Tag Archives: Slam’n Salmon Derby

Northwest Fishing Derbies Contracting, Expanding With Times

As organizers of a Thanksgiving-week-long steelhead derby are cancelling their event, fishing for different species is being added to a salmon series.

Signs of the times?

“We do think the inconsistency of the fish counts has had an impact on that,” Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director Kristin Kemak reportedly said about a recent decision to call off the Snake Clearwater Steelhead Derby, apparently for good.

DURING MUCH BETTER TIMES FOR BIG B-RUN STEELHEAD, INLAND NORTHWEST ANGLERS FLOCKED TO LEWISTON TO FISH IN THE THANKSGIVING-WEEK-LONG DERBY. (BRIAN LULL)

At one time, the event was billed as the “nation’s largest steelhead derby” and it attracted anglers from wide and far to catch B-runs that pushed towards the 20-pound mark.

“It was once a major fundraiser. Now the efforts we put in to host the event outweigh the financial benefit of doing so,” Kemak also said, according to Eric Barker of the Lewiston Tribune who broke the news.

TABLES AWAIT PARTICIPANTS IN 2013’S SNAKE CLEARWATER STEELHEAD DERBY, WHEN IT WAS SPONSORED BY A LEWISTON CHEVROLET DEALER. (BRIAN LULL)

Recent years have been tough on the event due to poor returns of steelhead up the Snake. That’s led managers to institute bag limit reductions, closures, reopeners, and 28-inch maximums to protect B-runs, typically larger than A-runs, which only spend a year in the salt.

This season there’s a blanket closure on all fishing for steelhead — even catch-and-release — on the Clearwater and Washington and Idaho’s Snake up to the Couse Creek boat launch in Hells Canyon. The B return is forecast to come in at just 4,500, including 1,700 unclipped fish, and is the lowest on record back through at least 1984, with less returning than hatchery broodstock goals and “no surplus to provide a fishery,” per IDFG.

Above Couse Creek the limit is one hatchery fish a day, 28 inches or less, with anglers required to stop after retaining it or a fall Chinook.

BRENDA BONFIELD OF CUSTOMWELD SPEAKS DURING 2013’S DERBY CEREMONIES. A POSTER BEHIND HER DESCRIBES THE DERBY AS THE “NATION’S LARGEST” FOR STEELHEAD. (BRIAN LULL)

The chamber of commerce instead plans to hold an outdoor cookoff on Saturday, Nov. 16, according to Barker.

Meanwhile, the Northwest Salmon Derby Series announced some “big news” yesterday, including a substantial expansion into the Beaver State.

We’re hitting the refresh button on 2020 series and it will be renamed the ‘Northwest Fishing Derby Series’ that will likely include a spring-time lingcod derby in Oregon and a kokanee-trout derby on Lake Chelan, plus a couple more additions,” Mark Yuasa of the Seattle-based Northwest Marine Trade Association wrote in his monthly newsletter.

Next year’s schedule already lists a pair of late March lingcod and rockfish derbies out of Charleston and Brookings, as well as the recently rejuvenated Slam’n Salmon Derby in the latter port.

The dozen and a half or so events in the series are typically run by local clubs, but entry into any one automatically puts your name in the hat for the derby series’ grand prize, a brand-new boat, with Yuasa announcing that 2020’s will be a KingFisher 2025 Hardtop.

The winner is traditionally drawn at the late September Everett Coho Derby and this year’s $75,000 boat-trailer-electronics package was won by Trevor Everitt.

The series, of which Northwest Sportsman is a sponsor, has also been victim to uncertain runs in recent years, with local sponsors having to call off the Edmonds and Everett events due to coho closures, and organizers of the Brewster derby unsure they could hold theirs — until nearly the last minute in the case of this year.

For those local fishing clubs, it hurts to lose key fundraisers.

With low fall Chinook runs expected on the Oregon Coast, the U Da Man Fishing Tournament decided to cancel their October salmon derby on Yaquina Bay back in June instead of pressure the run, even as doing so would “severely” deplete the organization’s funds to do other fish-friendly projects.

UDM still plans to raffle off a drift boat to try and raise money for those.

Undoubtedly as salmon and steelhead runs come out of the current downcycle, derbies will expand and new ones will come online, but for the moment, some are falling by the wayside while others are looking to embrace other species.

Heart Of Derby Season Arrives In The Northwest

Move over summer, it’s derby season in the Northwest!

With two big events last weekend and a bunch more in the coming days and weeks, now through late September represents a great time to get on the water to try and catch a cash-winning trophy, win fishing gear, not to mention maybe score a boat package worth a whopping $75,000.

MEMBERS OF THE MEANWHILE CHARTERS TEAM HOLD AN OVERSIZED $6,000 CHECK AFTER WINNING THE OREGON TUNA CLASSIC’S DEEP CANYON CHALLENGE LAST WEEKEND. (MELISSA GRACE)

Indeed, after a four-month break, the Northwest Salmon Derby Series has roared back into town with recent stops in Bellingham and Coeur d’Alene and it hits Brewster and Tacoma this coming weekend.

