Friday, June 30, 2023

Thats a Wrap!

Scan this QR code to access the 2023 DPC photos folder and upload your own on the google drive app!

"802 Flies" at check in!

Well, the 2023 DPC is in the books and what a year it was! It all started Saturday morning at a very wet check in.  A steady downpour lead anglers to believe they were in for a most soggy day of fishing. Dressed in rain gear, picklers got their captains bags full of swag and some great flies donated by 802 flies & fly pucks from Stream & Brook Fly Fishing.  Speaking of 802 Flies, there was an impressive assortment of flies for purchase that most any bass or angler could refuse.  As soon as check in was over the rain stopped and anglers were greeted by the most glassy conditions Lake Champlain could possibly dish out. Depending on where you were, some people got wet in the afternoon/evening but the winds never came.  You could literally be in the middle of the broad lake and be throwing poppers. Definitely a welcome treat from the sometimes moody lake. The next morning was another first. Around 8am we looked north and saw what we thought was rain coming towards us. It wasn’t rain but wildfire smoke from the north. Within 20 minutes visibility was reduced and the air smelt of a campfire. Never a dull moment at the Pickle!!!

Anglers returned to the awards to submit scorecards and tell of their adventures while eating pizza from Pie in the Sky.  This year we skipped a visual slideshow. As enjoyable as it is to see the winning fishes, with intermittent service, it just takes too long to download the photos. As a result we were able to wrap up awards by 1:00pm! The awards are a great time for all but after 17 hrs of casting, people are ready for a hot shower and a couch. So, here is how it all panned out………………….

This years picklers put up some very impressive numbers with the whole lake being in play. In the end we had another 1st.  A three way tie for top individual angler! Ben Wilcox & Matt Stein of team Bash Badge X, along with Brendan Hare of team Basscar all boated 28 points each! Congrats to all three of them for such a solid performance. In the end there can only be one winner and per the DPC tie breaking rules, it was Ben Wilcox who took home the top indy prize and trophy. 2nd place was awarded to Matt Stedina and 3rd to Brendan Hare. Well done gentlemen!

Ben Wilcox & Matt Stedina of team "Bash Badge X"

In the team category, we saw more very outstanding scores. In 1st place it was Ben Wilcox and Matt Stedina of team Bash Badge X who put on a clinic and submitted 56 points! 2nd place was awarded to Brendan Hare and Tom Getz of team Basscar with an impressive 48 points. Just behind them in 3rd it was former champs Dan Russel and Dillon Brooker with 47 points. All and all, a huge showing from our top teams.

The largest fish is called the big pickle and for said fish there is a cash prize derived from a separate cash pool.  This year that pool was worth $830 dollars! Once again, we had another very close call to make as both Brendan Hare and Matt Stedina had bass measuring 20.25 inches. Under close review by our eagle eye/impartial judge ie. “Bubba” it was Brendan Hare who barely surpassed Mr. Wilcox and took home the big pickle prize of $830 dollars.

The big pickle on the stick

To Jr. angler Finn Barden of team "80 Grit Thumb"

The Jr. angler category is always a favorite of ours as it is often a family team making memories on the water together and we get to see budding anglers coming into their own. This years top Jr. angler put up some large numbers just like the adults. The top 2023 Jr. angler was Finn Barden of team “80 Grit Thumb” with a whopping 20 pts! That just might be a Jr. angler record. We would have to look back in the DPC database but either way, this young man hit it out of the park. To our Jr. anglers, Finn, Piper, Iris (our youngest) & Quinn, I think we can all agree, the kids are alright:)

Mr. Tom Getz of team "Basscar" with the winning Pike

In the pike category its was Mr. Tom Getz of team “Basscar” in 1st with a 32’ pike who just squeaked by Jake Borgenson of team “Smashing Pumpkin Seeds” who landed a 31” incher. The 3rd place pike was caught by Matt Dickstein of team “No Kiss Micropterus” measuring 26”.

Brian Cadoret of team "Kiss My Bass" with top exotic

This years exotic category was  yet another close call. Brian Cadoret of team “Kiss My Bass” took home the prize with a 31.5” bowfin, inching out Matt Dickstein of team “No Kiss Micropterus” who caught an impressive 31+ inch carp.

Brian Cadoret takes 1st in the "unoffical" paddle divsion

In the paddle divsion we had an unfortunate scoring snafu.  Two score cards slipped through as a motor team which has changed the offical results. This year the top paddler is Sean Cook of team "Basstards" with a solid 13 pts. His team mate J.D. came in second with 11 points. Thus, leaving Brian Cadoret with 3rd palce and 10 points. We have reach out to the offical winners and they will be awarded prizes of equal value as the unoffical winners. 

