The Discovery Bay Salmon Derby - the longest-running salmon derby in the state, according to event organizers - turns 33 this year when boaters take to the waters Feb. 14-16.
With a prize list topping $8,000, including a $5,000 grand prize, derby organizers are expecting the derby to continue to grow in participation.
The derby's expanded area, from Dungeness to Whidbey, includes boat launches in Port Townsend, Gardiner and John Wayne Marina, for a choice of conditions each day.
"This year should be a great derby. Salmon stocks look good and the number of fish caught has been steadily going up in recent derbies," derby official Dan Tatum said. "This year could be even better."
Only legal, clipped-fin chinook/blackmouth salmon at least 22 inches long are eligible for prizes.
Last year, John Goldingay of Driftwood Key took home the first prize of $3,000 (plus $250 for the biggest fish on Saturday) with a 19.4-pound fish. Second prize of $1,500 went to James Hicks of Port Townsend, with a fish of 18.6 pounds, while Jay Campbell of Port Townsend claimed third place($750) with a fish of 14.9 pounds.
Derby anglers compete for a long list of prizes; usually the top 40 or 50 contestants win a prize. All ticket holders are entered in the Northwest Salmon Derby Series' $75,000 boat giveaway. This year the derby spans both Presidents Day weekend and Valentine's Day, and even organizers have added a new $500 "Valentine's Day Sweetheart" prize, going to the woman or girl who turns in the largest salmon on Valentine's Day (Feb. 14).
The largest new donation for this year's event is a $1,000 prize for third place from 7 Cedars Casino.
As in previous years, all proceeds raised go to support Jefferson County Volunteer Fire District No. 5. Since 1973, the derby has provided equipment and training for its local fire department, responsible for quick emergency response for neighbors in trouble and also for tourists on U.S. Highway 101. Last year, derby anglers raised $34,500.
The derby is the second in the 14-event Northwest Salmon Derby Series, following the series opener the Roche Harbor Salmon Classic set for Feb. 7-9. The series also includes the Port Angeles Salmon Derby, set for May 24-25, and ends in September with an event in Edmonds.
33rd Discovery Bay Salmon Derby
When: Feb. 14-16
Where: Boat launches in Sequim, Gardiner and Port Townsend; expanded fishing area from Dungeness to Whidbey
Registration cost: $30 per ticket for one or all three days (proceeds go to Jefferson County Volunteer Fire District No. 5)
Tickets: Available at www.SwainsInc.com: in Sequim at Swain's Outdoor, 551 W. Washington St.: in Port Angeles at Swain's General Store: at the Discovery Bay Store and several Port Townsend locations (Foru Corners Store, Fish'n Hole, Swain's Outdoor, Westside Marine)
Contact: Dan Tatum, 797-7710
Web site: www.discobaysalmonderby.com
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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