Special Message from Fred (03.27.21)
This year's Steelhead season was certainly an interesting one. Lots of fishermen out due to COVID which helped out with our Wally Hall Jr Memorial Steelhead Derby annual fundraising efforts. This is year 21 with registered participants in the annual derby totalling 865 for the annual, 300 on Boxing Day, and 224 in the special draws. The total amount raised for the Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition to do habitat restoration projects is $27,800.00. We originally set a goal of 15K and then upped the goal because of Boxing Day to 20K.
It is inspiring that so many anglers wanted to help our fundraising initiatives this year. Thank you to each and every one of you that opened the wallet for this great cause. The Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition has been in partnership with Fred's and the Wally Hall family since 2015. The work that is being done along the Chilliwack / Vedder River is adding tremendous habitat improvement projects that are so important to our future fisheries. The funds that we raised this year will likely be leveraged into nearly $150,000. Totally awesome that Fred's has been able to help grow this program over the years.
The number of Steelhead weighed in this year was 192 fish. Last year was 144. The winner was a beauty 18.8lb caught by Brock Kebe (see all derby weigh-ins, stats, pics, and more here). Brock decided to donate his $1000 winnings to the Public Fishery Alliance that is doing a tremendous job for future fishing opportunities and sustainability. We were so impressed by his generous offer, that FCT decided to match the donation. So the public fishery has another $2K in the future fund for our kids.
The benefit of the derby and weighing in fish is so important as we get critical data that is used from weighing, measuring, sexing and noting the general condition of the fish or any notable issues.
There is a growing concern regarding the observations of increased seal bites, scars and defects. The reality is that the occurrence has grown into a serious issue that needs to be recognized. This year we witnessed a high percentage of fish that had large fresh bite marks and slashes like never before. This tells us that the seals in the river are more plentiful, aggressive and consuming or grossly wounding the precious Steelhead we all care for so much. Something needs to be done!
If you see any scars or wounds on your catch, wild or hatchery, please record and photo the issue and send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together we may be able to bring the awareness forward and hopefully a plan to deal with this troubling reality.