Ron Simms (right) is the winner of this year’s first grand prize, a 2022 Polaris Side by Side ATV from Main Jet Motorsports. From left: Kirsten Clarke of the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Kevin Westerhaug and Aaron Seminoff of Main Jet Motor Sports, Dale Williams of the BC Wildlife Federation, Gordie Grunerud of the West Arm Outdoors Club, and winner Ron Simms. (Contributed)

Ron Simms (right) is the winner of this year’s first grand prize, a 2022 Polaris Side by Side ATV from Main Jet Motorsports. From left: Kirsten Clarke of the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Kevin Westerhaug and Aaron Seminoff of Main Jet Motor Sports, Dale Williams of the BC Wildlife Federation, Gordie Grunerud of the West Arm Outdoors Club, and winner Ron Simms. (Contributed)

Creston retiree hooks first Grand Prize of Kootenay Lake derby

Ron Simms is the new owner of a 2022 Polaris Side by Side ATV courtesy of Main Jet Motorsports

A Creston retiree reeled in the first major prize in the Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program derby.

Ron Simms is the new owner of a 2022 Polaris Side by Side ATV, courtesy of Main Jet Motorsports.

Simms, a former Calgary resident, retired to Creston and his cabin at Woodbury Resort five years ago and fishes the lake year-round. But the 62-year-old never fished it as profitably as he did this summer.

“When I’m at Woodbury in the summer I’m down at the water every day and in the winter, I spend my time in Creston and drive up to the lake every day that weather permits,” said Simms in a release.

“Some of my friends at Woodbury have boats and I do go out with them, but most of the time I prefer to stay on shore where Woodbury Creek runs into the lake.”

Ian McFarlane of Kimberley won the monthly prize for October, $1,000 worth of gift certificates from Gill & Gift in Balfour and Main Jet Motorsports. McFarlane is an avid angler who spends about seven months of the year at his local cabin, fishing as often as he can.

When the water is high, bull trout are particularly plentiful, said Simms, who has entered close to 50 trout in the Kootenay Lake derby this season.

The program encourages anglers to harvest rainbow and bull trout in the main body of Kootenay Lake and then turn in the heads to local depots to enter a monthly draw for a prize worth $1,000.

In addition to the monthly prizes, this year’s grand prizes include a 2022 Ford F-150, with the off-road Tremor package, from Nelson Ford and the just-awarded 2022 Polaris side-by-side.

This citizen-driven initiative is intended to reduce the over-abundance of rainbow and bull trout in the lake and promote the recovery of their main prey, the endangered kokanee salmon.

“The rainbow and bull trout are absolutely full of tiny kokanee, even the squawfish have kokanee in them,” Simms said.

Anglers can bring an intact fish head, or full fish for a tissue sample at Woodbury, to one of four return depots at Balfour Gill & Gift Gas Station, Woodbury Resort, Crawford Bay Market, or Wynndel Foods & Outdoor Gear.

Kootenay Lake Angler Incentive Program is managed by the local West Arm Outdoors Club with support from B.C. Wildlife Federation, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and several local merchants from around Kootenay Lake.

The ministry urges anglers to continue to participate in this program and harvest all of their catch within daily quota limits to support the recovery of Kootenay Lake’s kokanee salmon.

For more information go to: https://bcwf.bc.ca/kootenay-lake-angler-incentive-program.

Read: West Kootenay Fishing Report: The bite is on

City of TrailfishingkootenayRossland