Here are the 2016 Masset Haida Lions derby winners to beat. From left to right are Kevin Humphries, whose halibut weiged in at 50.45 lbs; Hailey Holland, whose salmon tipped the scales at 17.78 lbs.; Dwayne Piercey, who landed a 23.02 lbs. salmon; Piercey’s son Jeremy, whose winning halibut was 22.26 lbs.; and Al Tuningley, whose salmon came in at 21.64 lbs. (File photo/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Lions go fish

Masset Haida Lions Club to co-host second annual fishing derby

Salmon and halibut will soon face a fearsome threat along northern Haida Gwaii — lions.

The Masset Haida Lions and Masset Legion are co-hosting the second annual fishing derby from June 9 to 11, and ticket sales are already roaring.

“We’ll be happy if we double it from last year,” said Kurt Evans, one of the organizers.

Fellow Lion and derby chair Donna Douglas said this year’s contest will feature a Saturday night dance at the Legion, in addition to the Sunday awards banquet.

Tickets are free for derby competitors and Legion members, $5 for anyone who drops by for a dance or a fish tale.

The derby is timed so that everyone can still fish Masset Inlet in case of poor weather, though last year most got out to their faraway and secret spots.

Regular sport fishing rules — for the halibut, fishers can land one each day, measuring no bigger than 133 by 83 cm.

Halibut prize winners will be judged on a combined weight of one fish over and one fish under 83 cm.

A scale will be ready at the Masset Legion for the official weigh-in and bragging photos.

Like last year, the top cash prizes for adults start at $1,000, and $200 for youth.

But the prize table is looking quite different.

“We’ll have a good mix this year,” said Evans, noting how many prizes go beyond fishing reels and tackle.

Gift certificates for Haida Inkk tattoos are up for grabs, as is a wood carving by Ernie Burnett and a pair of round-trip Pacific Coastal Airlines tickets to Vancouver. Businesses from Islands Sunrise to Wiah Point Adventures are also chipping in.

But the real head-turner comes courtesy of Dr. Dean Nomura — a free tooth cleaning at the Queen Charlotte dental office.

All proceeds from the derby will support the Lions’ youth-focused fundraising campaigns, while the dance will support the Legion.

The Lions recently sponsored the young filmmakers going to the Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival on Sunday, and a trip by Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay students who are helping restore ancient murrelet colonies near Lepas Bay.

Douglas said the Lions’ calendar still centres mainly on the Christmas telethon, though they are active year-round.

“This is more about getting us out there,” said Evans. “We might make a few bucks, and it all goes to the community.”

Derby tickets are $100 for adults, $20 for youth 18 and under, available from any of the Masset Haida Lions. For more info, visit the Masset Haida Lions Facebook page, or register early by emailing mhlionsclub@gmail.com.