In the coming weeks, salmon anglers will be able to test their skills and luck against other fishermen as three salmon derbies will come to the South Sound.
The action starts Aug. 1 with the 14th annual South King County Puget Sound Anglers Salmon Derby. On Aug. 8 will be the Gig Harbor Puget Sound Anglers Salmon Derby. The action concludes Aug. 15 with the inaugural All South Sound Salmon Derby, run by the South Sound Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers.
The new derby is a remake of the derbies the Olympia chapter has held for a number of years, said Ron Gschwend, chapter president.
For years, the chapter held a two-day derby in Hood Canal. Three years ago, the chapter opted to move its derby to the waters off Olympia.
“We had a good year the first year (in Marine Area 13), but last year was a poor turnout,” Gschwend said. The group sold just 152 tickets.
“We would have been in the red if we didn’t get a last-minute donation from Cabela’s,” he said. “We decided if we were going to have a derby, it was going to have to be self-sustaining. We couldn’t rely on sponsorships anymore.”
So the chapter has opted to expand the fishing area, increase the number of weigh-in stations, increase ticket prices, reduce costs and double the prize payouts.
“We decided if we can’t get more fish to Area 13, we could expand the area where people can find the fish,” Gschwend said. “It also was obvious we weren’t getting the support we used to, so we decided to go to a leaner derby.”
Fishing will be allowed in marine areas 11 (Tacoma), 12 (Hood Canal) and 13 (Olympia). No boats, however, will be allowed to fish in the mouth of the Skokomish River.
Gone is the raffle and the post-tournament meal.
“It took 15 people to set up, cook, serve, cleanup. Plus they charged for the space and we had to get proper permits. Cutting out the dinner saved us $1,500 and 15 people’s time.”
Gschwend admits it is unusual not to have a raffle, but the decision was made to focus on the fishing and making it easier for people to take part. Winners will be notified by phone or email at the end of the derby day.
That’s one reason there are three weigh-in locations, so anglers don’t have to make a long run in their boats to reach what was the weigh-in station at Swantown Marina in Olympia.
“We’re concentrating on fishing and people who like to fish,” he said.
“All we need to do is sell 250 tickets and we’ll break even. We’re hoping to sell 350 to 450 so we have some extra money for our programs.”
SOUTH KING COUNTY DERBY
Touted as the largest salmon derby in the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia area, the 14th annual South King County derby will be headquartered at the Point Defiance Boathouse Marina in Tacoma.
“We have increased the prize pool this year so that everyone has an opportunity to win,” said derby chairman Terry Wiest. “The angler with the largest fish will take home at least $3,500.”
The overall prize pool is more than $25,000, with prizes guaranteed through at least 50th place.
“This is our main fundraising event and supports our efforts to improve fisheries resources in the Pacific Northwest,” said co-chairman Bill Lee. “Proceeds from the derby benefit fisheries conservation and youth conservation education programs.”
The awards ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. that day at the Point Defiance Boathouse.
GIG HARBOR DERBY
This will be the 20th annual event held by the chapter serving Gig Harbor and Tacoma.
The post-derby barbecue and awards ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. at the Point Defiance Boathouse.
If you want to pick up some fishing tips before the derby, you can attend the chapter’s meeting Aug. 4. Local fishing expert John Keizer will be the featured speaker and will offer ideas for improving the chances of catching a large salmon. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Tacoma Outboard Association, 646 N. Wilton Road, Tacoma.
All three derbies are part of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series. An added incentive to take part, anglers completing a raffle ticket have a chance win a fully outfitted 21-foot Hewescraft boat valued at $65,000. You do not need to enter a derby to win. Learn more at northwestsalmonderbyseries.com.
Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640
SOUTH SOUND SALMON DERBIES
South King County PSA Salmon Derby
WHEN: Daylight-1 p.m. Aug. 1
FISHING AREA: Marine areas 10, 11 and 13
TOP PRIZES: First, $3,500; second, $1,500; third, $1,000
WEIGH-IN LOCATIONS: Point Defiance Boathouse and Narrows Marina, Tacoma, and Des Moines Marina
TICKETS: $35, free for children 14 and younger. They can be purchased at: Point Defiance Boathouse, Narrows Marina, Sportco, Outdoor Emporium, C-J Marine, Auburn Sports and Marine, Sportsman’s Warehouse and online.
INFORMATION: 206-755-8409, pugetsoundanglers.net
Gig Harbor Salmon Derby
WHEN: Daylight-2 p.m. Aug. 8
FISHING AREA: Marine areas 11 and 13
TOP PRIZES: First, $3,000; second, $2,000; third, $1,000
WEIGH-IN LOCATIONS: Point Defiance Boathouse and Narrows Marina
TICKETS: $36.25, free for children 14 and younger. Tickets are being sold at Ace Hardware in Gig Harbor, Auburn Sports and Marine, Big A’s Outdoor Store, Lighthouse Marine, Narrows Bait & Tackle, Outdoor Emporium, Point Defiance Boathouse, Sportco, Sportsman’s Warehouse in Puyallup and Federal Way, and online.
INFORMATION: 253-255-8168, gigharborpsa.org
All South Sound Salmon Derby
WHEN: Daylight-2 p.m. Aug. 15
FISHING AREA: Marine areas 11-13
TOP PRIZES: First, $2,000; second, $1,500; and third, $1,000
WEIGH-IN LOCATIONS: Zittel’s Marina, Olympia; Point Defiance Boathouse Marina, Tacoma; and Hood Canal Marina, Union
TICKETS: $35, free for children 14 and younger. They can be purchased at Hood Canal Marina, Verle’s Sports Center, Tom’s Marine, US Marine, Sound Marine, Zittel’s Marina, Narrows Bait & Tackle, Point Defiance Boathouse, Sportco, Sportsman’s Warehouse in Puyallup and Federal Way, and online.
INFORMATION: 360-970-8283, sschapterpsa.com