Eagle Valley Resort hosted its annual Fishing Derby on May 2, but most of the “usuals” were different this year, making this annual event more of an inaugural one.
This year, the resort ran the derby solo, as opposed to previous years where State Parks helped organize it. There was only one derby for the whole family, rather than a separate kids’ derby. The event also moved away from hooking a tagged fish worth a certain amount of dollars. Instead competitors angled for the longest fish.
The new approach created some concerns, mostly from competitors that have attended every year. One common one was how low the attendance was this year, compared to previous years and the derby becoming extinct in the near future. Another concern, although most agreed the longest fish concept certainly simplifies the goal of the derby, was that it brought on new issues that had a lot of competitors upset – primarily with how it was governed. Several competitors said they noticed dead trout floating near the bank – a direct result from competitors trying to catch and release fish that swallowed the hook, so they could stay in the competition and avoid the five fish limit.
At the end of the event, first and second place winners were announced. The first place, $4,000 prize was awarded to a gentleman that pulled in a tiger trout that was 24 inches and weighed 5.5 pounds. The second place, $1,500 dollar prize went to Cody Lamb of Pioche.
Lessons learned go hand-in-hand with new ideas. Yes, participants had concerns, but at the same time, many felt confident the resort had to have seen and heard about these issues and that next year will be better. As one fisherman put it, “Forget the contest. At the end of the day, you’re fishing…aren’t you? It doesn’t get better than that, now does it?”