Another successful Painter’s Lodge Women’s Salmon Derby is in the books! This year marked the 20th anniversary of this special derby and I’m thankful I was able to be a part of it.
On Friday afternoon 62 women from all across the province arrived at Painter’s and were greeted by the open arms of old friends and new, plus returning crew members they’ve gotten to know (and love) over the years. Before the ladies set off in pairs to fish their first tide, they had to be assigned their guides. Once that was taken care of, it was down to business.
Dense fog and unrelenting rain didn’t stop our fisherwomen from reeling in some admirable fish that evening. The top 3 salmon from Day 1 were all over 20 lbs.; the largest belonged to Tina Reese and weighed in at an impressive 27.7 lbs.
On Day 2 everyone was up bright and early to fish the morning tide – once again in the rain. By the time all 30 boats returned for the catch weigh-in the sun was shining. Jan Lim caused a commotion on the dock when her guide, Travis, hung her massive salmon on the scale to reveal it was a whopping 34.9 lbs. Fire the air horn; we have our first Painter’s Lodge Tyee of the 2012 season! (Jan did fire the air horn and it definitely got everyone’s attention.) This was an enormous accomplishment for Jan and I’m sure her daughter (and fishing partner), Rhonda, and her son (and Painter’s fishing guide), Russ, were incredibly proud of their mom. How wonderful to have your family on hand to witness such a momentous occasion. Jan’s Tyee was the daily winner and set the bar for the rest of the women who yearned for a spot on our derby trophy.
That evening our she-anglers stepped back in time to the 1920s for a night of live entertainment, dancing and toasts to fish large and small. I was blown away by the elaborate era-appropriate costumes the women donned and couldn’t believe the creativity behind some. Simply fantastic!
Glorious sunshine accompanied the women on their 3rd and last tide of fishing Sunday afternoon. The total weight of fish caught that day would be the smallest of the derby but still produced a winner. Meridee Fitch brought in a 25.7 lb. salmon that won her 3rd place overall and a sweet new ride…a bicycle!
In the end no one was able to surpass Jan Lim and her Tyee. Jan finished 1st in the derby and Tina Reese followed in 2nd. The total weight of all fish caught over the weekend was 634.80 lbs. Way to go, girls!
See you in a few,