SUBLETTE COUNTY — The 6th annual Fishing for the Fight tournament brought anglers from across the county who reeled in more than trout from the pristine waters flowing through Sublette County. Chauncey Goodrich, the founder and president of the nonprofit organization, told the Pinedale Roundup that this year’s limited entry event, held July 14-16, was the best yet, netting tens of thousands of dollars. Thanks to the generous contributions, Fishing for the Fight has given more than a half-million dollars — $591,821.02 to residents of Sublette County and neighboring LaBarge who are diagnosed with cancer, chronic illness and intellectual or developmental disabilities, since its inception in 2017. An 11-member volunteer board oversees the 501(c)3 organization.
More than 100 people traveled to Sublette County for the multi-day fly-fishing tournament, an added boost to the local business community. Among them was Dr. Carl Allen, an oncologist specializing in treatment of blood cancers at Texas Children’s Hospital. During an awards banquet and dinner held July 16, Dr. Allen addressed the crowd, stating, “When a child gets sick, really the whole family gets sick (…) and in order for you to get the best care, sometimes you have to go to a specialized center. When I heard about Fishing for the Fight, I thought ‘this is an amazing example of what’s missing.’ Yes, we need money for research. Yes, we need to find better ways to cure people. But once they go home, we need ways for them to have the highest quality of life, and when they get sick we need to find ways for them to get to Salt Lake City or Texas or wherever for everyone to get access to the best care.”
Dr. Allen added, “Really, I came [to Fishing for the Fight] to see what’s going on and I think the whole world can learn from the example of what you’re doing here.”
Each team consisted of two fishing contestants who used flies and rigs with three or less single, barbless hooks. All species of trout were counted in the scoring, with each team allowed to select 10 trout to measure during the day. All fish not selected for measurement were immediately released.
Team High Lonesome, consisting of Paul Ulrich and Shea Atkins and guided by Dan Tolson took home first place with 3,590 points pulled in off the Hoback River on Jackson Fork Ranch.
Second place went to Team Put’m Back EIRMC, comprised of Jeff Sollis and Chris Fergison, who were guided by Brad Health along the Hoback River on the Jackson Fork Ranch. The pair earned a total of 3,314 points. Team Circus Peanuts came in third place, with anglers Matt Elliott and Bill Klyn, guided by Eric Oram, reeling in a total of 2,618 points with guide Eric Oram on the Boulder Creek. Landowners Doc and Jane Johnston and Lary Lozier donated this water. The annual event would not be possible without the permission and cooperation of various landowners — a complete list of landowners can be found at fishingforthefight.org.
Team Set & Forget caught the first fish of the tournament at a time of 10 seconds. Teams Reel Tight and Circus Peanuts tied for the biggest fish, measured at 23 inches. Team High Lonesome caught the most fish, pulling in a total of 167.
Numerous items, including fine art and a guided fishing trip anywhere in the world, were auctioned off, helping raise thousands of dollars during the final day of the event.
For more information or to request assistance with medical needs, visit www.fishingforthefight.org.