Nor-Cal Guides & Sportsmen’s Association (NCGASA) Derby Rules

1. All participants wishing to enter the Hatchery Steelhead Derby must register and pay their entry fees before the event start date of JANUARY 1, 2021. The Derby will kick off at

There are two Derby divisions in order to win prizes. An adult division and a youth division. Youth division entry is for anglers 16 years old and under. Your derby donation will cover entry into the Derby and a yearly membership to NCGASA and a Derby Awards Ceremony prize raffle ticket or entry. Derby Awards Ceremony date to be determined later due to Covid-19. You must be a NCGASA 2021 MEMBER in order to ENTER THIS DERBY and in ORDER TO ANY WIN CASH & PRIZES from NCGASA. Adult NCGASA regular yearly membership is $20. A Youth NCGASA yearly membership is $10. Adult Derby fee is $15 to enter. A Youth Derby fee to enter is $10. Adult total price is $35, Youth is $20. With your yearly membership to NCGASA, you will receive a free steelhead sticker in the mail if you included your mailing address upon registering. You will have received an email from us upon registering that included the rules in an attachment. If you did not receive an email from us, then resubmit your email address to us.

2. Payouts for the adult division are 1st place: $500; 2nd place: $250; 3rd place: $150. One youth division winner will be awarded a $150 gift card to a local sporting goods store. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place payouts will be a written check from NCGASA. Winners will be determined by the fishing coordinator and reps from NCGASA. Winners based on the longest, measured, hatchery steelhead photographed and entered correctly within the Derby event dates: Jan. 1, starting at 6 a.m. to March 31, 2021 by 6p.m. Upon an exact tie in length, the fishing coordinator and reps from NCGASA will determine a new payout and prizes. Any and all disputes will be solved by NCGASA. Any cheating on the derby deemed by NCGASA will be a forfeiture of all monies paid. All winning entries are subject to review.

3. Fishing hours start on January 1 at 6 a.m. to March 31, 2021 at 6 p.m. Any entries submitted after 6 p.m. on March 31 will not be entered. 

4. All participants must have a valid California fishing license and steelhead report card and must follow all California Department of Fish and Wildlife rules.

We need to see the full tape and numbers down the middle of the fish for a clear overall measurement.

5. Derby Entry Requirements: 1) All hatchery steelhead entries must be measured with a measuring tape laying on top of the fish from the center of the closed mouth to the fork or center of the tail and photographed on or at the Mad River watershed. 2) You must submit Photo #1: Photograph the total measurement of the fish showing both the closed mouth down the center of the fish to the fork of the tail with tape laying on top of the fish with the overall measurement clearly visible (large numbered tape measures are recommended). Photo #2: Photograph a close up of the closed mouth with tape on top of the fish and clearly visible. Photo #3: Photograph a close up of the fork of the tail with tape on top of the fish and clearly visible.

An overall length photo is required where we can see the measurement number at the fork of the tail and at the closed mouth in order for your hatchery steelhead catch to be entered into the Derby.

We encourage you to take a photo of you holding your catch if and when possible. Please take your entry photos directly after you catch your fish as it will be harder to keep the mouth closed for the required measurement photos. No gutted fish photo entries are acceptable. Please no photos of your fish taken at your home or backyard or on your tailgate as we wish to see the fish on the Mad River watershed. And try to photograph a clean fish without bloody gills. Any questionable photos, or photos taken elsewhere, where an accurate overall measurement cannot be verified will not be accepted. NCGASA reserves the right to disqualify any entry if we feel the (5) Derby Entry Requirements were not met. NCGASA reserves the right to modify these rules at any time. You are welcome to submit multiple fish entries or any other fishing photos or lures used for the MRSD to use on social media. Derby anglers are required to know the rules and requirements of this Derby before submitting your entries.

Only fish caught while the river is open to fishing can be submitted. Derby participants must follow the current CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife regulations. Visit for more info. Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulation books are online and free and can be picked up 619 2nd St., Eureka, (707) 445-6493.

6. Send your photos to or post to the Mad River Steelhead Derby Facebook page or Instagram page or by contacting Tracy Mack, the fishing coordinator at (707) 445-2771 for other ways to submit. Please list the overall length measurement, date, time, location of where the hatchery fish was caught or any other details when submitting to help us better enter your fish. The information will be used to caption your photos on social media. All Derby photos will become property of NCGASA for promotional use. 

7. You may harvest only hatchery steelhead. The adipose fin will be clipped on a hatchery steelhead. All hatchery steelhead must be caught in the mouth by rod and reel and landed legally by hand or net. Please revive and release any native fish with full adipose fins. 

8. All California Department of Fish and Wildlife rules are required and to be followed including Mad River low flow closures during this Derby. For the Low Flow River Closure hotline call (707) 822-3164 — it’s updated every Mon, Wed, Friday. Note: Even if the river rises to more than 200 cfs, the river still may be closed per CDFW. You must call the number in order to find out. All participants must follow all local, state and federal laws regarding fishing on the Mad River. 

9. Extra proceeds go toward helping to save our fisheries and wildlife in Northern, California. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the Mad River Steelhead Stewards broodstock collection program in concert with the CDFW and the Mad River Hatchery. NCGASA is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization and all donations are 100% tax write off. Tax ID #680294956. We welcome any and all donations at any point during the contest dates for this non-profit event. Please email us for more info., on how you or your company can participate.

10. All entrants and people helping with the derby understand the risks involved with fishing on the Mad River and are required to follow all California Department of Boating and Waterways procedures and California Department of Fish and Wildlife rules. 

Video Side Contest by our sponsor Bucksport Sporting Goods in Eureka: Best submitted video of a steelhead catch (within the Derby dates of Jan. 1 to March 31, 2021) will win $100 Gift Card to their store. Post your short video to social media and tag Bucksport Sporting Goods. The Bucksport staff will judge the winner. Try to shoot video in horizontal mode and with a high resolution setting. You can also send your videos to Todd at

Note: CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife has noticed some hatchery fish may have partial adipose fins that are considered missed clips. Please visit our Blog for more info., on how to tell if you caught a hatchery or native steelhead or click here. If you are unsure, please revive and release your catch.  Also, please keep any native fish you catch submerged with their gills under water. If there is a Mad River Steelhead Steward nearby with a fish holding tube, you can all them over to donate your native fish to the broodstock collection program.

• Take the pledge to Keep Fish Wet. #keepemwet

Only photos of your hatchery fish from and on the Mad River will be accepted. You must measure from closed mouth to the fork of the tail with tape on top. Two additional close up photos of the head and tail with tape on top of the fish are required for measurement verification. Do not gill or gut your fish until you have photographed your fish. Please take your photos on the Mad River Watershed. We prefer to see your catch in its natural habitat. We have found taking your measurement photos directly after catching the fish are more attainable than waiting hours later as the closed mouth photo is harder to accomplish.