Pikeminnow Derby highlights Family Fishing weekend

This year's Cultus Lake Pikeminnow Derby saw 542 anglers who reeled in 728 fish.

Anglers of all ages took part in the annual Cultus Lake Pikeminnow Derby at Main Beach on Saturday. Below

Anglers of all ages took part in the annual Cultus Lake Pikeminnow Derby at Main Beach on Saturday. Below

The 2014 edition of the annual pikeminnow derby held at Cultus Lake was a roaring success.

On Family Fishing weekend throughout B.C., many local families were on the water at daybreak testing their skill and attempting to land the derby winner. When not fishing,  anglers took in several educational displays that dotted the lake’s edge around Main Beach.

The derby was organized for a second year in a row by CLASS (Cultus Lake Aquatic Stewardship Strategy). The Fraser Valley Salmon Society ran it for the eight previous years.

This year’s derby saw less anglers, but they caught more fish. On Saturday, 542 fishers took 728 pikeminnow. Last year’s derby drew 661 people, who collectively landed 560 fish.

By the 2 p.m. deadline the heaviest pikeminnow of the derby was caught by Greg Pinker, hitting the scales at 2.88 pounds.

Cole Rogozinski took second place with a 2.46 pounder.

Dale Doffield and Robert Orr followed, both with 2.08 pounders.

The top junior angler was Aiden Henderson with a 1.92lb entry, earning him the Greg Clark Memorial Trophy.

Jayla Sikkema took second place with a 1.48lb entry. Devon New (1.46lb) and Taylor Blois (1.44lb) were close behind.

In the adult division Peter Buck landed 75 fish to take the award for most fish for the third year in a row. Justin Robert was six fish behind.

James Cunliffe, with 41 pikeminnow, and Beau Diaach, with 34, were in the mix.

Owen Nelson took the most fish in the junior division, reeling in 20 to beat Kayleigh Jeppe by one. Bradley Vanoort hauled in 15 with Emma Rissanen finishing fourth.

One tagged fish from a previous scientific study was landed by Keith Holdsworth, earning him a $100 prize. Lauren Spilsbury from CLASS opened up some of the fish during the derby.

“I was examining the fish to see how healthy they were,” she said. “The health of the lake influences the health of the fish. I did a visual check on their internal organs, looking for anything unusual, which I didn’t find.”

Derby chairman Neil Smith said the event was very rewarding to his committee.

“Families coming together at Cultus Lake is what I saw a lot of,” he said. “Being together at a beautiful place, and the kids and the smiles on their faces were very evident to us all.”

CLASS chairman Marion Robertson echoed Smith’s comments adding, “It was heartwarming to see so many families come out and care for Cultus Lake, to fish for these salmon predators the Northern pikeminnow.”