Pa. woman wins $4K for biggest fish in OC Derby

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 August 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Debbie Murphy keeps up an Orleans County Fishing Derby tradition by kissing the winning fish in the derby. Murphy won the $4,000 grand prize with the heaviest fish, a 27-pound, 7-ounce Chinook salmon.

Destiny Bickel, 13, of Burt holds the heaviest brown trout, an 18-pound, 11-ounce fish. She won $500 for winning the division.

CARLTON – The winner of the Orleans County Fishing Derby just started coming to Orleans County to fish about two years ago. Debbie Murphy of New Albany, Pa., made the trip to the county on Monday.

She landed a 27-pound, 7-ounce Chinook salmon that day. Murphy and her boyfriend were on his boat, about 2 miles from the Oak Orchard Harbor when she reeled in the heaviest fish for the Orleans County Fishing Derby. She received her $4,000 grand prize during an awarded ceremony this afternoon.

Murphy and her boyfriend Allen Hubler fished in Orleans after some of their friends talked up the area. The couple hasn’t been disappointed.

“It’s always a good time,” she said. “There’s always the chance when that line goes off that something big could be on it.”

Hubler landed the second biggest Chinook in the salmon division with a 26-pound, 3-ounce fish. Murphy caught hers on Monday morning. After they brought it in to a weigh station, they returned to lake and Hubler caught his big fish, which was good for a $300 prize for second in its division.

Debbie Murphy said she caught the derby winner with a silver-streaked spoon.

Murphy said she has been fishing all of her life. She said she still has a lot of learn about fishing in lake Ontario. She caught the grand prize fish with a silver-streaked spoon. She said she will be back to fish in Lake Ontario again.

“I love this area,” she said. “It’s a very beautiful area.”

The Albion Rotary Club organizes the annual derby. Typically about 700 register for the competition, which runs for about two weeks. This year the entries was down to 531, mainly due to a tough final week with cool weather and choppy waters.

This year’s derby winner was smaller than the one last year. Foster Miller of Holley won in 2013 with a 34-pound, 13-ounce Chinook.

The derby gives out $8,800 in total prizes. Besides $4,000 for the biggest fish, the four division leaders each get $500, followed by $300 for second, $200 for third, $100 for fourth and $50 for fifth. The Orleans County resident that catches the biggest fish gets $200. Heather Saeva won that prize with a 23-pound, 15-ounce Chinook salmon.

Mike Schaeffer holds the division-winning rainbow trout, a 14-pound, 1-ounce fish.

The following were the division leaders:

Bill Magee of Northwood, Ohio with a 26-pound, 13-ounce Chinook; Destiny Bickel of Burt with an 18-pound, 11-ounce brown trout; Mike Schaeffer of Sligo, Pa., with a 14-pound, 1-ounce rainbow trout; and David Johnson of Rochester with a 17-pound, 6-ounce lake trout.

Ashley Ward has been chairman of the derby for the Rotary Club for many years. He said this will be the last time he will be the chairman. He is handing off the reins to Bill Downey and Brad Shelp.

“It’s kept my mind occupied and it’s kept me busy,” Ward told about 100 people gathered for the awards program at the Carlton Recreation Hall. “I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve enjoyed seeing you folks every year.”

Ashley Ward serves as emcee at the awards banquet. Ed Fancher, left, is treasurer for the derby.

Marlee Diehl of the Albion Rotary Club presents Ashley Ward with a celebratory cake for his years of leading the fishing derby.