At the barn, before we realized, it was Brian Cadoret of team “Kiss My Bass” who won the prize with 10pts. He was followed by long time pickler Erik Hurley of team “Lay Down Sally” with 7 pts. Last but not least was Erik’s partner, John Hurley with 3pts.

Quinn Lynch of team "Fish & Chip" with da dink

With all these big fish being registered lets not forget about the dink award. This years smallest bass was awarded to Jr. angler Quinn Lynch of team “Fish & Chip” for a most not impressive 4.5” bass. Way to go Quinn!

Andrew Frasier of team "Prickley Picklers" dead in the parking lot

Every year at the DPC there are mishaps that earn picklers the breakdown award.  A broken prop, broken rods, a boat run aground, even cars losing tires! You name it, we have seen it. Yet what we have never seen is someone return to check in unable to launch. Apparently, Andrew Frasier of team “Prickly Picklers” had a boat battery as old as the DPC itself that decided to retire of old age. Andrew was awarded 2 bottles of Whistle Pig Whiskey (Thank you Whistle Pig!) Which he promptly gave to the winners of the Jon Zukowski award.

The Jon Zukowski award is in remembrance of the late Jon Z. who was a friend to many picklers and beyond. Known as an all around good person, this award rewards those who selflessly do good things for others. It was Kevin Ramirez and Henry Rackcliff who came to the aid of our breakdown winner and as such they took home the prizes for their good deeds.

Lastly, we had some clever team names this year but Kevin Ramirez and John Abair of team “Neil Da Bass Tyson” could not be beat after the votes were counted. They took home some tasty maple syrup curtesy of Sterling Ridge Resort. 

That’s the recap for 2023. A huge thanks to Nick Yardley & Fulling Mill Flies for donating many tasty flies to our winners. Whistle Pig Whiskey for their years of support. Sterling Ridge Resort for their local VT syrup. Steve “Bubba” Stanley for donating his time and tying flies for the captains bags. Stream & Brook Fly Fishing for a great boat box and fly pucks and much more.  Brian Price and family for getting the pizza and housing/feeding many participants. Ken Sturm for lending us the Refuge parking lot. Chris Lynch for rocking the mic at awards and his help with the online techy stuff. Brendan Hare for scoring and tie breaking some close entries. 

Most of all, thank you to those that attended. After 13 years, it doesn’t get old. When awards were wrapping up there was a group of people belly laughing in the barn. It was great to see people having fun regardless of their results on the water. The DPC is not about the competition, it’s about the experience. See you all in 2024, the weekend after fathers day (as always:)  

Monday, May 15, 2023

2023 DPC Registration is OPEN!!

We're very excited to announce the 2023 Ditch Pickle Classic "Catch-Photo-Release" Fly Fishing Tournament on Lake Champlain!

The 2023 DPC based out of Swanton, Vermont will be held on June 24th-25th on beautiful Lake Champlain.  The DPC is open to anglers of all ages and skill levels.

2021 DPC Champs - Bash Badge Plus

You don't need a big fancy bass boat to fish the DPC either! Kayaks, canoes and motor boats are all permitted. The DPC is a team event and we make every effort to pair people up with team mates and fill empty seats in boats. 
Each team will have 1-3 anglers and, if you want to be a 1-man team, you will be responsible for the team entry fee of $100. If you are your own 1-man team, you must still have a co-rider to assist with photographic documentation of your catch! We're allowing more than 1 team to fish from a boat as long as it's within reason.
Spectators may ride along or pilot a boat for a team.

Don't be scared off if you don't have a boat! If you have a strong desire to fish in the DPC but have any apprehension what-so-ever, please send us an email to and we'll do whatever we can to make it happen for you! The sooner we hear from you, the sooner we can get you set up!

Calvin Kontos - Top Junior Angler of 2021

2023 Prize Categories...

- 1st Place Team-
- 2nd Place Team-
- 3rd Place Team-

- 1st Place Individual-
- 2nd Place Individual-
- 3rd Place Individual-

- 1st Place Paddler-
- 2nd Place Paddler-
- 3rd Place Paddler-

- 1st Place Junior Angler (under 18)-

- Jr. Rock Bass Award-

- Largest Northern Pike-

- Best Exotic Fish (Bowfin, Gar, Carp)-

- Dink Award (Smallest Bass)-

- Breakdown Award (it happens every year!)-

*Big Pickle (Largest Bass / Largemouth or  Smallmouth)
* Seperate $ Pool

Tournament Weekend... 

