Boise Valley Fly Fishers
Since 1971


Virtual Whitefish Derby

February marks the month BVFF traditionally holds the White Fish Derby, an annual event for nearly 50 years. The derby kicks off our annual outings and provides a fun event to get out and spend time in Idaho's great outdoors.

This derby began as a way to manage the whitefish population and many fish were harvested and taken home to eat. The meat is very delicate, quite tasty, and when smoked is a culinary treat.

As the derby progressed, our knowledge of whitefish grew to understand this fish as an indicator species of a healthy fishery. This resulted in the derby evolving into the catch-and-release format it is today. Today, harvesting fish to eat is less important to many of us and releasing fish allows other anglers the opportunity to catch this very same fish.

In 2022, BVFF added a virtual derby that today runs the entire month of February. Fly anglers are allowed to pursue whitefish in any fishery in Idaho, take a photo of their catch against a measuring stick, and submit the photo to see how it measures up against others. The weather can be rather chilly and windy; however, the fish are beginning to come out of their winter sluggishness and feeding regularly.

A one-day, in-person derby is held in March and takes place on the South Fork of the Boise River below Anderson Ranch Reservoir. Contestants position for their favorite reach, and fish head-to-head under the same river and weather conditions. This is the real test to determine who is the king of whitefish angling.


  • All participants must be current BVFF members prior to registration for the event.
  • Each participant must register for the event. Registration is accomplished using the registration link for the event on the website. You must be a BVFF member to register. Guests are welcome to participate; however, they do not qualify for the prizes.
  • Derby participants will post directly to our BVFF Facebook Page or send their photo to In your submittal add the following data:
    • A picture of the whitefish held next to a tape measure. Make sure the tape is readable. See document HERE for methods of measuring.  The electronic picture must be properly time/date-stamped to have been caught during the open period of the derby. (Suggest using cell phone camera)
    • Date and Time whitefish was caught
    • Location (which river, e.g. Boise Main, SF Boise, etc.)
    • Fly used (optional)
  • Note: Members without Facebook access can mail their entries to
  • The derby begins Feb 1, 2024 and will conclude on Feb 29, 2024. Registration will be closed after this date.
  • By posting you are giving BVFF rights to post your picture on our website, Facebook and Instagram.
  • There is no fee for entering the derby.

Please use this (Facebook) Hashtag on your photo's: #VWFD-id

PRIZES:  Prizes are awarded for winners of the white fish derby as selected each year based on the fish's length.

You can enter numerous times. The pictures are not limited to Whitefish. Post pictures about your day on the water.

Bottom line, go fishing!


There are several ways you can measure your catch for the derby.  These are documented HERE.

Tips On Catching Whitefish

For some help and tips on whitefish, check out the BVFF video HERE

Virtual Whitefish Derby

 Year  1st Place   2nd Place 3rd Place  
 2024  Brian Martin  20"  Johnny Rogers 18" Troy Pearse 18"

Whitefish Derby Winners

 Year  Winner  Winning Fish  2nd Place 
   We do not have earlier records     
   Steve Adkins     

 Troy Pearse

 2022  Richard Jones    19.0"   
 2023  Steve Banks    18.5"   
 2024  Dennis Moore    17.5"  Kelly O'Dell 17"
 Year Winner Winning Fish  We do not have earlier records   Steve Adkins  2021

 Troy Pearse

   18.0" 2022 Richard Jones   19.0" 2023 Steve Banks   18.5" 2024 Dennis Moore   17.5"


BVFF is a supporter and strong proponent of Catch-And-Release angling.  For our derby we would like to encourage the safe return of fish caught, and to handle fish properly for their best chance of survival.

Whitefish are NOT a rough or "trash" fish, but an important native fish to the mountain west and Idaho.  Please consider the following:

  • Use a net to reduce stress on the fish. Rubber nets are the best.
  • Don’t drag fish onto the bank, it’s hard on their head and gills.
  • Wet your hands before handling the fish and keep your fingers out of their gills.
  • Keep the fish wet. Minimize time out of water.
  • Have your camera and ruler ready
  • Give the fish time to recover before release.

    Steve Banks Memorial Whitefish Derby - March 23, 2024

    “Fish, Food, and Fabulous Prizes”


    This event is a long-time traditional and annual outing for BVFF, held at the South Fork Boise River (below Anderson Ranch Dam), when weather and road conditions permit.

    The derby is open to the public, with pre-registration and a nominal entry fee.  Prizes may be awarded for the largest and most whitefish caught during the fishing time period.  The event concludes with a chili feed and winner announcement, held at the Village Boat Launch.

    Tradition specifies that the derby winner is responsible for cooking the chili at the succeeding year derby event.

    The Whitefish Derby is a great reason to get out on the river in the winter and practice your nymphing skills. “Getting Out” is the primary objective, but we do have a fishing competition. The derby is a catch-and-release event. You may choose to keep fish for eating.

    Weather  is always unpredictable for the event in February, ranging from total whiteout snow to a bluebird winter day with sunshine and no wind.  Driving to the South Fork in winter can sometimes be a challenge, with an icy road, or very rarely,  gumbo mud, down to the canyon.  Participants should be prepared to handle these driving conditions.

    The event may be cancelled for safety concerns if conditions warrant it.


    • Longest Whitefish
    • Second Longest Whitefish


    • First place chooses between:
      • $25 Gift Card to Idaho Angler, or
      • BVFF Logo Buck Folding Knife
    • Second place receives the remaining prize

    [ Categories and prizes may vary for each year's derby ]

    Copyright © BVFF 2013 ---. All Rights Reserved.
    The Boise Valley Fly Fishermen, Inc is a non-profit corporation organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, incorporated in the State of Idaho
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