derby goes back 14 years to when the Victoria Fish & Game Protective Association started a family fishing day at Elk Lake. Island Outfitters was a major sponsor and participant and when the Fish and Game club decided not to put on the event after its second year, Island Outfitters seized the opportunity to start the derby. Getting kids and families out for a day of fishing, and introducing young people to the sport of fishing has always been the main object of the derby. It’s great to see a derby like this that encourages the next generation of anglers to put down the electronics and connect with nature. And by the number of junior anglers that participated, it is evident there is a solid future for our sport—at least here on Vancouver Island.

There was a total of 80 trout weighed in on Saturday, making it a very busy day for people on the weigh-in boats strategically placed around the lake. Congratulations and honours went to Bob Johnson who caught the largest trout on a green Carey Special fly. At 3 lbs 1 oz, he walked with the $1,000 1st place prize. The largest trout caught by a junior was a 2 lbs 9 oz rainbow caught by Ethan Buyne. Well done, Ethan!

Top 5 Trout Prize Winners

1st       Bob Johnson – 3 lbs 01 oz
2nd     Rick Cohen – 2 lbs 9 oz (10:29 am)
3rd      Ethan Buyne (Junior!) – 2 lbs 9 oz (2:47 pm)
4th      Mason Richman (Junior!) – 2 lbs 3 oz
5th      Rob Rouchard – 2 lbs 2 oz

The bass competition was really quite close—within ounces over the 40 weighed in. Most of the largest bass were of the largemouth species but some impressive smallmouth were caught as well. Andrew Grant took home 1st place and a $1,000 cheque with a 7 lbs 2 oz largemouth from Beaver Lake. The top junior bass was weighed in at 5 lbs 4 oz by Nick Robbins.

Top 5 Bass Prize Winners

1st       Andrew Grant – 7 lbs 2 oz
2nd     Nolan Barron – 6 lbs 15 oz
3rd      Chris Remple – 6 lbs 12 oz
4th      Drew Mackie – 6 lbs 0 oz
5th      Cody Cliffard – 5 lbs 15 oz

The top two junior anglers, Nick and Ethan, also received a special prize—a Victoria salmon or halibut fishing charter with Island Outfitters for themselves and a guest. How sweet is that?

There were also a few carp weighed as incidental catches. The first was weighed in by myself, Tom Vaida, at 5 lbs and was caught on a fly. The second was weighed in at 6 lbs 6 oz by Kaitlyn Gear, a junior angler. This was Kaitlyn’s first big fish that she had ever caught. Way to go, Kaitlyn!

Although there were many great prizes for catch and by lottery, the pinnacle is, of course, the grand draw prize. This year, a 12′ Lowe aluminium boat and a 6 HP Yamaha outboard motor package went to Russell Cote, thanks to Yamaha, and SG Power.

Congratulations to everyone who weighed in a fish in the derby! We hope to see you all again next year!

For a list of upcoming derbies on Vancouver Island, be sure to check out Island Fisherman’s event list, here.

—Tom

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