The Flaming Gorge Fish Derby was established in 1984 to not only let sportsmen vie for large cash and prizes but to help the local area businesses kick off their summer season with some much-needed tourism funds.
This event established in 1984 under permit by the USFS started out hosting 300 teams. Lucerne Valley Marina hosted a record 377 three person teams competing for over $90,000 in cash and prizes fishing for Lake Trout, Rainbow/Cutthroat Trout, Kokanee Salmon, Smallmouth Bass, Catfish and Brown Trout. There is a youth category as well and everyone enjoys seeing these young anglers compete. Prizes include Polaris ATV, Merc trolling motors, coolers, fishing supplies, camping and hunting gear. Contestants have come from Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, California, Virginia and as far away as Australia. The Flaming Gorge Fish Derby has become one of the largest inland water fishing events in the USA.
Though the prizes were big the fishermen’s' hearts were bigger. Team 186 made up of Brandon Johnson, Travis Reginek and Jeff Jones won the "Most Honest Fishermen" award. They weighed in a Kokanee Salmon but it was accidentally recorded in the Brown Trout category. That error put them in the #1 place for $1700 for Brown Trout. As the awards ceremony was starting Brandon rushed in to notify Derby officials of the mistake and withdrew that fish so that they would not be awarded 1st place. Brandon stated, "none of us could have slept taking that trophy and money for a fish we didn't catch, karma would have caught up to us." Instead, the Derby awarded them $200 for their honesty and a free entry into the 2017 event.
The FG Fish Derby is also a platform for helping local veterans’ programs. It is always good to give back to these programs and we look forward to helping them get donations.