Fish for Millions contest continues through July 7

by: COURTESY PHOTO: CABELAS, INC. - This is actually a Chevy truck disguised as a small orange tag on the fishs dorsal fin. Richard Drapeaus winning trout measured 18 and weighed 2.5 pounds. He caught it with a downrigger setup -- a Sling Blade dodger in front of a hoochie, tipped with half a nightcrawler.Rick Drapeau knew about the “Fish for Millions” contest sponsored by Cabela’s outdoor store and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. He’d even pre-registered online in case he pulled in a tagged fish.

Still, “I wasn’t really going after it,” he said.

Drapeau, who lived on Nichols Lane in Forest Grove before moving to Hillsboro last year, is a regular at Hagg Lake, usually fishing there by himself once or twice a week for the entire season.

On May 11, he started his usual route, launching out of boat ramp C and trolling toward boat ramp A, when right there between the two he landed an 18-inch, 2.5-pound rainbow trout — with an orange tag.

He snapped a photo and entered the number online. Cabela’s confirmed the catch and tag number, then sent him a letter with the good news May 31, Drapeau said: “I was the unofficial winner of a Chevy truck.”

Drapeau is one of at least a dozen people so far who have pulled tagged fish from Hagg Lake since the contest began May 4. The lake is one of only two in Oregon that were stocked this year with contest fish. The other is South Twin Lake in Deschutes County.

Four fisherpeople have won casting or spinning “combos” worth about $140. Four more have won Costa sunglasses valued at $250. A Beaverton resident won a $2,500 “Ultimate Gear Package.” Drapeau’s new truck is valued at $55,000.

Some of the winners have come to Hagg Lake from as far away as Gresham and Oregon City, while others hail from nearby Hillsboro and Newberg.

Edward Mischel of Forest Grove was one of two people to reel in a $100 gift certificate, which he plans to share with his friend from McMinnville who netted the fish, a 15.5-inch rainbow trout. With Cabela’s new store not yet open in Tualatin, Mischel will have to check out its catalog for ideas of how to spend his $50.

Mischel’s wife signed him up for the contest after hearing about it from a co-worker.

Anyone can go online and pre-register at The contest continues through July 7.

One of the tags is worth not just the initial prize, but another $2 million as well. Winners will find out if they’ve got that tag when the contest ends.

“This guy who won the truck could also win the $2 million prize,” said Rick Swart, a spokesman for ODFW. “So could the guy who wins a baseball cap.”

Or the tag could still be swimming, uncaught, in one of the 42 selected lakes across the 21 states participating in the contest.

Drapeau, who plans to sell his current truck and keep his new one, said the tagged fish was a fun addition to his favorite pastime: “Whether I got the million dollars or the hundred dollars, I just enjoyed the whole suspense of the whole contest.”

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