Allen Vue Captures SMUD Trout Derby With 6.56 Lb. Rainbow

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Allen Vue of Sacramento experienced a great day of fishing at Rancho Seco Lake when he hooked two rainbow trout weighing 6.56 and 6.32 pounds while tossing out a Kastmaster from shore on Sunday, April 3.

Gone Fishing Photo 31 - Sheldon & Allen_web

He brought the first fish, the 6.32 lb. rainbow, to the scales at the SMUD office around 3 pm, putting him in first place in the April 2 -3 derby. Then he caught and brought his second big fish, the 6.56 pounder, to the weigh in about 15 minutes before the 5 pm shut off time.

Both of these fish would have allowed him to capture first place in the annual Sacramento Municipal Utility District event.

“I found a school of big trout swimming around and concentrated on catching those fish,” he said.  He landed three other large rainbows also.

For his catch, he earned the Adult Grand Prize: a Lowe 14’ aluminum boat, trailer and electric motor package for the heaviest fish caught.

The second and third place winners in the adult division were Chris Donaldson of Cameron Park, with a 6.22 lb. fish, and Alyssa Delora, with her 5.34 lb. rainbow.

The prizes for adults were $100 for first place; $75 for second place; $60 for third place, $25 plus a 2 day park pass for fourth and fifth places; and $20 plus a 1 day park pass for sixth through seventh places.

Nine-year old Roree MacGregor of Elk Grove won first place in the Kids (10 and younger) Division with a 5.42 lb. rainbow. She also won the Youth and Kids Grand Prize, a fishing kayak.

Nine-year-old Maddie Plearnik placed second with a 4.82 lb. rainbow, while Dakota Murray placed third with a 3.34 lb. trout.

Maddy with big trout_web

Plearnik caught her fish while throwing out worms with her cousin, Cory Moore, and her mom, Tamarah, of Sacramento.

Moore commented, “I landed two smaller trout while fishing RoosterTails yesterday and I caught two rainbows to 14 inches today while using Zeke’s Floating Bait (from Atlas Mike’s) today.”

The kids prizes were $35 for first place, $30 for second place, $25 for third place, $20 for fourth place and $15 for fifth place.

Dad & daughter with stringer_web

Ronald Cabelo of Stockon won first place in the Youth (11 to 17 years) Division with a 3.58 lb. rainbow. Alie Xiong of Sacramento captured second place with a 3.44 lb. trout, while Delmy Lopez of Sacramento won third place with a 3.06 lb. fish.

The youth prizes were $50 for first place, $40 for second place; $30 for third place; $20 for fourth place and $10 plus a 1-day pass for fifth place.

Gregor Boats and The Fish Sniffer magazine sponsored the grand prizes.  

Mt. Lassen Fish Farm planted a total of 1500 pounds on the weekend of the derby, including 1000 pounds on Saturday and 500 pounds on Sunday.

Nancy Bui-Thompson, the President of the SMUD Board of Directors, who was at the event on Sunday, commented, “This is a great event for kids and their parents on a beautiful day to catch fish and enjoy the facilities of the Rancho Seco Recreational Area. They also have the opportunity to win some prizes. SMUD is happy to support the community by putting on the derby.”

The annual derby, first held in 1994, is the brainchild of Jose Gutierrez, the weighmaster even now after his retirement from SMUD, and Dave Brock, the head of the park at the time.

“SMUD had taken over the park and we wanted to bring more people into the facilities, so we sponsored the event as a way to get more people to enjoy Rancho Seco,” Gutierrez said.

I have attended and covered all of the derbies for the Fish Sniffer, with the exception of two, since the event began. I have seen monster rainbows, huge Florida-strain largemouth bass, redear sunfish, bluegill and crappie landed by anglers over the years.

I am extremely happy that the event has continued to be sponsored by SMUD all of these years – and I’m also pleased that the Fish Sniffer has signed on as a sponsor of the event over the past two years!

The value of the event was demonstrated by the enthusiasm that Christina Gritts, her two sons, Christopher and Westly Gritts, and neighbor Jason Bersamin showed for the event.

“Westly placed fifth in the age group 11 to 17 with his 17 inch trout weighing 2.44 pounds,” said Christina Gritts. “He hooked his big trout while soaking PowerBait. We’re hardcore anglers – we were here both days fishing from early in the morning,”

In addition, the three young anglers also landed 15 bluegill and 3 crappie while fishing from their kayaks.   

Rancho Seco offers great facilities for family fun and recreation. You can toss out your line from the shore or one of six fishing piers. Or you can fish from your small boat [electric motor only] or rent a fishing boat at the lake — or a kayak, rowboat, or paddleboat.

Rancho Seco Scenery Shot_web

If you want to stay overnight, you’ll find eighteen RV sites with barbecues, fire pits, picnic tables, drinking water and electrical outlets, plus an additional 25 camping sites for those who like to sleep under the stars.

The 400-acre park offers much more than fishing. You’ll find covered picnic facilities, 36,000 square feet of sandy beach, and excellent bird-watching, since the park is a winter refuge for ducks, geese, hawks, bald eagles, blue heron and migratory birds.

Hikers may enjoy the seven-mile Howard Ranch Trail, which begins at the lake and meanders across beautiful grassland habitat and blue oak woodlands dotted with vernal pools and–at this time of year–an abundance of native wildflowers.

Rancho Seco Reservoir, a 120-acre year round recreational facility located in the rolling countryside between Galt and Ione, is a favorite of anglers throughout the Sacramento, Lodi and Stockton metropolitan areas.  

Rocky Mountain Recreation Company is the concessionaire at Rancho Seco. For more information about the Rancho Seco Recreational Area, call 209-748-2318 or visit or