These Lake Cowichan fishermen show off their catch after the annual Davey Derby in Port Renfrew in 2011.

These Lake Cowichan fishermen show off their catch after the annual Davey Derby in Port Renfrew in 2011.

Derby more than just an excuse to go fishing

For the past 12 years, the Davey Derby has helped to raise thousands of dollars for local not-for-profit groups and families

For the past 12 years, the Davey Derby has helped to raise thousands of dollars for local not-for-profit groups and families who have fallen on hard times.

Originally started to help the family of Dave Nicholson, who succumbed to cancer in 2000, get back on their feet, the event has since switched to helping others in the Cowichan Valley who are in need.

The derby takes place in Port Renfrew, at the Port Renfrew Marina, on the weekend of July 20, 21, and 22. Tickets can be purchased at Bucky’s Sports Shop in Duncan, Island Outfitters in Victoria, the Port Renfrew Marina, and right here in Lake Cowichan at Cowichan Fly and Tackle.

Entry tickets are $50 a rod and must be purchased in advance.

The derby is open to anyone in B.C. and the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The first year, the event had all of 15 entries, but this number has increased exponentially. Last year, at “D-11,” the event drew 350 entries and raised over $30,000.

Funds raised went to the Cowichan Valley Food Basket Society, Chemainus Harvest House, Victoria and Cowichan General Hospitals’ Neo-Natal Care Units, the Cowichan Lake Salmonid Enhancement Society, the San Juan Enhancement Society, Kidsport Cowichan, Cowichan Food Connection, Big Brothers and Sisters, the Pink Salmon Festival, and three families in the Cowichan Valley.

Jim Lamb, a long-time member of the Davey Derby Fishing Club and an employee of Catalyst Paper, Crofton Division, says that organizations are chosen through a selection process.

“A request comes in and the small board looks it and determines their need,” he says. “Some of them are chosen each year, like the Neo-Natal Care Units in Victoria and Duncan, and the Cowichan Lake Food Bank.”

Every year the club also chooses three or four families that they know are going through a rough time and could use some help.

“Originally it was just for people who worked at the mill,” says Lamb. “But we have helped people with no relation to the mill over the years.”

“Our sponsors are totally on board with what we do, and we consider them as much a part of the team as the organizers,” adds Audie Williams, organizer of the event.

There are some big prizes to be won, not only through being one of those participants to catch the three biggest salmon, or the biggest halibut, but through the raffle as well.

Items are donated by local businesses, though the club does on occasion purchase prizes as well, but they try to steer away from that so that all proceeds can go to local organizations and families.

This year, the top raffle prize is a zodiac boat. This raffle is for Kids Sport Cowichan. First three picks from the table go to the largest salmon caught, then a special pre -selected fourth prize goes to largest halibut and picks five through 10 go the next largest salmon. After the top ten prizes have been awarded from the prize table, the rest will be handed out using a draw system.

For more information, go to, or phone Williams at 250-416-1275.


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