LEWISTON — Hundreds of anglers braved wet, chilly weather Saturday for the final day of the Clearwater Snake Steelhead Derby.
When the derby wrapped, the overall winner was Wayne Barney of Lewiston, who hauled in a 19.1-pound monster for the $2,000 grand prize.
Ken Hall of Spokane took second with a 17.23-pound catch.
Robert Bass of Spokane, who had the longest winning streak in the tournament’s history, didn’t land the top fish this year, but he placed second overall in total pounds of steelhead caught: 46.42 pounds, just a half a pound less than the leader, Jeff McClure.
The annual derby, which kicked off Nov. 5, attracted more than 550 anglers from all over the Northwest, said Rodger Koefod, who was volunteering Saturday at the Southway dock.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “It brings more than 100 people into the valley. They’re staying at hotels and patronizing local restaurants.”
Some anglers pulled real lunkers out of the murky depths, while others, well, just got skunked. Dave Bauman of Spokane Valley, Wash., was part of the former.
Bauman reeled in nine fish during the week, including a 15.63-pounder that put him in third place in the FishSkins competition with a combined weight of 42.28 pounds. Bauman also won money in the mystery fish competitions Monday and Thursday.
“I had an excellent adventure,” he said while hooking up his boat Saturday at the Southway boat ramp. “It was a good way to spend a week’s vacation.”
Bauman spent 12 to 14 hours fishing each day and said he had the best luck just below the railroad bridge on the Clearwater.
“I caught the biggest and nicest fish over there,” he said.
Others weren’t so lucky. Verl Long of Clarkston was headed home Saturday morning after catching just a sucker fish.
“I got a couple of fish last year, but they weren’t keepers,” he said. “It’s fun fishing, though.”