Nfld. & Labrador

Dildo fishing derby to return 3 years after salmon squabble

After being halted by controversy in 2016, there'll be some new rules and regulations when the Dildo Pond fishing derby resumes this year.

All fish caught in Dildo Pond now eligible for derby — except eels

Terry Snow, organizer of the fishing derby on Dildo Pond, says changes have been made to avoid the trouble from three years ago. (Ted Dillon/CBC)

Three years after a controversial catch put a stop to the Dildo Pond fishing derby, the event is set to return Feb. 9 and 10 — with some new rules and regulations.

Owen White of New Harbour landed the largest entry in the derby — by far — in 2016, but something seemed a bit fishy with White's fish.

At the time, the rules clearly stated that only brown trout and brook trout would be eligible, but after DNA testing by experts with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, it was found that White had caught a salmon.

This is the salmon that is stirred up controversy at the Dildo Pond fishing derby in 2016. (Facebook)

Organizer Terry Snow says that forced him to annul all results and refund participants their $25 entry fees.

"Based on the information that we were receiving from the Department of Fisheries, they pretty much wanted us to return to them, to their possession, every fish that was caught in the pond," he said.

"It was kind of an impossible task at best, so I ended up giving everybody their money back and giving the prizes back."

'If it can't swim, you can't win'

Snow said the results in 2016 were disappointing, so changes are being made this time around. The derby will be catch-and-release for pretty much any fish in the pond — except for eels.

"If they can catch a fish, they can bring it up." he said. "We're going to weigh it right on the spot and release it right back into the pond. That way, nobody really has to be concerned about whether or not they have a salmon in their possession.… We're just going to release everything that's caught."

Snow said competitors just have to catch the fish and keep it alive to have it checked by derby officials.

"The rule is: if it can't swim, you can't win."

There have been mixed reviews to the return of the derby, Snow said, but he believes any concerns have been addressed. 

By allowing whatever is in the pond, we shouldn't be subject to any DNA testing this time.- Terry Snow

"We've addressed the parking concern on the roads here, we've addressed the fish coming out of the pond," he said.

"By allowing whatever is in the pond, we shouldn't be subject to any DNA testing this time."

Snow said tickets for the derby will go on sale next week.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from On The Go

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