Eiko Jones Photography Last year’s salmon derby saw over 700 people sign up to compete for the over $20,000 in cash and prizes. It also raised $47,000 for local charities. This year’s event runs next weekend.

Could this year’s Campbell River Salmon Derby be even bigger than the first?

Last year’s event saw 712 entrants and about $47,000 raised for local charities

More than 700 people signed up to hunt the waters off Campbell River at the first annual Royal LePage Campbell River Salmon Derby last year, raising approximately $47,000 for local charities.

And organizers say they’re hoping for an even better turn out next weekend for the second running of the event, June 10.

“It’ll be great to see the community come down again and celebrate being on the water and enjoying where we live, have a day that the kids can come and have a heck of a day for free, parents and grandparents can come with them and just celebrate Campbell River,” says Mark Ranniger, one of the derby’s organizers.

Ranniger and colleague Deanna Collins were the ones who spearheaded the idea to bring back the derby – the first of which was held last year. The derby was an annual staple of the community decades ago but hadn’t been held for quite some time until Royal LePage stepped in to start it back up.

“A lot of people were very disappointed when the Salmon Derby died,” says Royal LePage co-owner Stephen Grant. “I’ve heard from lots of people that bringing it back has been a great thing for people who have lived in Campbell River for a long time, and of course, for people who haven’t, it’s a great community event that they can come down and be a part of, even without that nostalgic aspect.”

Collins says this year they have added a new category to the competition: Catch and Release.

“People will take a video of landing the fish and releasing it, and those videos will be judged the following week,” Collins says. “That way they can still be a part of the fun and be eligible for a prize, even if, say, they catch something undersized. That way there’s some fishing fun that isn’t all about ‘the biggest.’”

“We’re really encouraging people to get creative with those,” agrees Grant. “They can take it home and edit it, add music or other clips of the day or whatever, and then post it to social media with the hashtag #crsalmonderby.”

Other additions – or rather expansions – being made to the second running of the event, Collins says, mainly surround the “family friendly” aspects of the day.

“We really want it to be something that everyone can enjoy, so we’re expanding our Fun Zone a lot this year with circus games and Bounce-a-Ramas, big slides and we’re adding a dunk tank – that Mayor Andy Adams has already volunteered to come spend some time in – and there will be more food trucks and music and entertainment. All kinds of great things for the whole family,” Collins says.

There was also a colouring contest published in a recent edition of the Mirror for kids to enter, the first 100 of which will receive a voucher to Dairy Queen. If you missed that edition of the paper, copies of the colouring page are available online at the salmon derby Facebook page that you can print off and have your kids colour to bring down on the day.

As with last year, 100 per cent of the proceeds from the derby will go to local charities.

The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation will distribute 50 per cent of the proceeds to the North Island Transition Society – which runs Rose Harbour and Ann Elmore House – and the other half to the Campbell River Salmon Foundation.

Once again, top prize for the largest fish caught on the day is $5,000 cash, with many other prizes available, as well. Over $20,000 in cash and prizes are set to be given out once all is said and done.

Tickets for the event are $40 and are available at crsalmonderby.com, where you can also find out all kinds of other information about the event such as the qualifying fishing locations, weigh in times and prizes available.

The organizers would also like to thank all of the local businesses and community partners who make the day possible.

“It’s amazing how all these companies get asked, on a consistent basis all year long, to donate to a million good causes, and they never hesitate to help out and be generous,” Grant says, “so we encourage everyone to go check out the people involved and support them as they support the community and events like this one and so many others.”

Check out a short video of a couple of the organizers talking about what to expect next weekend, along with some photos from last year’s event: