Chris Swanson, Shane Cowie, and Ryan Hunter with prizes won at the fishing derby. (Contributed by Ryan Hunter)

Chris Swanson, Shane Cowie, and Ryan Hunter with prizes won at the fishing derby. (Contributed by Ryan Hunter)

‘Good honest fun’: Fishing derby draws anglers from across B.C’s Interior

Black Pearl Fishing Adventures brings traditional fishing derby back after hiatus

Revelstokians were gone fishin’ last weekend.

A group of local fisherman brought back a time-honored tradition to the community and and are working to teach the next generation of anglers about ways to preserve the habitats that they fish in.

Ryan Hunter and Chris Swanson of Black Pearl Fishing Adventures put on the Fall Fishing Derby on Oct. 23-24 at Shelter Bay on the Arrow Lakes, south of Revelstoke.

The event came back strong after a hiatus last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The derby, which had 75-85 entrants, drew a crowd of roughly 130 people for a day of fishing, food, music, and community.

A group of entrants and residents at the fishing derby at Shelter Bay. (Contributed by Ryan Hunter)

A group of entrants and residents at the fishing derby at Shelter Bay. (Contributed by Ryan Hunter)

The derby drew anglers from all over the lower mainland: Kelowna, Sicamous, Salmon arm, and even one from Hope.

According to Hunter and Swanson, the event had an excellent turnout from the kids of the community, inspiring them to get out into nature and enjoy what the outdoors has to offer.

After the sun went down on the event, those who attended were treated to a few hours of live music with a performance by the local group Not So Social Club, followed by a bonfire on the beach.

A bonfire on the beach of Shelter Bay after the fishing derby. (Contributed by Ryan Hunter)

A bonfire on the beach of Shelter Bay after the fishing derby. (Contributed by Ryan Hunter)

Hunter and Swanson, who have run the derby for four years, recalled the many similar events held in the area when they were young and said they want to give the next generation of Revelstokians the opportunity to experience the same thing.

In the past, less attention would be given to the well-being of fish at a similar event. This year, the group focused on innovating the way people fish at the derby, and advocated for a ‘catch-and-release’ style of fishing in order to preserve the habitat and natural life cycle of the fish in the lake. Entrants were still able to keep what was allotted to them per their licences.

The ruler used to measure fish in the contest, donated by the Rod and Gun club. The sticker on the ruler indicates the year this specific derby took place. (Contributed by Ryan Hunter)

The ruler used to measure fish in the contest, donated by the Rod and Gun club. The sticker on the ruler indicates the year this specific derby took place. (Contributed by Ryan Hunter)

The event was sponsored by roughly 60 different groups. Fishing outlets Gibbs and Scotty, alongside a number of local businesses, donated prizes for the event.

“It’s good, honest fun,” said Hunter.

Winners were determined in three different categories: Rainbow, Dolly, and Kids.

The winners:

  • Rainbow: Shane Cowie – 73 cm
  • Dolly: Mike Pittenger – 83 cm
  • Kids: Isaac Defeo – 79 cm
Shane Cowie holding his prize winning 73 cm rainbow trout. (Contributed by Ryan Hunter)

Shane Cowie holding his prize winning 73 cm rainbow trout. (Contributed by Ryan Hunter)

Black Pearl Fishing Adventures would like to thank the volunteers who made the event possible: Lyle Knapp, Cheryl Swanson, Chad Deschamps, and the volunteers who braved the cold to do registration.

All profits from the derby go towards upcoming events.

To learn more about Black Pearl Fishing Adventures visit www.blackpearlfishingadventures.com/.

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@josh_piercey
josh.piercey@revelstokereview.com

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