Check in...
On Saturday the 24th, we will have our check-in at the Headquarters for the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge on Tabor Road. Click HERE for directions and info about the site.
Checking in at the refuge headquarters (2015)

We will be open for check-in as of 8:30am on the 24th
Check-in hours = 8:30 - 10am
Lines in @ 10am!!

We encourage all competitors to arrive early for check-in!

The headquarters has plenty of parking for boats/trailers, and it is very close to our designated launch at the Larry Greene Access.

The Larry Greene Access is located on Rte. 78 and directions can be found HERE.

Every angler must check-in and sign a waiver prior to launching!

Awards Venue on Lakewood Road

Awards Ceremony / Pizza Party...

We will hold the post-tournament pizza party/awards ceremony on Sunday 6/25 at the Lakewood Farm on Lakewood Road. 
Lakewood Rd. is directly across the street from the Larry Greene Access (see the map below.)  
The official tournament "Weigh-in/Awards Ceremony" will take place during the pizza party, so all entrants and spectators are strongly encouraged to attend regardless of how you did in the tournament!  There is no charge to attend and we'll do our best to make sure you don't leave hungry! BYOB!


The Goods... 

This year the DPC is excited to once again team up with Predator Fly Gear to supply our custom 2022 DPC shirts to our competitors!

PFG is a Vermont based company featuring the amazing artwork of Nick Mayer on Slick looking high performance fishing shirts.

We're also supplying each team with a captain's bag, filled with an assortment of products from the many other generous sponsors of the Ditch Pickle Classic! 


The DPC Experience...

The Pickle has become a highlight of the season for many.  Several years ago, we expanded the event to a 2-day format to make room for more quality fishing and more time hangin' with buddies, soaking in the Lake Champlain vibes.  Take the DPC too seriously and you might miss the point, which is to have fun.  Don't come the the DPC for the win...come for the experience.


Here's a list of folks that are down for the 2023 DPC experience... 

Sunday, May 14, 2023

2022 RECAP

On June 25th we had 100 anglers check in at the Missisquoi Refuge Headquarters to grab their pickle sticks and get some paper work out of the way so we could all hit the water and work on our tans. Check in is always a fun time to catch up with friends and talk strategy and this year was no different. Anglers grabbed their captains bag loaded with shirt, koozies, scorecards, decals generously supplied by Musky Town & hand tied flies from 802 Flies. A big thanks to Steve Stanley of “802 Flies” who had an amazing selection of flies to purchase for anyone who wanted to add to their arsenal. The past 2 DPC’s we have all navigated a pandemic, low water, wind and some very tough weather. This year our anglers were blessed with some glassy water and sunshine. A very welcome change from recent years past. So, at 10:00am we all fired up our boats and here are the details of how the 2022 DPC unfolded.

John Cooper 1st place Indy

All said and told it was John Cooper of team “Imbassiles” that took home the top angler & and a Helios outfit with a huge score of 28 individual pts. 2nd place and a Orvis Recon rod was award to his teammate Jeff Faulkner who also had 28pts. The 3rd place indy award went to Mr. Tom Getz of team “Basscar” with 28pts who won a peak vice and Orvis Hydros line. A 3 way tie for 1st place that came down to their next biggest fish! Congrats gentlemen. 

The top Team award went to some familiar faces. Team “Imbassiles” were able to scratch out 56 total points! John and Jeff returned to the pickle after a couple year hiatus and picked up right where they left off, on the podium. John said while his teammate caught some bass pre fishing, he himself couldn’t even get a bite before the tourney. Ya never know! Thanks to Costa Del Mar and Whistle Pig Whiskey, team “Imbassiles” took home 2 pairs of Costa shades and some Whistle Pig. The 2nd place team was team “Basscar” who tallied up 52pts! Just one fish behind the leaders Brenden Hare and Tom Getz put Tom’s new boat to good use. Team “Basscar” was awarded 2 bugger boxes and a $250 Musky town gift card. Thanks Musky Town! Coming off a tourney win last year Ben Wilcox and Michael Wulff landed 49 pts. worth of Bass, good enough for the 3rd place finish. They took home a pair of 3 weight fly rods. Ben went in for foot surgery the next day so, heal up soon Ben! Congrats to all the top teams! 

Quinn Lynch is all smiles as top Jr.

