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Ron Nowlen of Toledo boated this 12-pound, 4-ounce steelhead to take first place in Saturday’s Steelhead Fishing Derby. Photo: John Markon / The Daily News

Drizzle on another cool summer day didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the 61 kids and adults who showed up for the inaugural Toledo Steelhead Fishing Derby.

Contestants gathered on the banks of the Cowlitz River or in a boats on the chilly water July 16 in an effort to catch the biggest steelhead and claim cash prizes.

Anglers landed and weighed in 21 steelhead, the biggest coming from Ron Nowlen of Toledo at 12.5 pounds.

Following the Derby, participants enjoyed a free barbecue together as over 60 prizes were given away, including $200 for the biggest fish, $100 for the second biggest, and $50 to the mystery weight which was seven pounds.

Steelhead, which are actually an ocean-returning trout and not salmon as many think, are larger than a normal Cowlitz River trout but seemingly small compared to salmon. Unlike salmon, steelhead can spawn as many as three or four times in their life span.

None of the winning fish ended up in the celebration barbecue, as participants got to keep their fish.

“Next year we hope to generate even more interest in this event as it was fun to see everyone of all ages enjoying the day on the river, even, despite the weather,” says Rick Lovell, coordinator for the Toledo Steelhead Fishing Derby.

Vision:TOLEDO would like to thank:
Riverview Food Mart/Flying K
Mrs. Beesley’s
Dave’s Chevron and Subway
Four Corners general store Castle Rock
Winlock IGA
Toledo’s Daily Grind
Betty’s Drive-in
Hair it is
Toledo Lions Club
King Beverage
Sunset Auto Napa Castle Rock
Gunners Auto Parts Castle Rock
Gateway food and fuel Castle Rock
Los Pepe’s
Liquor store Toledo (Jerry Pratt)
L&E bottling
One More Thing, 2nd hand
Brian’s Transmission
Sunshine Liquidator
Toledo Hair Studio
Sandy’s Pizza
Toledo Hardware
Barrier Dam Campground
Ethel Market and Sporting goods
Sunbirds Sporting Goods
Timberland Bank
Toledo Telephone
Riverview Sporting goods