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............


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

2021 is a Wrap!

                              The new 2021 champs "Bash Badge Plus" cash in with 42 points!

The 2021 DPC was one for the books and what a good time it was! 46 teams and over 100 anglers gathered on northern Lake Champlain in late June to enjoy the many delights this lake has to offer. This year was like the 11 before. Old and new friends from near and far sharing strategies and game plans in the parking lot of the Missisquoi Refugee headquarters during check in. What was different this year was it was hard to hear those plans over the relentless wind! An evil south wind had taken hold and was not about to let go for 48 hours.  Many peoples go to spots were now not an option.  This left much of the field scrambling and sometimes settling to fish the area they were dealt.  I commend all the participants for putting safety over fame and playing it safe while the lake dished out 3-5 ft. waves.

When boats were pulled and scores were tallied on Sunday it was Ben Wilcox and Michael Woulf of team "Bash Badge Plus" who took home the top team prizes with a whopping 42 points! Ben Wilcox also took home top angler with 26 individual points. As if that is not impressive enough, Ben also won the big pickle pool worth $1140.00 with a 20.5 inch bass.  These guys are no strangers to the podium but this is their 1st top place finish.  Like I said to Ben & Mike at check in, they were due!
It wasn't all easy for the winners though, who suffered through wind like everyone else.  They said the bulk of their points came in a short window after Saturdays morning rains when the wind sat for just a bit.  Just long enough to put some 4 & 5 pointers in the boat.
The second place team has done the pickle for a long time and never had a podium finish (to my knowledge) but this year they had a huge lead over the nearest team.  Tim & Jared Shaw of team "Shaws Law" took 2nd place with 37 points.  Besides skill, which many teams have, Shaws Law had something a lot of other teams don't, local knowledge.  These guys are fishing in their backyards and obviously know what to do when a fierce south wind kicks up. 
The 3rd place team this year was Nate Scott & C.V. Howe of "Did We Change The Battery" coming in with 23 points. Often times 2 guys standing next to each other throwing the same fly to the same fish have different results. No reflection on ability but an odd occurrence that we see often. In fact, this year for both the 3rd and 4th place team,  90+% of the points were scored by one angler.  It makes zero sense and thats why fishing is so much fun, because its unpredictable. 

As mentioned, 1st place Indy was taken by Ben Wilcox with 26 pts, 2nd place indy goes to Tim Shaw with 20 pts, and 3rd place goes to Nate Scott also with 20 pts.  FYI, tie breakers are decided by largest fish in ones bag and working down until tie the is broken.  These three gentlemen put up some impressive numbers in unfathomable conditions and have therefore earned themselves some major street cred. Kudos.

Nate Scott with his $100 dink.

Don't feel bad for Nate Scott getting 3rd after a tie though.  He was lucky enough to win the 2021 dink (smallest bass) award. Nate managed to weave his way through a very competitive field inching out his nearest competitor by mere micrometers and earned himself a fly box loaded with midges worth $100.

                                                      Evan Dickenson with his 29" 1st place pike

In the Pike division it was Evan Dickenson of team "Full Sink" who took home 1st place with a 29" northern. 2nd place was awarded to Marc Guy of team "Old Dirty Basstards" and 3rd place was given to Brian Cadoret of team "Bass & Blunts".   All 3 winners received a great selection of Fulling Mill predator flies and boxes.  A huge thank you goes out to Fulling Mill Flies.  If you're in need of flies, hit them up!

Brenden will recieve a beautiful print from Nick Mayer Art

The exotic category was quiet this year. There might or might not have been an angler who landed a nice hybrid pike/pickerel and thought it was a pike until he later looked at the photo, which would have won the exotic prize but, as it were, this years winner was Brendan Barden of team "80 Grit Thumb" with a 20" bowfin.  For his catch Brenden will be awarded a print generouly donated by Nick Mayer Art. 

