Here’s some good news for anglers that have been missing their annual tournaments and the prizes that go along with a great catch – the Chantry Chinook Classic Salmon Derby is back for 2021, albeit with a few changes to adjust to economic changes and pandemic restrictions.
The 2021 Derby, organized by the Lake Huron Fishing Club, has in past years welcomed countless fishermen from across the province. The entire event was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic. When Mike Hahn and the executive board of the Club put out a social media post to “test the waters” for interest in a derby this year, the positive response gave them the confidence to start planning.
This year, the Derby will host events on three separate dates; in the spring, summer and fall. The spring derby will take place over the Victoria Day weekend and the summer tournament will run from July 24 to Aug. 2. The fall tournament is set for Sept. 11 and 12.
“The Lake Huron Fishing Club is bringing a local favourite back this year for anglers,” said club vice president, Mike Hahn. “The first annual Spring Chantry Salmon Derby will take place on May 22, 23 and 24.”
Hahn said the club changed its strategy for bringing on sponsors this year, in order to raise the funds needed to support hatchery and stocking operations and offer prizes to participants. In the past, sponsors would donate cash, in-kind donations or gift certificates for prizes. Hahn says the Club realizes most businesses aren’t in a financial position to manage those donations this year.
“Because of COVID, a lot of sponsors are holding on by their fingernails to keep operating,” said Hahn.
Instead, the club has decided to use money raised through the sale of tickets to support the Derby and the hatcheries.
“Proceeds from the derby will be split 50/50 between cash prizes and the club’s hatchery operations,” said Hahn. “Local anglers have missed the former Fish Kincardine Derby for a few years, so this new derby has a lot of anglers excited. The tickets for the event will be ready for sale around April 1, and will cost $50 per angler. Each angler in the boat, over 16 years-of-age, must have a ticket. If you purchase a ticket before May 1, anglers will be entered into an early bird (draw for a) prize of $500 cash. That draw will be held May 2.” A refreshed website is coming soon at www.chantrychinook.comso stay tuned.
The tournament cash prizes will be progressive – the more tickets sold, the bigger the winnings.
Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place for the largest lake salmon, and first place for largest lake trout, largest rainbow trout and largest brown trout.
Registration should be open by April 1 and tickets will also be available at J & S Tackle in Port Elgin, Lures & Lines in Wiarton, and a yet-to-be confirmed location in Kincardine.
The Derby will be held in the same geographic region as in past years, from Point Clark and up the east coast of Lake Huron and over to the west side of the peninsula.
“There will be weigh stations in Kincardine, Inverhuron Provincial Park, Port Elgin and one in Wiarton to cover our Bruce Peninsula entrants,” said Hahn. “The Derby will use the traditional Chantry boundaries, with two exceptions. Anglers will be allowed to fish both the Saugeen and Sauble Rivers, to give river anglers a chance to win a cash prize as well.”
Strict social distancing and mask protocols will in place at each of the weigh stations and any violators will be prohibited from weighing in their fish. Hahn says the safety of entrants and volunteers are paramount. The Club is looking for volunteers to work at the Port Elgin weigh station, and if anyone is interested, can contact the Club by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The club has arranged a discounted rate at a local hotel for participants spending the weekend. Those interested can contact Super 8 in Port Elgin for details.
“Good luck to all anglers,” said Hahn. “And thank you for your continued support of the LHFC’s hatchery and stocking programs.”
For those looking for more information, please visit our website at www.chantrychinook.com or join our Facebook group “Lake Huron Fishing club”.
Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent