Sometimes it takes a whole life to float your boat.
That’s how it turned out for Josh Stokes of Post Falls who began fishing for big rainbows on Coeur d’Alene and Pend Oreille lakes as a boy in pajamas.
After decades of pursuing his passion of catching Kamloops rainbows and landlocked salmon from his dad’s boat, Stokes woke this week with a brand new Kingfisher 2025 Series boat powered by a 150-horsepower Honda and a 9.9-horsepower Honda trolling motor, on an EZ Loader tandem axle trailer, parked in his driveway.
The watercraft came courtesy of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series, a regional host of 14 salmon tournaments across in Washington, Idaho and British Columbia.
Stokes had entered a drawing for the boat at The Big One Salmon Derby on Lake Coeur d’Alene in July, after buying a ticket for the first time in more than a decade.
“This was the first year I bought a ticket to the Big One Derby since I was 15 years old, and that ticket was totally worth it now,” Stokes said.
Stokes, a service advisor at Pierce Auto Sales in Sagle, has been fishing for big ones with his dad since he was a 3-year-old tucked in to the boat in his pajamas because his retired father, Roy, took the kids fishing while mom was at work. Stokes caught his first fish, a 28-pound chinook on Lake Coeur d’Alene before the first grade. His 22-pound chinook placed 17th in The Big One in 1996.
“I always fished out of my dad’s boat,” he said.
He was watching TV with his dad when he received the phone call notifying him of his winnings, but Stokes didn’t pick up.
“I saw the 206 Seattle area code number, and hit ignore since I had no idea why someone from there would be calling me,” Stokes said. “Then I listened to the voicemail message. I told my dad wouldn’t it be rad if I won the boat. He was like, ‘Yeah, right,’ and jokingly said I probably won a hat or T-shirt and they want your address.”
In reality his name was drawn from among 7,000 ticket holders at the Washington Coast coho derby that marked the end of the 2018 Northwest Salmon Derby Series.
The fully-equipped aluminum boat decked out with downriggers, radar and GPS devices is valued around $65,000. It was delivered Monday and Stokes plans to drop it into the water and cruise down to St. Maries with his mother this weekend as part of an annual tradition.
He’s still a little wound up about his good fortune.
“It’s kind of hard to not brag about winning a boat,” he said. “I’m trying to be humble about it.”
To learn more about the salmon series go to www.NorthwestSalmonDerbySeries.com.