September 14, 2010 | Tips from Travellers >
Find more information about Ucluelet - Fishing
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I watched the fishing boats come into the harbour and line up, all anxious to tie up to the Ucluelet Salmon Ladder Derby Weigh-In Station dock. They had been fishing for 2 days and the 2:00PM scale closure was just minutes away.
The Ucluelet Salmon Ladder Derby was the first of its kind for the small community of Ucluelet, located on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. It was a summer-long derby that ran from May 24th to September 3rd. Locals and out-of-towners have been fishing all summer long to qualify for one of the 50 spots on the ladder. Then this last weekend, September 11th and 12th, the top 50 of the summer fished along with the top 5 of each month in the Ucluelet Salmon Ladder Derby Fish Off.
The winning fish was caught by Colin Campbell, a visitor to the Ucluelet sport fishing grounds, and it weighed 24lbs and 6oz. He was rewarded $8000 cash and a $2000 fishing trip package.
The community really came together for this event. Thanks to donations, sponsorships, and ticket sales nearly $40,000 in cash was rewarded throughout the summer and over $60, 000 in total cash and prizes by the end of the derby. Ucluelet was able to raise funds and awareness for salmon enhancement, specifically for the Thornton Creek Hatchery, with all net proceeds of the derby and the Ucluelet Salmon Festival that followed, going to the cause.
Then there was the celebration! The Ucluelet Salmon Festival took place on September 12th to wrap up the derby. Attendees filled their plates with wild pacific salmon, walked through the vendors like the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, Thornton Creek Hatchery, and the Ucluelet Aquarium, and enjoyed live music, beer gardens and jovial prize presentations! The kids were busy in the bouncerama, throwing balls at the dunk tank and making crafts.
It was heart warming to see the community support salmon enhancement and the fun they had together... with a little positive competition, and with big celebrations. The level of awareness for our natural resources and environment has grown to a new level in this little town, the sport of fishing with it, and organizers are already planning next years event.Editor's note: Learn more about fishing in Ucluelet here.