Team "Dirk Pickler" with a close breakdown award contender

Yet, thats not all that Brenden won, which brings us to this years break down award. The breakdown award can be anything from a shattered prop to a wheel flying off a truck driving to check in. It doesn't matter because from broken rods to broken boats, at this point, we have seen it all.  3 teams came up to plead their case to the crowd at the awards ceremony and the decision was made by the audience applause. Brandon Weaver and John Bond of team "One Fine Piece of Bass' had a good chance after their battery exploded and Kevin Welch and Tony Lewis of team "Dirk Pickler" was within reach after their trolling motor caught a fly line and chewed up their rod. This was a tough one but the field chose Brenden and Finn Barden of "80 Grit Thumb" after they were dead in the water after lines out with a broken motor and with 3 batteries that didn't work.  Finally beaching the boat somewhere Brenden walked for help on a foot that had surgery just weeks earlier.  For their troubles Brenden, not Finn, was awarded some Whistle Pig Whiskey.  Thank you Whistle Pig for the kind donation!

                                        Brian Cadoret takes 1st place paddler for 2021 with 7 pts

On to the paddle division. This was a tough year to have to paddle with limited wind love but these three guys made it happen.  1st place paddler went to Brian Cadoret of team "Bass & Blunts" who took a home a fly rod from Stream and Brook Fly Fishing. 2nd place went to his team mate Bill Sylvester with 4 pts. who won a umpqua backpack & VT Tout Streams book.  3rd place was awarded to John Hurley of team "Lay Down Sally" who had 3 points and took home a Hydros fly line. 

Dillion Brooker of team "You're Killing Me Smallies " tied into 4 pointer

Every year we get some clever team names and this year was no different.  We have never had a tie in the team name award and in fact, this year we had a 4 way tie! "Dirk Pickler" "Triple Dutch Rudder" "Big Poppa Dill & my lil Gherkin  and "You're Killing Me Smallies' all had 4 votes.  To break the tie we found an impartial someone who had not yet voted and asked them to vote.  The decision was made and it was Dillon Brooker and Dan Russel of team "You're Killing Me Smallies" who won best team name. They were awarded 2 fly boxes and 2 1/2 gallons of maple syrup generously donated by Sterling Ridge Resort. If you're looking for an epic VT retreat, check out Sterling Ridge in Jeffersonville!   

"Your Killing Me Smallies" going full send for the Costa Del Mar Photo contest 

"Your Killing Me Smallies" not only came up with a funny team name but also managed to capture the extent of the gail force winds on Lake Champlain with this clever "kite hat" photo.  For going full sail, these guys won the Costa Del Mar photo contest and will be awarded 2 pairs of Costa glasses!  We had some great photo entries this year and a big thanks goes to everyone who submitted.  The winner was picked by our friend Joe G.  at Costa who said it was a tough decsion! Thank you Joe & Costa Del Mar! You can veiw the other photos on Insta by searching #dpcvt2021 or #seewhatsoutthere .                                      

1st place Jr. angler Calvin Kontos with a 4 pointer
Noah Lynch shows off a nice pickle!

Last but not least is my fav, the Jr. division. This year 7 Jr. anglers joined us to battle the winds on mighty Lake Champlain. In the end it was Calvin Kontos of team "Basstrazeneca" (12pts)  who narrowly took home 1st in front of Henry Dowhan of team "James Westfall & Dr. Kenneth Noisewater"  (11 pts).  Congrats to both of these anglers who are the first Jrs. to ever crack the top ten. To all our Jr. anglers, Noah, Quinn, Calvin, Maya, Finn, Scanlan & Henry, remember it's not about catching the biggest fish. It's about the little things in between.   We hope you had as much fun as we did spending time with friends and family and we are proud of you all! 

Whelp, that about sums it up. If you were not here to join us, I hope you felt like the re cap filled you in on this years happenings.  We are not a professional tourney. We are just some guys who love to fish the lake with friends every June. We mess up and have issues from time to time but all we care about is that everyone gets off the lake safe and has fun. The DPC has shrunk a bit in the past couple years but the DPC crew is fine with that. In fact, we think the numbers are great as is because even if the numbers have shrunk, every year the DPC family continues to grow.
Peace out and lines out till 2022. 
DPC Crew
                                                                      Individual scores

                                                                Team Scores

Saturday, May 1, 2021

2021 DPC

 Welcome to the 2021 Ditch Pickle Classic! We are excited to once again ply the waters of Lake Champlain with anglers from the Northeast and beyond.  Last year, due to restrictions, we were unable to hold our awards ceremony in person.  Tentatively, we plan on holding in person awards at the Campbell barn as we have years prior. Catering is still being considered as state guidance unfolds and we hope to feed hungry anglers as they tell fishing tales from the weekend. Stay tuned on that front.
2020 Champ Ralph Kucharek hoists the grail with Lake Champlain in the background.
Ralph and his teammate Nathan Thurbur of team (Master Bass Anglers) also took home the top team of 2020 with 21 points!


