With good weather, a big prize list and plenty of anglers, the 2011 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby held Feb. 19-21 was a great success, according to derby organizers.
A total of 248 fish were submitted, for a prize ladder of 34 fish; the smallest prize-winner was 11 pounds, and the winners had an average weight of 13.2 pounds.
First prize of $10,000 went to Rob Schmidt of Sequim, for an 18.9-pound fish.
Second prize of $5,000 went to Ray Lampers of Snohomish for an 18.05-pounder; Lampers also got a bonus $200 (donated by Dick and Bev Howe) for the biggest fish on Sunday.
Third prize of $1,500 went to Mike Thacker of Chimacum for a 17.35-pound salmon.
Doug Lux, who caught the first fish of the derby, took the $500 fourth prize plus the bonus $200 donated by Port Townsend Salmon Club for the biggest fish on Saturday.
Gary Randall of Federal Way nabbed the fifth big fish at 16.5 pounds.
Ross Mattson of Port Angeles caught a 9-pound fish on Saturday to take the $1,000 “Mystery Weight Fish” prize at the awards ceremony.
“This was a giant undertaking: 500 square miles of fishing, five weigh stations, and a huge number of fish,” derby official Dan Tatum said. “It’s all gone really well and everybody is feeling great. We were worried about the weather and we think that deterred a lot of people from Seattle and farther away. This turned into more of a local derby, even though our ladder includes Santa Cruz, Calif., and Scappoose, Ore.”
The event was put on by the Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, a Washington state nonprofit corporation. Proceeds support local emergency services and other important community needs.
The derby is part of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series, run by the Northwest Marine Trade Association.
All derby ticket holders are entered in the NMTA’s end-of-year, grand prize boat drawing set for September.
For pictures of the derby and a complete list of the fish submitted, visit www.GardinerSalmonDerby.org.