As summer nears an end, a pair of big Puget Sound silver salmon derbies appear on the calendar, with one also providing the venue for the annual raffling off of a $75,000 boat package.
This Saturday, Sept. 7, sees the Edmonds Coho Derby while the Everett Coho Derby goes down Sept. 21-22.
At the latter somebody who’s entered one of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series’ many events across the region this year will have their name drawn for a Weldcraft 202 Rebel Hardtop with Yamaha 200- and 9.9-horse motors, EZ-loader galvanized trailer and more.
For the past two years the package has been won by Idaho anglers who entered late July’s The Big One Derby on Lake Couer d’Alene, but who knows who will win the 2019 edition.
Anglers will be more focused on pulling the biggest coho out of local waters, but should note that while the southern portion of Marine Area 8-2 will be available for Edmonds event participants, it won’t be open during the Everett derby.
With federal fishery overseers classifying Snohomish coho as an “overfished” stock, state managers are trying to get as many wild and hatchery fish back to the system as they can.
Another saltwater option for both events is the Tulalip Bubble, which is open Saturdays and Sundays through September.
Recent WDFW catch reports do show silvers being caught inside Puget Sound, and more in the Straits.
The Edmonds Derby is put on by the Sno-King Chapter of the venerable Puget Sound Anglers organization, and features a $5,000 top prize for largest silver, $2,500 for second and $1,000 for third. Unlike the Everett derby, it is only held on saltwater. Last year’s winner was Bill Turner who weighed in a 10.1-pounder.
Today is your last day to buy tickets. For more, see edmondscohoderby.com.
AREA 8-2 IS WHERE 2018’s Everett Coho Derby winner caught his $10,000 fish in heaving seas, but you can bet that Michael Rian will just take his very specific strategy to nearby Area 9, Admiralty Inlet, the pipeline that will funnel hundreds of thousands of the bright salmon to Central, South and Deep South Sound streams.
He swears by 66 feet based on experiences in British Columbia and at last year’s derby.
“Our group … has caught a very high number of coho at that exact depth, and have tried to disprove the theory, and we keep losing!” he told me following last year’s win.
Rian used an orange-label herring in a Rhys Davis anchovy helmet in gold, green and chrome and tandem 2/O and 3/O barbless hooks on a 6-foot, 30-pound fluorocarbon leader behind an 11-inch flasher in gold green.
Last year was the first time the Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club and Everett Steelhead & Salmon Club had been able to hold the derby since 2015 due to low returns and fishery closures. Over the past decade or so, Areas 8-2 and 9 have both produced three winning fish, Area 10 one and the Snohomish one (coincidentally also the largest, 18.16 pounds).
Proceeds benefit local fish projects, including the release of 80,000-plus coho fry annually.
To get ready for the event, check out John and Conner Martinis’s free “High Percentage Coho Fishing” seminar starting at 6 p.m., Weds., Sept. 19, at Everett Bayside Marine off of West Marine View Drive.
For more, see everettcohoderby.com.