Holding the annual Brewster Salmon Derby was a close call again, with Washington managers only last week greenlighting Chinook fishing to begin Aug. 1 on part of the Brewster Pool, thanks to enough fish expected back to support an opener.

Organizers say that registration is open through midnight, Wednesday, July 31. The competition runs Aug. 2-4.

To learn more, go to brewstersalmonderby.com or call (509) 945-5823.

This Saturday, Aug. 2, is also the South King County Chapter Puget Sound Anglers Derby.  Now in its 18th year, it offers a $3,500 top prize and it usually takes a Chinook approaching or just over the 20-pound mark to win it.

While Marine Areas 10, 11 and 13 are all fair game, it can be hard to beat the waters just off derby headquarters, Point Defiance Marina. Last year saw spoons dominate over hoochies.

For more, see pugetsoundanglers.net.

WHETHER YOU’RE FISHING A DERBY ON PUGET SOUND, AT BUOY 10 OR ALONG OREGON’S SOUTH COAST IN LATE SUMMER, YOU’LL LIKELY NEED A CHINOOK AS BIG AS PAUL WHITSON’S 2018 SOUTH KING COUNTY PUGET SOUND ANGLERS DERBY WINNER TO PLACE IN THE MONEY. HIS 19.45-POUND CHINOOK WAS WORTH $3,500. (PUGET SOUND ANGLERS)

The marina is also home to the 24th Annual Gig Harbor Chapter Puget Sound Anglers Derby the following Saturday, Aug. 10, which features a $2,500 grand prize and raffle for a Lowrance fishfinder.

Open waters are Areas 11 and 13. Last year’s winner was a 15.63-pound king.

For more, see gigharborpsa.org.

The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association’s 20th Annual Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge, with a top prize of $1,000 for largest fish, is Friday, Aug. 16, and includes a day’s worth of angling for Chinook and coho as the meat of this year’s million-plus salmon run comes across the bar.

There’s a captain’s meeting the evening before, and after the fishing comes a barbecue, silent auction, raffle and more at derby headquarters, the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, a short 5 miles from the East Mooring Basin ramp.

“No one leaves empty-handed from an NSIA derby,” organizers boast. “Stick around for the fantastic door prize giveaway at the end of the evening!”

For more, see nsiafishing.org.

The next day, Aug. 17, is the 2nd Annual Lipstick Salmon Slayers Tournament, the motto for which is “Leave the boys behind, this one’s for the ladies.”

Last year’s inaugural edition was won by Kelsey Van Dyke, who scored $4,000, which is the top prize again this year.

For more, see lipsticksalmonslayer.com.

This past weekend saw the 2019 Oregon Tuna Classic kick off in Ilwaco with the Deep Canyon Challenge, won by Team Meanwhile Charters, and the series now in its 15th year, culminates in Aug. 23-24 down the coast a ways in Garibaldi.

It raises money for and donates caught tuna to food banks, with both avenues having helped deliver more than 1 million pounds to the needy since 2005.

“The tournaments also bring much needed economic benefit to the communities visited by the armada of fishermen, volunteers and spectators,” OTC organizers add on their website. “Local businesses in Ilwaco and Garibaldi continue to see the benefits while also donating their time and services to the events. Garibaldi City Manager John O’Leary speculates the Oregon Tuna Classic might rival the annual Garibaldi Days in generating business.”

For more, see oregontunaclassic.org.

As active as August is, September’s no slouch either, as two Oregon Labor Day weekend shindigs wrap up and a pair of big silver derbies take place.

After a two-year hiatus, the Slam’n Salmon Derby returns to Brookings for the long holiday weekend at the end of summer. It features a grand prize of up to $5,000 for the largest king caught on the ocean during the three-day event.

Check out wcadventure.com for details.

Also held that weekend on Oregon’s South Coast, the 26th Annual Fall Salmon Derby out of Winchester Bay on the lower Umpqua River. It’s sponsored by the Gardiner-Reedsport-Winchester Bay Salmon Trout Enhancement Program.

Contact Rick Rockholt at (541) 613-0589 or umpqua.rock@charter.net.

And hard on their heels comes the Puget Sound Anglers Sno-King Chapter Edmonds Coho Derby, while its cousin just to the north, the Everett Coho Derby and its Northwest Salmon Derby Series boat giveaway, falls on the third weekend in September.

This year’s grand raffle prize is a Weldcraft 202 Rebel Hardtop with Yamaha 200- and 9.9-horse motors, EZ-loader galvanized trailer and more, a package worth $75,000. Entering any derby series event automatically puts your name in the running for the boat.

For more info on both events, see edmondscohoderby.com and everettcohoderby.com.

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