A total of $2,400 in cash prizes is in the offing for pikeminnow derby participants. (Jenna Hauck/Progress file)

Pikeminnow derby kicks off at dawn Saturday

Cultus Lake Main Beach is the site and it coincides with the B.C. Family Fishing Weekend

The Lions Pikeminnow Derby at Cultus Lake on Saturday, June 15, coincides with the 20th anniversary BC Family Fishing Weekend.

That means no fishing licence required.

It’s a perfect time to gather at Main Beach at Cultus for a community fishing celebration, with derby registration starting on Main Beach at 5 a.m. on Saturday.

Robert Prinse, the Pikeminnow Derby chair, said the Lions Clubs in the area took over organization of the popular fishing event about three years ago.

“By entering the derby, you’ll be helping to control the population of pikeminnow, which is a predator of young sockeye and other fish in the lake,” Prinse said.

There is a total of $2,400 in cash prizes in the offing for participants in different categories.

“This is a fun event for everyone in the family — kids especially,” according to organizers.

Leave a few minutes to peruse the community booths on the beach as well. Fish weigh-in starts at noon, and the derby ends at 2 p.m.

The boat launches will be open, or folks can fish from from the dock or from shore.

There is also a conservation angle to the event since the Northern Pikeminnow are known to target the endangered Cultus Lake sockeye fry.

The BC Family Fishing Weekend has become a staple Father’s Day weekend tradition in communities across B.C. with events June 14 – 16 with seven events on the Lower Mainland, including Cultus Lake.

The events combine fishing, learning and socializing for an estimated 40,000 participants who range from avid anglers to those trying the outdoor sport for the first time.

The fishing events are free, with hands-on instruction available to interested participants.

Fishing licence requirements are waived for the weekend, meaning Canadian residents can fish licence-free over the three days, although some requirements remain in effect. Details are posted on the BC Family Fishing website and the Fisheries and Oceans website.

“We are excited to see the growth of these events and how they have evolved into a fundamental family tradition in many communities,” says Cam Aronetz, Family Fishing Society President. “We would love to see fishing with Dad on Father’s Day become the equivalent of Mother’s Day brunch with Mom.”

Parking is free in lot A before 9 am. Derby tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for anyone under 16.

Pikeminnow derby tickets are on sale at Chilliwack Dart and Tackle, Cultus Lake Golf Course, Fred’s Custom Tackle in both Chilliwack and Abbotsford, Mt. Waddington’s Outdoors and Kent Outdoors.

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