On to the the Jr. category, it was Quinn Lynch aboard team “Fish & Chips” who put up 9pts to take home an Orvis encounter outfit. Quinn put his hours in and was the only fish n’ chip who didn’t head home with an epic sunburn. Well done Quinn! 

37" Channel cat for Andy Conlan

The exotic category is always just that, exotic. This year we had a fish landed that we have never had entered before in the 12 years of the DPC. There was not one, but two channel catfish caught. One was by Jay Modry of team “Kiss Micropterus” but it was Andy Conlan of team “Stop Playing Grabass” who won a beautiful musky print from Nick Mayer Art for his huge 37” channel catfish.

Elton Boneville with the coveted dink

 Most people say that size doesn’t matter but I think Elton Boneville of team “Pickle Pirates” would disagree. Elton manage to fool a 5.5 inch bass to win the smallest bass dink award. The dink award is always a favorite and for his efforts with the younglings Elton was awarded an extending boat net the size of Texas. 

Every year we award a breakdown award. It could be a wrecked prop or a broken rod or a wheel coming off a moving truck on the way to check in. We had an angler fall overboard trying to save his sunglasses this year but that could not top Brian Cadoret of team “Nothing but Gas & Bass” who drove his car into a rock at the boat launch and punctured his radiator. To ease his pain Brian won 2 bottles of Whistle Pig Whiskey and a case of fiddlehead beer. 

The best team name was voted at the awards barn and that honor went to Kyle Forrest & Bennet Chadbourne of team Big Chungus & Heratio Holmes. I have no idea what that means but hey, I voted for em’. They took home some maple syrup from Sterling Ridge Resort and some fly boxes and flies from Fulling Mill. 

Casey Thomas takes down the paddle award

The top paddler this year was Casey Thomas with an impressive 8pts. For his efforts in his 1st ever pickle Casey won a fishpond pack and tying materials from Vermont Fly Guys and a $50 Mtn. High Fly gift certificate donated by Stream and Brook. The 2nd place paddler was awarded to Brian Cadoret for landing 6pts. Brian took home an Orvis sling pack and a $50 gift certificate to Mtn, High Fly Shop donated by Stream and Brook Fly Fishing. It was Eric Hurley who landed in 3rd place paddler with 5pts. and earned himself a nice pair of Dr. Slick Pliers. 

Patrick Sharrow with $1000.00 dollars of bass

Like I said, size matters and this year that size was 20.5 inches. That’s the number that won Patrick Sharrow of team “Lil Game of GraBass” a cool $1000.00 in cold hard cash for the big pickle pool. 

This year we renamed the top pike prize after the late Jon Zukowski. Jon had fished the pickle many times with his teammate CJ and although he wasn’t physically here with us, this year his name is now and forever entrenched in the tourney that he loved to fish. 
This years JZ award was awarded to Luis Ayala of team “Keep Fishing Simple” for his 30” pike. This was the first time Luis has fished the DPC and he just picked up a fly rod 4 month ago! He took home a huge boat box , fly patch,  & JZ hat & shirt, donated by Mtn High Fly Shop. Congrats Luis, I’m sure JZ would be proud! 2nd place pike went to David Gerard of team “Fish Tank” for landing a 29” pike alongside his son Adain. These guys, like myself and others have made the DPC a father son tradition that they look forward to every year. David took home a fly line and stickers donated by Mtn. High Fly. The 3rd place pike award went to loooong time pickler Brian Lang. Brian and Sherve of team “BassKing in the Sun” are almost always one of the 1st teams to sign up! Brian took home some sweet flies graciously donated by Fulling Mill. 

Well that’s how 2022 DPC went down. At the barn hungry anglers went to town on some Pie in the Sky Pizza. A big thanks to Hannah and Brian for the delivery! We raffled off some swag and fought the internet uploading pics. Thanks for your patience! As always, the DPC crew tries our best to keep the event fun for everyone. I hope you all had as many laughs as we did. I swear no other weekend of the year goes so damn fast! 

MHF representing

Well that’s how 2022 DPC went down. Before we wrap up, I'd like to take a moment to thank the Mountain High Fly Crew. Not just for donating to our event but for participating this year. We bust our asses every year putting this together but when I got home from the lake and saw MHF instagram posts of all of them smiling, I remembered why we do it all in the first place.  If you are reading this and need fly gear, consider skipping the big retailers & give Mtn. High Fly shop and our other sponsors a call. 

Peace out picklers, DPC Crew.

Mike, Chris, Bubba, Brian C, Brian P, & Brenden H.
2022 TEAM SCORES............