The Larose brothers from Maple Ridge are young fishing enthusiasts who decided to join an ice fishing derby at Stump Lake. Hoping to compete for the top prize the brothers had high hopes of reeling in a very big catch. Unfortunately what they caught was unimpressive by their standards but surprisingly, their catches were big enough for them to both place in the top three of the event. 

On Sunday, January 29, the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club hosted their annual ice fishing derby. The event was hosted at Stump Lake for the first time ever. 

“The turnout exceeded our expectations,” said Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club President BJ Moore.

“It was our first time at this lake so we had no idea how many people would attend. Even though it was cold, we had twice as many entries as we did on the previous lake we were at.”    

There were 313 people who signed up for the derby. People from Armstrong, the Okanagan, and the Lower Mainland all attended in the hopes of winning the event. Among the contestants were brothers Carson and Weston Larose from Maple Ridge. 

Carson, 13, and Weston 9, both were taught by their father Ryan how to fish at a very young age. 

“We go up every year to ice fish up at Stump Lake,” said Ryan. “This time my uncle said ‘why don’t you guys join the derby coming up?’ so we did.” 

The boys had high hopes for a big catch as Stump Lake was known for their large rainbow trouts. Early on, Carson Larose caught a trout that the family believed wasn’t anything to write home about. By noon, the younger Weston caught a similar sized trout to his brother. 

With the deadline for the competition at 2 p.m., the boys decided to hand in their catches for judging, hoping that it was big enough to win some consolation prizes, as first place was out of the question in their minds. 

“I thought because others had such large fish that I probably wouldn’t get first place,” said Weston Larose, who was greatly surprised that his fish, weighing in at 5 lbs., won first place.

“I could not believe it. They had all those other guys so I really couldn’t believe that I won first place.” 

To the family’s surprise the older Larose tied for second place, with his trout registering 4 lbs. 15 oz. Officially he was awarded third place as he came to weigh in his catch later than the second place winner. 

“To win with the amount of people that were there was unbelievable,” said Ryan Larose. “I fish a lot, and I’ve been teaching them since they were really young. We do everything, from salmon fishing on the island to sturgeon fishing in the Fraser. That’s all these kids want to do, to fish at any time of the year.” 

As their prize, Weston received $1000 for his first place catch while Carson got $250 from his. The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club thanks all the sponsors as well as the volunteers who made this event possible. 

With a successful event this year, the club plans to return to Stump Lake for next year’s derby. The next event hosted by the club this year will be their annual Fathers Day fishing in June. Please visit Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club’s official Facebook page for more updates.