Local fly fisher wins silver, bronze medals from world championship

Fly fisher reels in medals

A local Kamloops fly fisher brought home two medals from the international 2023 Masters and Ladies World Fly Fishing Championship, beating out expert fishers from around the world.

Kathy Ruddick, who said she’s been involved with the championship since 1997, brought home a silver medal for Team Canada among 10 international teams and a bronze medal for individual result last Friday.

“A team was formed last year and we placed silver on the podium, which was amazing for a new green team,” said Ruddick.

“Six women — one from Quebec, two from Alberta, one from Prince George, myself, and then another one from Comox, and we all got together.”

Ruddick said it was a “whole different ballgame” competing against teams from across the globe, including from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Netherlands, Scotland, and England.

Teams were given sessions of three hours from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at different locations each day from Monday to Friday.

“A lot of early mornings and a lot of hard work and a lot of focus, and you have to get on a lake and in three hours you have to find fish to figure out where they're at, what they're eating,” said Ruddick.

“You cannot anchor a boat, you cannot use like indicators. You have to drift in a boat, and it's quite different.”

Despite being in friendly waters, Ruddick said the competition is still fierce.

“The other countries have techniques and flies that we're not aware of. And to assume that you have the killer fly pattern and everything would be arrogant,” said Ruddick.

“You also have to be very aware of different things they use in their countries, and are they a good application here?”

Ruddick said the fish caught during the championship were measured and released and weren’t killed.

The Canadian Masters team brought home fourth place overall among 12 teams, with team member Mike Learmonth bringing home a silver medal for his individual performance.

Ruddick gave kudos to the volunteers who helped organize the world class championship.

“This is such a unique fishery, It's so unique. It's well respected around the world that this event was held here,” said Ruddick.

“I’m a world traveler for fishing, and we're very lucky.”

Ruddick said she has previously owned a fly fishing shop in Vancouver and co-hosted a TV show titled Reel Adventures with Gilligan’s Island actress Dawn Wells.

“It's been part of my life — has been my life for many, many years.”

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