Hundreds of participants made it to the annual Pikeminnow Fishing Derby at Cultus Lake on Saturday, held in conjunction with the 14th annual BC Family Fishing Weekend.
A total of 711 derby contestants found ideal fishing conditions, with sunny skies and calm waters at Cultus Lake from the daybreak until weigh-in at 2 p.m.
Educational displays dotted Main Beach for the popular event, attracting large crowds.
Cash prizes were handed out for the four largest fish and for the four most northern pikeminnows caught in both junior and adult divisions. There were prizes as well as cash for the smallest fish, six mystery weights along with about 90 random draws for those that caught fish and for those that had just brought derby tickets.
Also there were several specially tagged pikeminows from FVSS swimming in the lake and anyone landing one would be awarded $100.
The reins of the derby are now in the hands of Cultus Lake Aquatic Stewardship Strategy (CLASS) who took over from the Fraser Valley Salmon Society after years of service. The FVSS members still conduct the weigh-in of the pikeminnow at the derby.
At closing time, 560 pikeminnows had been landed with junior angler Ethan Zhu taking home the Greg Clarke Memorial Trophy for his .78kg pikeminnow that turned out to be the heaviest one caught. Kassidy Nienhuis was in second with a .69kg entry. Cole Rocozinski with a .76kg fish topped the adult division just edging out Dick Devries who landed a .75kg entry.
The father/son team of Peter and Tyler Buck again this year ran one/two in the most fish category, as Tyler edged his dad 52 to 48. Beau Diack also landed 48 but was awarded third place as Peter entered his 48 pikeminnows first.
Karena Williams landed the most fish in the junior division entering 25 with Owen Nelson in second with 22.
Lindsay Alsop caught the smallest pikeminnow measuring 83 mm.
Out of the 560 pikeminows entered, four were sporting tags that included one specially tagged fish along with three Fisheries and Oceans tags that have been put on fish for a few years as part of a population study of pikeminnows in Cultus Lake.
CLASS member Owen Skonberg, and one of the derby organizers said he thought the transition went very well.
“As first-time derby organizers, we were amazed at the extent of the support for this event; we only had to mention Cultus and Conservation together, and prizes or services were immediately offered by businesses, exhibitors, or individuals.
“It’s obvious that everyone loves Cultus and cares about keeping it alive and clean for future generations. It was a fun day for families, including ours.”
David Lamson, also with CLASS added “a great day for everyone, the lake and weather were beautiful, removing excess pikeminnows from the lake gives a better chance for sockeye fry to survive without predation; good sportsmanship shown by everyone for a good time together; and wonderful volunteer help and donated prizes to top off the day.”