A day of Infamy in Kokanee/Trout Derby History

There has been much debate in recent years about whether or not to allow jigging at anchor while fishing in the Kokanee Power of Oregon derbies. There are a few non-members who make a big stink about not being allowed to participate by their own rules rather than those  adopted by the Kokanee Power of Oregon club. The majority of participants however are perfectly happy with the rules although possibly not understanding the need for such rules.

They say (the make the rules for me crowd), and I quote; “Let the ODFW regulate the rules” or “I don’t chum and I resent the fact that the rules say I might if I am at anchor” or “If you eliminated every possible method of illegal fishing I bet nobody would be left fishing. Why does singling out one potential problem give you such assurance that no cheating is occurring?” or “Does chumming attract the biggest 5 fish or is it still just random luck to catch bigger fish?” or “it appears to me that discrimination is taking place against those people who choose to fish from the bank or an anchored boat in the KP derby’s” Funny thing, but the complainers are for the most part not members and they only want to see things from their own selfish perspective. Kind of like the child who says, “If you don’t want to play my way, I will take my toys and go home”… That last quote is paraphrased because it was so long and flowery you would fall asleep while reading it but simply put it is a lame attempt to get rules changed that protect the integrity of the sport by an individual who feels that he should have special accommodations and even though he can jig in our derbies he wants to do it on his terms, not by the rules of the club…

My intent with this article is to explain just why those rules are in place. I understand that people cheat and it is unfortunate that a few would ruin what otherwise would be a very orderly society. The simple truth is that people do cheat, they lie and murder as well and there are prisons full of those types to prove it. The rules are not to keep honest people honest, instead they are to protect the honest people from those that are not.

The derby rules clearly state: you can’t be Anchored, Tethered or Tied. The contention that you cannot jig from a non anchored boat was proven false at our Crescent Lake Derby by a group of guys jigging from a “non anchored” boat. These rules were developed over the course of several years dating back to the early days of Kokanee Power in California. I have not been privy to the reasons for the California club making those rules, but I can tell you why they are in effect here in Oregon.

A few years ago, prior to my involvement in the organization, Kokanee Power Oregon held a yearly trout derby at Diamond Lake. This derby was the last derby of the year and served the purpose of getting all of the members together for one last time at the end of the season. Well, this derby was a multiple day affair unlike the derbies that we are now holding with lots of contestants and quite a bit of prize money at stake. On the first day of fishing, it was a good day of fishing but a poor day of catching even though everyone tried their hearts out; that is with the exception of one boat. They came in with some real trophy fish, almost double or triple the weight and size of the closest contenders. The second day out, the fishing was much better but at the end of the day, the same boat came in with some major fish easily out pacing the competition for a land slide win. The third and final day, tensions were high, with everyone knowing that the pot was lost to this one boat. That is until someone had the presence of mind to tail the one boat producing the biggest catch. It turns out that they were chumming at anchor or so the story goes (I was not there). It was further contended that they (the lone fish catching boat or in this case, “the cheaters”) had put out a chum bucket days prior to the derby starting and were anchoring over it during the derby, nobody else being the wiser, that is until the third day.

To make a long story short, they were confronted and their entry fees and prize money forfeited. This group of individuals took it to the next level, threatening to come back with guns. In any event, the sheriff was called and it left a bad taste in the mouth of the other participants who “played fairly and by the rules.”

I have been unable to get the full story from some of the individuals who were there. Their idea being that it was an unfortunate event which would only further hurt the KPO organization if it was a focus and they would just a soon see it disappear into the distant past. Now I for one do not know the names of the individuals who were cheating and I don’t want to know, only that it did take place and it was a real event.

The long and the short of it is simply that the rules are in place for a reason. The board ran a pole of the membership this last fall. It was unanimous that we not change the rules and I would guess that 90% of those people never heard the story about Diamond Lake and the few that did; expressed their concern while answering the pole in the comments section.

On the other hand if some of the jiggers would like to step up and put in the time like the “volunteers” do for our present events and organize a jigging competition, which includes putting in lots of “thankless” hours planning, spending your personal hard earned cash for gas and lodging and then only spending half of your day fishing  just for the “privilege” to work behind the scenes to put on a derby; Kokanee Power of Oregon would be happy to sanction the event. But it seems when that scenario is brought forth, those individuals are too busy for the “work” part or maybe they just like to complain and stir the pot?

This is my opinion only and does not reflect the opinions of the other board members. It just seems to me that there are always those who want what they are not willing to work for and expect the rest of the group to give it to them for free… Kinda like welfare… Hmmm….

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See you in the comments!

Kent Cannon

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About Kent Cannon

My passion is fishing and hunting as well as traveling throughout the Northwest and writing about those adventures. I was separated from my job a few years ago due to the still ongoing economic downturn. I had spent years working, focusing on things that really were not near and dear to my heart all the while scrambling and climbing to what I perceived as the top. I of course did not realize what I was doing, because I was caught up in the moment, focusing on what I thought was the American dream. Crashing and pushing ever forward like a Lemming headed for a cliff, oblivious the world around me. I was more than a little bitter over loosing my job; it was a good job as far as jobs go and I was making a lot of money so I could live according to the manner in which I wanted to be accustomed. In the process of trying to find another job in an unfavorable economic climate I found something that I had left behind many years ago. I found me! That is how and why I started this website, looking for myself and sharing things that I found along the way. Even though I am older now, suffering a little from arthritis and my hair is now somewhat graying I still have fire in my belly for the next adventure. The more that I seek out my next adventure, the more excited I become!

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