Sydney Crawford got to the weigh station at last year’s derby, with a fish weighing in at 20 pound 15 ounce salmon. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Campbell River’s salmon derby set for Saturday

Event features expanded fishing areas this year

Fishing enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting a bigger and better Royal LePage Campbell River Salmon Derby this Saturday.

The third annual event runs from sunrise June 9 until 5 p.m. at which point competitors should be ready to weigh-in at Robert Ostler Park.

Last year, the organizers added a catch-and-release category, and this year they are planning a bigger prize for it. Contestants can email, text or upload a video of their catch. The winning video will be chosen the week after the event.

Another change for this year’s installment is that the area in which people can fish is a bit bigger, covering Fisheries and Oceans Canada Fisheries Management Area 13, 14 and 15.

“We’ve expanded the boundaries, or the fishing areas,” said Deanna Collins, one of the organizing team for the event.

The fishing zones include more spots such as in Oyster River, Quadra Island and Cortes Island.

For anyone not casting out their lines on Saturday, there should be plenty to keep them occupied on shore around Robert Ostler Park. The derby will again have the Kidzone operating, with games and activities for families.

“Everything is free,” Collins said. “We had so many people say this is the best family thing for us to do….This year it’s going to be even bigger.”

This feature of the event started last year, and Collins expects even more activities and more food trucks on site this time around. There will be live music and performances by CR DanceXtreme. Tim Hortons, one of the derby’s many sponsors, is even bringing an inflatable, pop-up restaurant. There will also be a silent auction throughout the day. Collins said she and the other organizers love to fish and wanted to revive a derby, though they are always too busy running the event to get out on the water during fishing time.

Beyond the fun of fishing, the derby raises money for a couple of causes. The organizers have raised about $47,000 in each of the last two years and split the proceeds.

Half goes to the Campbell River Salmon Foundation for salmon enhancement work.

“It all stays local. That was kind of a no-brainer,” Collins said.

As for the other half, Royal LePage supports a women’s shelter foundation, so the team is opting to put proceeds towards the local operation at the Ann Elmore House and the Campbell River and North Island Transition Society.

Typically, the derby attracts around 700 to 800 each year, with many waiting to get their tickets.

“You can buy them right up until the night before,” Collins said.

They can be purchased at River Sportsman, Tyee Marine or the Royal LePage office. Collins said it is easy to get them online, and it helps organizers get a better idea of how many people are coming.

To register, go to www.crsalmonderby.com, which will take you to the picatic site where you can get tickets or more information.

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