#1. "BassKing in the Sun"
Brian Lang
Shreve Soule

#2. "Big Pappa Dill & My Lil Gherkin"
John Dziedzic
Maya Dziedzic

#3. "Hoggers"
Adam Mapes
Logan Mapes

#4. "Sobu Strippers"
Kristen Donnelly
Christopher Donnelly

#5. "Masshole Fly Guys"
Bennett Chadbourne
Kyle Forest

#6. "Bad Monkey"
Jay Modry
Matt Dickstein

#7. "Flyaholics"
Nick Citro
Mike Fernandez

#8. "Shaw's Law"
Jared Shaw
Tim Shaw

#9. "Is it Next Years Pickle Yet?"
John Gamble
Mario Gagliardi

#10. "BasstraZeneca"
Mike Kontos
James Kontos
Calvin Kontos

#11. "Bread N Buttah"
Ryan Fitzgerald
Kyle Travis

#12. "Bash Badge Plus"
Ben Wilcox
Mike Woulf

#13. "Triple Dutch Rudder"
Kevin Oxford
Paul Scaramucci
Gerry Nugent

#14. "Fish & Chips"
Chris Lynch
Noah Lynch
Quinn Lynch

#15. "Dirk Pickler"
Kevin Welch
Tony Lewis

#16. "You're Killing Me Smallies"
Dillon Brooker
Dan Rusell

#17. "It'd Be A Lot Cooler If You Did"
Scott Edwards
Tim Birmingham

#18. "Pickle My Bass"
Nick Chiarelli
Brendan Lanoue

#19. "Little Blue Pills"
Chris Bernier
Michael Hill

#20. "The Crispy Cannabastards"
Dave Aronson
Andrew Costagliola

#21. "One Fine Piece of Bass"
Brandon Weaver
John Bond

#22. "Fish Tank"
Adin Girard
David Girard
Joshua Girard

#23.  "Full Sink"
Evan Dickinson
Nate Dickinson

#24. "Go Bass or Go Home"
Bubba Stanley
Johnathan Debono

#25. "Mountain High Fly"
Jon Zukowski
C.J. Freeman

#26.  "Lay Down Sally"
Erik Hurley
John Hurley

#27. "Did We Charge the Battery?"
Nathan Scott
C.V. Howe

#28. "Team AJ"
Jay Seals
Andrew Fraser

#29.  "The Bill Pickles"
Mackenzie Cayer
Bill Sullivan
Maddy Zukowski

#30. "James Westfall and Doctor Kenneth Noisewater"
Henry Dowhan
Andy Conlan
Tom Dowhan

#31. "Basscar"
Brendan Hare
Tom Getz

#32. "Castaways"
Brian Zinger
John Synnott

#33. "Bass & Blunts"
Brian Cadoret
Willam Sylvester

#34. "SS Bass Nasties"
Matt Hart
Elton Bonneville

#35. "Old Dirty Basstards"
Dana Evans
Marc Guy

#36. "Fish Phood"
Brian Forest
Scanian Forest

#37. "Bassymtomatic"
Matt Cain
Kemener Whalen

#38. "Between Two Flies"
Andrew Mesenas
Sean Moriarty

#39. "Dad Take Me Fishing"
Chad Johnson
Chris Samson
Chris Samson Senior

#40. "Meat Slingers"
Max Hogg
Leo Nerbak

#41. "Bee Stings & Smelly Water"
Jon Lindeberg
Dave Underwood

#42. "High Life"
Matthew Rackliff
Randell Tucker

#43. "80 Grit Thumb"
Brenden Barden
Finn Barden

#44. "Hogan Bros"
Drew Hogan
Dan Hogan

#45. "Bionic Duck"
Shawn Ricker

#46. "Paradise"
Corey Barrows
Joe White