On paper, it was a winner. Fly fishing in the October on the Truckee River? It doesn’t get much better for local fishermen.
And in reality, the University of Nevada, Reno’s Single Fly Fishing Derby was indeed a resounding success. Held on Oct. 17 at the McCarran Ranch on the lower Truckee River, the derby attracted a total of 18 contestants who caught and released a number of notably good-sized brown and rainbow trout.
Just as importantly, according to Jason Barnes, a member of the University’s Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society, the event made a profit of $1,000.
“It’s definitely the biggest fundraiser the club has ever had,” Barnes said.
The money will go directly into repair work and vegetation restoration along the Truckee, as well as the surrounding habitat on McCarran Ranch. Additional profit of more than $800 will also be used for the Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society for field trips and costs associated with the event.
“The students really did a phenomenal job,” said Natural Resources and Environmental Science professor Kelley Stewart, one of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources’ clubs advisors. “They did everything. I’m so proud of them.”
Stewart said that in particular, Barnes and fellow student Nova Simpson did an outstanding job in organizing the event. So much so that the Nature Conservancy is encouraging them to turn the derby into a twice-a-year event.
First place went to local angler Mikey Weir who caught two 17.5-inch rainbows. Second place went to Ryan Shea who caught 17.25- and 10.5-inch rainbows, and third place went to Mike Curtis who caught 11.5-, 10-, and 9- rainbows. Weir donated his prize, a Orvis Helios 9’ 5 weight, four-piece Rod Set valued at $775 ($1,014 with reel), to the student chapter.
The derby, held in near-perfect conditions under blue skies and temperatures near 70 degrees, was followed by a barbecue and slate of speakers. Patti Bakker with the Nature Conservancy talked about the McCarran Ranch restoration project, and Lisa Heki with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service talked about the biology and movement of the local fish species, as well as native cutthroat restoration efforts.
The Western Section Representative of the Wildlife Society, Don Yasuda, came up from Sacramento to show his support of the event and the new University student chapter.
Among the key contributors and supporters of the event were: Mary Adams, Melany Aten, Kevin Badik, Jason Barnes, Bob Barnes, Robert Barnes, Liz Berry, Kate Blubaugh, Ashley Fanning, Jessica Felton, Damira Gulvara Burkan, Kevin Keef, Jade Keehn, Marjorie Matocq, Sabrina Morano, Nova Simpson, Tom Smith, Kelley Stewart and Thad Heater.