Winning rainbow pushes 16 pounds at Lake Pend Oreille derby

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Courtesy photo Aimee McCorkle, of Athol, who serves as the secretary of the Lake Pend Oreille Angler’s Club, landed an 11.42-pound Kamloops rainbow last weekend at the club’s spring derby. Her daughter, Ashlynn, 10, won her age division with a 31-inch rainbow.

Aimee McCorkle was still in bed in the fo’c’sle of her and husband Rick’s fishing boat near Whiskey Rock last weekend when she heard the reel start to buzz.

She jumped out onto the deck, waking up to a Gerrard rainbow trout ripping line off the reel.

Good morning, let’s rock and roll.

McCorkle, the secretary of the Lake Pend Oreille Angler’s Club, placed third in last week’s spring derby with her 11.42-pound rainbow that measured 32 ½ inches. Wayne Hall placed first with a 31 ¾-inch, 15.7-pound fish, and Marty Jones’ 33-inch, 11.56-pound rainbow earned second place.

The club’s derby works off the honor system, taping fish, shooting pictures and releasing the Gerrards — also called Kamloops rainbows — back into North Idaho’s biggest and deepest water body.

“Our club’s mission is to focus on getting our lake back to a trophy fishery, so more record fish can come out of the lake,” McCorkle said. “In the four-day derby, we killed four fish that I am aware of.”

Catching them wasn’t always easy.

McCorkle and her family fished more than two days, spending a night at the Whiskey Rock campground trying to avoid the raft of debris from the high water that pushed its way south toward Idlewild Bay.

“It was tough fishing,” McCorkle said. “We got scooted to the side and the north because we had to stay away from the debris.”

Logs, mats of dirt and needles and tree limbs lifted from shore and the bays around the Clark Fork delta looked like moving islands.

“It was as far as I could see,” she said. “It looked like you could walk across it.”

McCorkle fought her rainbow, a spawned female that still had eggs, for a half hour.

“It didn’t jump,” she said. “But it held down really hard.”

The spring derby also awarded anglers for the mackinaw of the day — Becky Morrison’s 38-inch, 20.84-pound lake trout won the event — and anglers could scoop buoys in for prizes up to $100. McCorkle’s daughter, Ashlynn, won the club’s youth division with a 31-inch rainbow.

“It was girls’ weekend on the boat,” McCorkle said.

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