Jim Russell proudly holds his first place 3.19 kg. cutthroat trout at the derby’s weigh-in and he netted a $250 prize.

Annual Russell Smith Frostbite fishing derby in Lake Cowichan reels in local anglers

The weather outside was frightening but it didn’t seem to be a deterrent for the 50 plus participants

The weather outside was frightening — cold temperatures and snow — but it didn’t seem to be a deterrent for the 50 plus participants who entered this year’s Russell Smith Fishing Derby on Sunday, March 2 in Lake Cowichan.

The fishing derby was limited to Cowichan Lake and Bear Lake, respectively.

The Cowichan Lake Legion was full of good-humoured chatter as those who had already returned with their catch warmed up with drinks in the Legion’s lounge.

At a the 5:30 p.m. weigh-in deadline, Gwen Evans, the official weigh-in person, was ready to do her job.

The fishing derby started 19 years ago at the Elks, but was taken over by the Legion when the Elks officially closed in Lake Cowichan. Russell Smith, long time Elk and Legion member, was the man that started it. Since his passing, Legion members have carried on the annual tradition with pride.

As well as cash prizes for the top five entries, there was a $100 door prize— won by Jennina Russell — as well as a hot dinner, good company, and talk about the next fishing outing on the lake.