A Maple Ridge fly fisherman established that he’s one of the best in the world at his craft.
Todd Oishi, a seasoned competitive fly fisher from Maple Ridge, was selected to compete with one of two national teams as a member of Team Canada White. Both teams were sent by Fly Fishing Canada to represent the country at this year’s Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championship.
The event took place in Mont Tremblant, Que., and there were 14 teams, consisting of 76 competitors, from 11 countries. They who competed in a three-day international fly fishing competition.
Fly Fishing Canada, the national governing body for competitive fly fishing, has fielded a team at every Commonwealth and World Fly Fishing Championship since its conception in 1989, but had never won a team medal at either of these two prestigious events.
This year’s two Canadian teams were carefully selected in hopes of ending the country’s 28-year drought, and bringing home Canada’s first team medal at an international fly fishing championship, said Oishi.
This year’s Commonwealths consisted of five three-hour sessions of fly fishing that were held over a period of three days on two river and three lake venues.
The eligible species of fish for scoring points included rainbow, brown, brook and lake trout.
All fishing was performed with barbless hooks and on a strictly-enforced catch and release basis.
At the conclusion of the Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championship, Team Canada White, which consisted of Oishi and John Beaven from B.C.; Donald Thom and Colin Huff from Quebec; Keefer Pittfield, Ivo Balinov, David Forgeron, Ian Troup and Jeremiah Hamilton from Ontario, had finished in first place.
They also had the widest margin and most convincing victories in the history of the Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships.
A standing ovation was given by the rest of the teams and spectators as the Canadians made their way through the crowd toward the podium to receive their gold medals at the Closing Ceremonies.
“This was indeed a great moment for competitive fly fishing in Canada, as Team Canada’s day to proudly stand on the podium had finally arrived,” said Oishi.
The Team Scotland men made an incredible comeback on the final day, climbing from eighth place to second place, to snag the silver medal. Team Australia Gold, who at one point sat in first place, finished the championship with the bronze medal.