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Anglers converge for Fremont derby

Posted: Tuesday, Mar 7th, 2017

Jolene Weeks, 10, shows off her rainbow trout while her dad Colin Weeks shows off his brown trout, which took top honors on Saturday. - Photos Mike Moore and Stephen Crane

PINEDALE – The fish just get bigger every year for Jackson angler and eighth-grade student Nevin Griber, who once again dominated the competition over the weekend at the annual Big Fish Winter Derby out on Fremont Lake to take top honors for the second year in a row. The crowd of 200 anglers applauded and cheered as Griber was awarded cash prizes for catching the biggest fish of the day for both Saturday and Sunday.

Griber landed a 14-pound, 37-inch lake trout on Saturday, followed by a monstrous 30-pound, 44-inch lake trout on Sunday. The fish were large enough to give Griber the big fish award for both days. Last year, the young angler landed the biggest fish of the tournament, a 23-pound, 43-inch lake trout. The trout was wrapped in newspapers to preserve the fish until the eager fisherman could get it to the taxidermist to have it mounted.

The impressive performance was the hot topic of conversation among anglers as they awaited the results Sunday afternoon. Many said they would like an opportunity to learn his secrets before next year.

The tournament brought in a good number of large trout this year, with Luke Lavoie taking second place for largest fish on Saturday after catching a 35-inch, 12-pound lake trout. Cody Wilkes took third place on Saturday after landing a 12-pound, 33-inch lake trout.

The top rainbow trout caught on Saturday came from Rick Lucero, who turned in a 3-pound, 22-inch trout, while Colin Weeks landed a 2-pound, 20-inch brown trout to earn the top spot for that type of fish.

Kayle Cross pulled up a nice 34-inch, 9.8-pound lake trout late in the day on Sunday to take second place for biggest fish for the day. Zane Hedges finished just behind with a 34-inch, 9.4-pound lake trout for third place.

Additional large rainbow and brown trout were hooked and landed on the second day, with Mitch Wolfe taking first for biggest rainbow after reeling in a 4-pound, 23-inch trout. Meanwhile, Pat Trujillo’s 2.6-pound, 28-inch brown trout was largest brown caught during the second day of competition.

For some, the annual derby was just a good excuse to get out and enjoy the warm, sunny weather with some casual ice fishing. Doug Rellstab stood in front of Lakeside Lodge with a pair of rods rigged up to catch a big lake trout that might swing by the area.

“I figured I’d try right in front of the lodge,” he said. “Sometimes big fish come through trying to eat little rainbows.”

Other anglers hopped on their trusty snowmobiles and headed miles up the lake to the inlet to try their luck. Straying too far from the event headquarters at Lakeside Lodge can be a bit risky, as fish must be still alive and breathing when measured and weighed, which could be a 15 to 20-minute snowmobile ride across the lake.

According to Pinedale Boat Club President Grant Golden, the field of competition was a little lower this year than in previous years.

“It’s gone pretty smooth,” he said as he fished near Lakeside Lodge on Sunday. “There have been some really big fish turned in this year.”

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