VIDEO: Inaugural Skidegate Food Gathering Fest reels in 365 donated salmon

Skidegate Band Council chief councillor Billy Yovanovich and deputy chief councillor Trent Moraes help unload fish catch at the George Brown Rec Centre during Food Gathering Fest 2020, which was held on Saturday, June 13. (Karissa Gall/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Skidegate Band Council chief councillor Billy Yovanovich and deputy chief councillor Trent Moraes were happy that 365 spring salmon were donated through Food Gathering Fest 2020 on Saturday, June 13. (Karissa Gall/Haida Gwaii Observer)
“Forgotten” prop fishing weights dropping out of the mouths of fish as Skidegate Band Council chief councillor Billy Yovanovich weighed them was a running joke at Food Gathering Fest 2020, held on Saturday, June 13. (Karissa Gall/Haida Gwaii Observer)
When a prop fishing weight was made to look like it dropped out of the mouth of a fish youth entrant Dom Williams was having weighed he decided to make a run for it, to the amusement of onlookers. Williams still won second prize of $300 for his catch, which clocked in at 20.17 pounds. (Karissa Gall/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Rookie Dan Burton took home the top prize of $2,000 for his catch at Food Gathering Fest 2020 on Saturday, June 13 in Skidegate, a spring salmon that weighed in at 28.77 pounds. (Karissa Gall/Haida Gwaii Observer)
In the youth category at Food Gathering Fest 2020, which was held on Saturday, June 13 in Skidegate, Lexi Russ won first prize of $500 for her catch, a spring salmon that weighed in at 22.48 pounds. (Karissa Gall/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Participants in the inaugural Skidegate Food Gathering Fest on June 13 donated enough spring salmon to have one for every day of the year.

Chief councillor Billy Yovanovich told the Observer he hoped to see 40 or 50 fish donated from “COVID catch 2020,” but the band council was overwhelmed by the 365 coveted spring salmon donated during the derby.

“Everybody was really generous,” Yovanovich said. “All these fish are going to homes that can use them.”

ALSO READ: Rivers flowing into Masset Inlet will not open to traditional sockeye fishing in 2020: CHN

More than 120 adults and 22 youth registered in the fest, which was sponsored by the band council and had no entrance fee.

“Times are tough for a lot of people,” Yovanovich said of the council’s decision to fund the event. “We’re trying to still have some fun things while we’re in these trying times.”

Some entrants set off to drop their lures as early as 5 a.m. on the Saturday morning and after a day of fishing fun, all entrants drove through the George Brown Rec Centre where the hanging weights of top contenders were recorded.

Dan Burton took home the highest prize of $2,000 for his catch, a spring salmon that weighed in at 28.77 pounds.

“Haawa to band council for making this happen. I’m totally pumped. I never expected this. I’m a rookie,” Burton said while accepting his prize, adding that he donated all of the fish he caught. “That’s what we wanted to do, just come and support.”

Nyla Burnside received second prize of $1,000 for her 27.11-pound salmon and Mandy Wesley won third prize of $500 for her 24.47-pound salmon.

In the youth category, Lexi Russ won first prize of $500 for her catch (22.48 pounds), Dom Williams won second prize of $300 (20.17 pounds) and Trace Swain won third prize of $200 (20.06 pounds).

Participants could either keep their fish or choose to donate them and be entered into a draw for one of many gift cards, which Yovanovich handed out when the weigh-in closed shortly after 8 p.m.

Correction: This story has been updated. A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled the name of chief councillor Billy Yovanovich.

ALSO READ: NBA comes to Skidegate

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email:
karissa.gall@blackpress.ca.


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