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March 7 event honors Sandy River guide who died in 2018; weigh-in held at Skyland Pub

If You Go

What: Second-annual John Aho Memorial Steelhead Derby, a fundraiser for American Water Works Association scholarships

When/where: 7 a.m. on waterways in Oregon and Washington, weigh-in at 3:30 p.m., Skyland Pub, 3175 S. Troutdale Road, Troutdale

Entry fee: $75

More information: visit johnaho.fish or visit John Aho Memorial Steelhead Derby on Facebook

COURTESY PHOTO: STEVE JOHNSON  - At last years inaugural John Aho Memorial Steelhead Derby, from left, Dave Walker Sr., of Damascus, took first place, Dave Walker, Jr., of Happy Valley, got third place; and Chris Walker, of Maryland, won second place.Anglers are invited to compete in the second-annual John Aho Memorial Steelhead Derby beginning at daylight on Saturday, March 7, in Troutdale.

The charity tournament, which allows catching fish from any Oregon or Washington waterway, offers a top prize of $300, plus other awards, food and music at the 3:30 p.m. weigh-in at Skyland Pub, 3175 S. Troutdale Road. The entry fee is $75 for the event, which also includes a raffle and silent auction.

Launched last year, the event drew 72 participants and raised $4,000 for scholarships for the Pacific Northwest Section of the American Water Works Association.

Aho, a Troutdale resident who died in June 2018 at 58 years old, fished throughout the Pacific Northwest and was a well-known, part-time fishing guide on the Sandy River.

He retired from the city of Gresham and became an enthusiastic volunteer for the American Water Works Association, receiving the association's Heart and Soul Award in 2008. He was especially passionate about serving on its scholarship committee that helped local students fund a college education, noted Steve Johnson, a member of the tournament committee.

"To know John was to have him call you a friend. He was the most kind and generous person you can imagine," Johnson said. "He was also always up to a little mischief that would make you smile."COURTESY PHOTO - Signs honoring the late John Aho were installed earlier in February by Multnomah County highway crews near Oxbow Park on the Sandy River, one of Ahos favorite fishing holes.

Earlier this month, Multnomah County Road Department crews installed an Adopt-A-Road Program sign in Aho's memory on the road to Oxbow Regional Park on the Sandy River, one of Aho's favorite places to fish.

"John loved the Sandy River and particularly enjoyed helping someone catch their first steelhead or salmon," he added. "He liked supporting others, such as assisting college students in funding their studies in his industry."

Last year's inaugural steelhead derby drew everyone from Aho's childhood friends in Rockwood to former classmates at Gresham High School, former colleagues from the city of Gresham to fishing guides and fisherman locally and throughout the Northwest.

Participants can fish in any Oregon or Washington waterway beginning at daylight, but Johnson said most who took part last year fished either the Sandy or Clackamas rivers.

Participants must be at the Skyland Pub by 3:30 p.m. to weigh in any fish they caught.

"This fishing derby is both meaningful and fun," Johnson said. "It honors John, a terrific pal to so many in our region, and raises funds to support college students studying in his industry. The event celebrates the amazing fishery we enjoy in our own backyard, and lets anglers test their skills through a friendly fishing competition."

For more information, visit johnaho.fish. Those interested in securing a professional fishing guide for the event should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

COURTESY PHOTO - Pictured here fishing on the Sandy River, the late John Aho started fishing in childhood and was well-known as a part-time fishing guide.


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