Painter's Lodge - Campbell River, British Columbia, V9W 4S5, Canada
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The 24th Annual Women’s Derby wrapped up Sunday evening, after 74 women competed, over the course of three days, for the biggest fish!

Guests began arriving Thursday evening, taking in a meal and finding out who their guides for the weekend would be. It’s the perfect start for veteran derby participants and first year entrants alike, as they eagerly prepare for the fishing day ahead and get into the spirit of the derby over drinks and stories of years past.

As tradition had it, the first group of ladies walked two by two down the dock at 5:45 the next morning, stopping at the gazebo to pose for a photo. Unlike the bright chirpy mornings we’ve seen before, this year, rain threatened to put a damper on the entirety of the weekend, with clouds and wind overhead and in the forecast. It was as the very first pair of women struck a pose that the weather decided to hold out… and, as though the fish gods were respecting this time honored derby, the weather stayed mellow from that point on.

Fish started coming in at 9:45 am. The whoops and whistles that followed guides from boat to scale were unmissable, as women snapped pictures with their fish and congratulated each other. This went on until the next group was ready to go for a mid-day tide, and, like the morning group, they marched down the dock in their pairs and we got photos once more.

Their fishing went on through that day, and on to the next, and by 5 pm on Saturday, the sun had finally decided to make its debut! It was flawlessly timed, as the beer-gharitas were ready to go for this year’s Mexican Fiesta themed party. Costumes, music, tequila and piñata’s… dancing, conga lines, musical chairs and smoking hot chili peppers.... it was a riot from start to finish!

On Sunday, the ladies all went out for one last try on the rod. A few nice Chinooks were caught, but Lingcod was the order of the day, as they came to the dock in all sizes. The final photos were taken, and off everyone went to prepare for the awards dinner.
At 7pm, with guides and participants all present, we awarded the winners. Jay Stewart took home first place with an impressive 26.5 lb. Chinook Salmon. She won the trophy and a free trip to next year’s derby! In second place was Nancy Strong-Thomas, with a 21.5 Chinook and 3rd place went to Sandy Hargis with a 20.5 lb Chinook. The ladies cheered as prizes were given out and more photos were taken… and the final night came to a relaxed and peaceful end. All the photos can be found by clicking on the photo above! 

From all of us here at Painter’s Lodge, we want to say thank you so much for making this derby such a success year after year, and a huge congratulations not only to the winners, but to everyone who took part! We are thrilled at how well everything came together and we look forward to next year… the 25TH ANNUAL WOMENS DERBY!

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