Warriors and widows catch more than fish


September 1, 2016

Diana Zimmerman

Shane Pfenniger spent the morning out on the Columbia River with some new friends attending the Warriors and Widows Salmon Derby.

On Tuesday morning, 30 boats went out on the Columbia River in the early morning hours, ferrying 53 participants in the second annual Warriors and Widows Salmon Derby to prime locations for fishing.

Only 21 came back with a fish, but everyone seemed to be having a good time. Altogether, they caught 348.5 pounds of fish.

The event is organized by local volunteers and welcomes veterans and active servicemen and women as well as widows and children to Cathlamet to do a little fishing.

And feel a bit of warmth and appreciation from people who are grateful for their service.

"The community just came through for these guys," Bob Roche, the event organizer said. I'm really proud of this community. I'm glad we were able to show them a good time even though it was a short visit."

Besides taking people out of the river, volunteers donated prizes for raffles, demonstrated rod building, and fed 160 people.

The event was covered by local media and magazines representing nationl veterans' organizations.

"I had a complete blast," one participant, Christopher Pryce said. He'd won one of Bud Mickelsen's hand made rods and had stopped by to thank and compliment him for his work.

Diana Zimmerman

Christopher Pryce was thrilled with the fishing rod he won in the raffle. He stopped to thank Bud Mickelsen who made it. More photos at www.waheagle.com.

"I'm glad this little town came out and embraced us," he continued. "The hospitality was awesome, I felt at home.

Pryce is a native of Palmer, AK. He didn't catch any fish on Tuesday but he was fine with that.

"A bad day of fishing is better than the best day of work," he laughed.

Kevin Drury of Spanaway was there with his wife, Dawn and their daughter Christine.

"I almost caught a fish," Drury said. "It surfaced and let go!"

Drury had fished as a child and again on the Tigris River while serving in Baghdad.

"It was heat and death," he said of the place. "The fish were yucky."

"We're just blown away by what they have done," his wife Dawn said of the Salmon Derby. "All the fishermen that come out with us, the amazing amount of resources they have. It's neat. The hospitality is just great, we'll be back next year."


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