Armed with a new gold medal from a national fly fishing championship, Maple Ridge’s Todd Oishi had no time to rest on his laurels.
Instead, the head coach of the Canadian Youth National Fly Fishing Team’s West Coast division returned home to Maple Ridge this week, and went right to work gearing up for a huge fishing competition set in his own backyard this weekend.
The provincial youth championships are happening in Maple Ridge this Saturday and Sunday, with 16 teens aged 13 to 19 years old coming to fish on two lakes and rivers.
They'll be competing for provincial titles and medals, Oishi explained, noting a majority of the contenders are from the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, but they have one coming from Squamish, and another from Fraser Lake (12 hours away).
"The kids will be fishing from boats on Mike Lake and Rolley Lake for two sessions on Saturday – spectators are most welcome – and they'll be fishing several sections of the Stave and Alouette rivers on Sunday, for the river fishing portion of the championships," said Oishi, who is the founder, organizer, and gopher for the event.
"This event promises to be much larger next year, as it has already generated a lot of interest amongst the schools and fly fishing clubs," he added.
"We'll definitely be searching for sponsors and more volunteers to help out next year."
• Just back from nationals
Oishi returned home early Saturday evening from competing at the 2013 Canadian National Fly Fishing Championships, which were held last week in Calgary, Alta.
The 55 competitors at this year’s championship competed over a period of three days, on three sections of the Bow River and two community lakes.
Competitors came from eight Canadian provinces and territories and gathered together to hold a fly fishing school for kids, a conservation symposium, and to generally celebrate fly fishing through friendly-spirited competition.
The targeted fish species for this year’s competition were whitefish, rainbow, brown, cutthroat, and brook trout.
An impressive total of 691 trout were caught and released during the five sessions, with the largest fish measuring in at a whopping 63 centimeters, Oishi explained.
At the conclusion of the national championships, Oishi and his teammates won the team gold medal and Bob Jones Memorial Cup, with all five team members finishing in the Top 7 positions.
Oishi won both of his lake sessions, and placed first and second on two of this three-river sessions, which had him sitting in first place overall during the first four sessions of the championship.
In the end, he was locked in a four-way tie for third place that was broken by fish points, and resulted him finishing a respectable fifth overall - just narrowly missing the individual gold medal by only a single fish during the fifth session.
This brings Oishi’s current medal count at the Canadian National Fly Fishing Championships to a total of six gold and three bronze medals (individual and team combined).
Earlier this summer Oishi’s team won the team gold medal, and he finished second-place overall and was awarded the silver individual medal at the 2013 North American Loch-Style Fly Fishing Championships.
At the conclusion of last season, Oishi competed on a multi-national team at The America Cup International Fly Fishing Tournament in Vail, Colo., where his team won The Cup and a shiny set of team gold medals.
In recognition of his performance throughout the past year, Oishi was presented with an individual silver medal by the Trout Legend competitive fly fishing community, as a result of being ranked second in North America on the 2012 North American Competitive Fly Fishing Leader Board, which tracks and compiles the results and data from competitions all across North America.
He currently holds the record for the most medals (17) awarded to a Canadian competitor at the national and international level.
Oishi currently serves as the head coach and mentor of the West Coast Division of the Canadian Youth National Fly Fishing Team.
He is organizing and hosting the 2013 B.C. Provincial Youth Fly Fishing Championships that are taking place in Maple Ridge this upcoming weekend.
Youth from the ages of 13 to 18, from all over British Columbia and neighbouring provinces, will be competing on two lakes and two river venues on Saturday and Sunday.
Oishi’s website forum at www.innovativeflyfisher.com/forum has for more information on the B.C. Provincial Youth Fly Fishing Championships, and for details on upcoming competitions and events that are being held in the Maple Ridge area and other parts of British Columbia.
@ Copyright 2013