Smith River Rancheria Team Wins Chopper Westbrook Derby
Written By: Dan Bacher, March 21, 2013
Location: Smith River, Chetco River,
(Smith River) The 31st annual "Chopper Westbrook" CA- ORE Steelhead Derby was a great success, despite the small turnout of teams participating. The derby consisted of 11 teams of 4 not including the guides.
The Smith outfished the Chetco. The first place team was Troy Travis, Tyler Travis, Kurt Miller and Jaytuk Steinruck from the Smith River Rancheria. They landed 13 steelhead with a total of 352 inches while fishing with Phil Desautels of Phil’s Smiling Salmon Guide Service and Jim Bansemer.
“We caught all of the fish on roe and Fish Pills,” said Desautels.
Little Ray’s Tackle team of Nick Angelie, Eric Schwelki, Robert Folkner and Tommy Chew took second place by landing 8 fish. The Mondavi Vineyards team of Marc Mondavi, Jeff Richardson, Ronnie Richardson and Nate George won third place with 7 fish.
Big fish honors went to the 30-year-derby participant 87 year old Sally Tanner of Ferndale, She caught and released a 36-1/2 incher with guide Kevin Hicks.
During the derby, a total of 67 steelhead were landed with 39 on the Chetco with an average length of 27.6 inches and 29 on the Smith with an average of 26.6 inches.
The Cal-Oregon Derbies benefit the Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery and local fish projects, and this derby is named after ‘Chopper’ Westbrook who founded the event 31 years ago with Hank Westbrook. The next Cal-Oregon Derby is the Hank “Raider’ Westbrook Steelhead Derby on March 7 through March 9.
The derbies consist of teams made up of four men and two guides. These teams are then divided into an A team and a B team. On Friday, the two-man/1 guide, A team will fish Oregon's Chetco River, while the B team fishes the Smith River. On Saturday, the teams switch to fish the opposite river.
“The nice thing was almost everybody caught a fish,” according to Desautels. “The Smith River in its low and clear condition fished as good as it has all year. On Friday it was 1 to 4 fish per boat, everybody had on as well as another chance or two.
The season is slowly winding down. "We still have fish in both rivers,” added Desautels. "We got some rain the past couple days and the water has come up and has a little color. “Back To Reports