Monday, 24 June 2024

Annual Catfish Derby reels in records

Stephen Cassel of Oroville was all smiles on Sunday, May 17, 2009, as he showed off his winning 28.10-pound catfish, which made him the adult winner of the 26th annual Catfish Derby. The catfish later was released back into Clear Lake. Courtesy photo.

CLEARLAKE OAKS – Clearlake Oaks' annual Catfish Derby marked 2009 with the best turnout in its history, with great weather and plenty of big fish.

The Clearlake Oaks/Glenhaven Business Association sponsors the event – billed as the largest catfish derby west of the Mississippi. It began on noon on Friday and ran through noon on Sunday.


Derby volunteers and participants agreed this year was the best derby ever, said Dennis Locke, one of the group of hardy derby volunteers.

There were 510 adult entries and 119 kids entries, which are both derby records by a “substantial” margin, Locke said.

Fifty-nine percent of this year's 629 entries came from outside of Lake County – including Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho and Hawaii.

The derby weighed 143 fish – 113 caught by adults, 30 caught by children – totaling more than 1,700 pounds this year, said Gail Jonas, who leads the event, which raises money each year for Clearlake Oaks' annual July 4 fireworks display.

“It's becoming more of a family event,” said Jonas, noting that whole families come and enter in the derby, which began Friday and ended Sunday.

Stephen Cassel of Oroville was this year's adult derby winner. He caught a 28.10-pound catfish just after 8 a.m. Sunday to capture the title and take home a new boat, motor and trailer.

Eight-year-old Dylan Armstrong of Nice was the winner of the kids' derby, catching an 18.40-pound catfish at 8:45 p.m. Friday and winning a new quad all-terrain vehicle.




Eight-year-old Dylan Armstrong of Nice caught an 18.40-pound catfish on Friday, May 15, 2009, and won the kids' derby. His prize was a new quad all-terrain vehicle. Courtesy photo.



The catfish that Cassel and Armstrong caught to win their respective divisions were released back into Clear Lake, according to organizers.

Locke said more than $3,000 cash was awarded to other adult participants and $75 to kids. In addition, community members donated many raffle prizes for those entering the derby, including several fish rods and reels a derby participant donated.

Donations also were made for the awards for the youngest child participating – 4 years old – and for the child catching the smallest fish, which was 3.24 pounds.

Locke said more than 75 volunteers worked four straight days, some as long as 16 hours each day, to make the derby a success. This year's event also featured the inaugural Catfish Derby Cook-Off.

The full derby results are published below.

2009 Catfish Derby adult rankings

1. Stephen Cassel, Oroville, 28.10 pounds, caught 8:04 a.m. Sunday

2. Edward Rainey, Clearlake Oaks, 27.13 pounds, caught 9:43 a.m. Sunday

3. Tom Wheeler, Sutter, 21.11 pounds, caught 8:02 a.m. Saturday

4. Kevin Heins, Grants Pass, Ore., 21.07 pounds, caught 7:18 a.m. Saturday

5. David Fernandes, Clearlake, 19.59 pounds, caught 3:02 p.m. Saturday

6. Colleen Adair, Clearlake, 19.13 pounds, 7:02 a.m. Sunday

7. Troy Morgan, Loch Lomond, 19.13 pounds, caught 8:03 a.m Sunday

8. Matthew Ross, Clearlake, 19.07 pounds, caught 9:59 a.m. Sunday

9. C. Ferguson, Riverside, 19.01 pounds, caught 9:09 a.m. Saturday

10. Jeff Griffith, Woodland, 18.78 pounds, caught 11:31 a.m. Sunday

11. Steve Johnson, Oceanside, 18.70 pounds, caught 6:12 p.m. Saturday

12. Gary Simpson Sr., Yuba City, 18.63 pounds, caught 10:36 a.m. Sunday

13. Jorge Curiel, Vallejo, 18.35 pounds, caught 3:02 p.m. Saturday

14. Jason Costello, Lower Lake, 18.24 pounds, caught 11:01 p.m. Friday

15. Zach Medeiros, Yuba City, 18.10 pounds, caught 7:08 p.m. Friday

16. Lee Sayasombath, Santa Rosa, 18.10 pounds, caught 7:18 a.m. Saturday

17. John Handcock, Roseville, 18.06 pounds, caught 3:02 p.m. Saturday

18. Wade Stafford, Clearlake, 17.69 pounds, caught 10:37 a.m. Sunday

19. Omar Mandujano Jr., Healdsburg, 17.68 pounds, caught 12:01 p.m. Saturday

20. Jonathan Ganey, Garberville, 17.53 pounds, caught 9:39 a.m. Sunday

21. Joshua Lane, Hood River, Ore., 17.31 pounds, caught 10:39 p.m. Friday

2009 Catfish Derby children's rankings

1. Dylan Armstrong, Nice, 18.40 pounds, caught 8:45 p.m. Friday

2. Renato Mandujano, Healdsburg, 17.29 pounds, caught 1:37 p.m. Friday

3. Mical Wood, Clearlake, 16.53 pounds, caught 11:01 a.m. Sunday

4. Jerry Nelson, Clearlake, 16.24 pounds, caught 7:25 a.m. Sunday

5. Dakota McWethy, Lucerne, 15.02 pounds, caught 9:54 a.m. Saturday

6. TJ McDonnell, Kelseyville, 13.09 pounds, caught 7:12 a.m. Sunday

7. Robert Costello, Lower Lake, 12.58 pounds, caught 5:23 p.m. Friday

8. Guy Boyd Jr., Clearlake, 12.51 pounds, caught 8:24 a.m. Saturday

9. Georgia Schmit, Upper Lake, 12.13 pounds, caught 8:27 a.m. Sunday

10. Kasey Brown, Lower Lake, 11.50 pounds, caught 4:11 p.m. Saturday

Fish statistics

Total fish caught (143): Friday, 29; Saturday, 77; Sunday, 37

Total fish released (109): Friday, 25; Saturday, 48; Sunday, 36

Total fish kept (34): Friday, 4; Saturday, 29; Sunday, 1

Total weight: Friday, 335.55 pounds; Saturday, 908.09 pounds; Sunday, 518.58 pounds

Total fish poundage for the derby: 1,762.22

Largest fish for each day of the derby: Friday, 18.40 pounds (caught by Dylan Armstrong, Nice, winner of children's division); Saturday, 21.11 pounds (caught by Tom Wheeler of Sutter, No. 3 in adult division); Sunday, 28.10 pounds (caught by Stephen Cassel of Oroville, adult derby winner).

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .





Gail Jonas presents Oroville resident Stephen Cassel with his new boat, motor and trailer. Cassel won the adult division in the 26th annual Catfish Derby in Clearlake Oaks. Courtesy photo.




Kids' division winner Dylan Armstrong of Nice shows off his 18.40 pound catfish. Courtesy photo.

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