Sunday, June 12, 2016

Rowan's the Man at the 2016 shad derby

Yesterday my son Rowan, friend John (IPop) and I left town at 6 AM to make the drive up to Chipman, NB to take part in the 12 Annual Shad derby.   This is a somewhat low key event, typically drawing 20 - 30 anglers but a ton of fun and put off extremely well by a great group of dedicated anglers.

Based on Salmon River, it is ideal for people in canoe or kayak or even a small boat with a light motor.   The river can be a little shallow in places depending on the water levels and the currents typically are not too strong.   Yesterday, after a heavy rain a couple days prior, the water was up a few feet higher than normal and the current was running pretty strong in spots.    When the fishing is on, people can catch a lot of shad here, however, for whatever reason I never end up on this river when the fishing is on!

Most of the participants in the derby were 40 years of age or older, and there was just the one kid - Rowan.   At 5 years old, he was the youngest to ever participate in the derby and he make his Dad pretty proud through the day.   While Rowan didn't catch, or really even try for any shad, he did cast out his hook baited with worm through the day and catch several yellow perch and chub.   There was a secondary contest this year with medals as the prize for perch and chub which Rowan wanted to do well in.

After 8 hours on the water, both Rowan had landed a half dozen or more each of chub and perch, while I landed a few chub, one or two perch and a trout.   No shad though!  I only witnessed two others catch a shad the whole day, and overall I think only 5 people caught shad.  It was believed that the rain and higher water levels really played havoc with outcome.   Oh well, there is always next year!

The event itself is wonderfully run.   There is a great breakfast at the hotel in Chipman, donated by the hotel owners.   After bacon, eggs, and registration, everyone headed out for the river, about a 20 min drive to put into the river for around 10 AM.   Along with several others we put into the river at a place called 'Big Forks' and fished for about a 3 km stretch down to the end point of the event, ending at 6 PM.   There those who caught shad had their fish weighed, and we reported our perch/chub catches (honor system or photos) for the secondary event.   Then one of the others there gave me a ride back to pick up the Jeep and trailer.    Once everyone was back on shore, the catches evaluated and such, everyone headed back to the hotel for prizes to be given out.

The Town of Chipman was gracious enough to sponsor the event this year and awarded Rowan with a special prize of $25 for being the Youngest Angler in the event.    Rowan also placed with his perch and chub and won a raffle prize, so he was absolutely thrilled with the whole thing.   Everyone there though was really proud of Rowan and very much impressed as they witnessed him navigate the river, catch fish, and outside of some tangles I helped him with, was completely self-sufficient through the day.   Of course, no one was prouder than his Dad!

I volunteered to help with the event for next year by putting together a webpage and Facebook presence for them.   Hopefully we can help it grow a little and get more people out to appreciate the great hospitality and fishing there is in the Chipman area.

Oh, an as an aside, on the drive back from the event to the hotel, we spotted two rare wood turtles crossing the road about a mile from each other.  We stopped and helped the second one get across to safety.   Pretty neat to find creatures like this in the wild!


  1. It was absulutely great to watch Rowan , Navigate , Fish and particpate in the event. he is a Tropper for sure. Thnks Joe for all the help you have provided to date as well as any help you may have time for us in the Future.

  2. I do agree. It is really nice to see a young angler participating in an event. I hope many kids will inspire with this blog and join a fishing activity.

  3. It always feels great to see the young's joining in fishing event. Really enjoyed the images of Rowan.