The Boxing Day traditional Steelhead Derby held at the Chilliwack Fish and Game club was celebrating its 75th year. 312 Eager anglers headed out in ideal conditions in pursuit of an early encounter of the elusive Steelhead. This day is in celebration of anglers getting together over the holidays to share their stories of the past and concerns for the future with the aid of Christmas cheer. This event has weathered the years of change with a dedication to keeping this long-standing event going.
The concern from many participants and onlookers is the state of our local fishery. This once prolific run of wild Steelhead has struggled. This year, 312 rods combed the river and only one hatchery fish was weighed in. A 10.66-pound doe caught by Paul Watton. A couple of wild fish were also landed, which is nice to see for sure. Congratulations to Paul winning a $1000 rod and reel donated by Fred's Custom Tackle.
Over the years, a very successful hatchery program has allowed us to continue with a nice balanced augmentation of wild and hatchery fish over-all. However, the big concern is regarding the early fish. Years ago we expected early fish in November and I remember catching a beautiful fish on Oct 18th, one day when I should have been in high school. Those years are gone, now we are hoping to see some fish in mid to the end of December. What can we do about it?
Well, one thing that we need to do is keep the legacy going. Some suggest to push the derby to later in the season, others want to bring things back as they were, and work towards resolving issues that allow fish runs to diminish or disappear.
I know that the Chilliwack Fish and Game club can not do this without some serious effort to address the concerns. Each year, we hope that things are going to improve. The problem is the general trend that is concerning.
Fred's Custom Tackle has been a huge supporter of this event and the Fish and Game Club. We appreciate the years of dedication that go towards raising funds for enhancing our rivers and education of our youth. Thank you to the club.
At Fred's, we believe that it's important to support all efforts to save Steelhead for the future. The time is now, things are getting more critical and challenging. What is needed, is volunteers, co-ordination and collective efforts to fund and lobby for improvements. At Fred's, we are all in. Let's hear from all you dedicated anglers. What can you do to help???
Email us at info@fredscustomtackle,com
All the best for 2020,