345 Anglers on 63rd Annual Boxing Day Derby
Posted on December 19th, 2006 by Chris Gadsden
Maple Ridge angler Wade Gienow tops 345 anglers in annual Boxing
Day Steelhead Derby held on the Chilliwack Vedder River.
Derby winner Wade Gienow accepting trophy from Chairman Don
Kozak (photo: Gordon Gadsden).
The 63rd annual Boxing Day Steelhead Derby held last Tuesday on
the Chilliwack Vedder River drew 345 anglers but the number of steelhead
was near a record low level as only 4 steelhead were entered.
This is below the number of fish that were entered by a comparable
number of anglers that participated in the last 3 derbies. 10 steelhead
were entered in 2003, 13 the following year and last year 11 fish
were brought to the weigh scales. At the derby deadline of 2 pm
Wade Gienow from Maple Ridge landed the biggest steelhead of the
derby, a fish weighing 13.48 pounds.
Don Kozak, the Chilliwack Fish and Game Protective Association
chairman for the derby and combined fund raiser, said after the
event, "we had a feeling the catch would be low this year because
the anglers had to fish for the most part in less than ideal fishing
conditions," he said. "The recent flood during November
in the Chilliwack River Valley has created several new clay slides
that are creating silty and unfavorable water conditions, especially
in wet and mild weather conditions that we have had post flood,"
The winning angler, Wade Gienow from Maple Ridge who is a guide
on the Fraser River most of the year beat the odds stacked against
the anglers in this derby as he coaxed a 13.48 pound doe steelhead
into taking a liking to his roe and wool combination.
Gienow's fish was well ahead of second place finisher Todd McIntyre's
Rod Toth, another Fraser River guide was the only Chilliwack based
angler to enter a fish, a 8.24 pound steelhead. Toth took his third
placed fish on one of the jigs that he manufactures.
Ed Stanley from Coquitlam took first fish weighted in honors; he
caught his 6.88 pound steelhead shortly after nine and had it to
the scales at 9.35lb.
Gienow is no stranger to catching a steelhead in the derby as he
finished in 7th place last year and has taken part in about 8 derbies
over the years.
Gienow who connected with the Kingfish around 10 am described in
a post derby interview and after receiving the coveted age old Ferguson
Furnell perpetual trophy how he found his winning steelhead.
"I threw out a cast behind this boulder, in about 2 feet of
water; my float went about 1 foot and to my surprise a steelhead
swirled at my float," the now relaxed Gienow said. "I
even saw the whole body of the fish from head to tail, I also saw
it was a hatchery fish" which was good news to Gienow as only
hatchery steelhead can be retained. "The steelhead then disappeared
under water grabbing my bait a she went, I set the hook real hard
and the battle was on," Gienow said.
"The fight did not really last that long, maybe one minute
and after a couple of decent runs I had it near to shore, saw it
was indeed a hatchery so I quickly pulled it ashore, it sure was
one hungry fish," the smiling Gienow concluded.
Gienow weighed in his fish at 10:24 and he then crossed his fingers,
paced the floor of the clubhouse until the 2 o'clock weigh-in deadline,
hoping that his fish's weight would hold up to give him top boasting
honors among his fellow anglers.
Kozak was very happy with the support the derby received, not only
from the anglers but the business community who donated close to
$20,000 in prizes. "I was overwhelmed by the support of so
many, including the volunteers from our club, we could not have
made it happen without them," he said.
"The best news is the derby and fund raiser made a total profit
of $13,873.42, this total included a donation made by Art Decker
from Westform Metals who donated $1,300 he won on a draw back into
the derby coffers,"Kozak added.
"This means we will have money to use for habitat restoration
projects in the Chilliwack River Valley that will include some money
hopefully donated to the Chilliwack River Action Committee for their
ongoing work the last 10 years to repair the clay slides on the
Chilliwack River", Kozak said.
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