Fish For the Future is a B.C. salmon fishing derby to give back to the Clayoquot

Imagine a family-centred event that aims to raise funds to heal the same watershed it fishes? Welcome to Fish for The Future, where parents teach their kids how to fish in B.C., and how to give back.

At the inaugural event in 2017, 67 people signed up, knowing that every cent would go back to local salmon. Add in the calm, friendly waters of Clayoquot Sound, and a stacked prize purse with prizing specifically earmarked for females, family and kids, and you have an event that spoke to the heart of the Clayoquot fishing community. The event was an incredible success, raising $20,000. All proceeds were distributed to the Tofino Hatchery and The Salmon Roundtable to be used directly in raising hatchery fish and protecting fish habitat. Tofino Hatchery alone was able to put 40,000 chinook smolts into the Tranquil Creek and 40,000 Coho smolts into the Kootowis system. That means a lot to salmon fishing on Vancouver Island, and means even better fishing reports for Tofitians.

“It says a lot about the people who live and visit here.” Says Willie Mitchell, president of Tofino Resort + Marina. “They love these waters and want to ensure we are all taking care of the salmon. It’s really heartwarming to watch kids fall in love with fishing.”

This year, Tofino Resort + Marina found a way to double down—this year’s Fish for the Future will be a catch-and-release derby.

“We feel it’s our duty and responsibility to give back to the Watershed which has given us so much.” Says Dick “We want to leave the watershed in the same or better condition than before the event.

Competitors who want to keep a fish for dinner can do so, but they can’t do it if they want to win. This encourages responsible stewardship of the salmon stocks, and it ensures everyone is fishing for the right reasons.

One question remains: if you don’t catch a fish and bring it to the dock to weigh, how do you know who won?

“Three weigh boats will be in the water.” Says Dick. “When someone gets a fish on, they call over the radio and we rip over there. Once they reel it in and net it, we measure the fish and send it back to spawn for another generation Judges use the following formula to weigh the salmon:

Length X Girth (squared), divided by 800 = Weight *imperial measurements

Weird, right? Dick laughs “Yeah, it seems strange but it actually works, plus if everyone’s fish is measured the same way, they all are treated fairly.”

Sounds like a good time to us.

This September 21st – 23rd, Fish for the Future salmon derby returns to Tofino, hosted by Tofino Resort + Marina and run in partnership with the Tla-O-Qui-Aht First Nations, benefitting the Tofino Hatchery and The Salmon Roundtable. Learn more here.