Tag Archives: Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club

13.27-pounder Wins Everett Coho Derby

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more details on Michael Rian’s derby-winning catch.

A 13.27-pounder held on to win last weekend’s Everett Coho Derby, the first held in three Septembers due to fishery closures because of low forecasted returns.

And while the weather and salmon could have been more cooperative, organizers were still pleased to once again put on what is billed as the West Coast’s largest fishing derby.

“We got back to offering a coho derby, sold almost 1,700 tickets, weighed over 500 coho, and had a great event!” said organizer Mark Spada of the Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club, which along with the Everett Steelhead & Salmon Club puts it on.

It also marked a return to awarding the Northwest Salmon Derby Series grand-prize raffle boat in September, with Joshua Stokes of Post Falls, Idaho, scoring the fully loaded King Fisher 2025 Falcon package valued at $65,000.

MICHAEL RIAN DETAILS HIS EVERETT COHO DERBY-WINNING CATCH DURING SUNDAY’S AWARD CEREMONIES. (EVERETT COHO DERBY)

MICHAEL RIAN OF North Bend was the lucky angler, catching his $10,000-derby-winning fish on Saturday morning, the bumpier but better of the two-day event.

A longtime fisherman who bought his first boat at 11 with money from lawn-mowing jobs, Rian said the North Sound is his home waters and that he has fished the Everett derby off and on over its 25 years.

For the 2018 edition, he and a fishing partner focused their efforts in the fishy southeastern corner of Marine Area 8-2, trolling from the Shipwreck north to Mukilteo. While their baits were down 50 to 90 feet, all the coho they hooked were at one precise depth, 66 feet.

“Our group of friends who fish each year in Canada has caught a very high number of coho at that exact depth, and have tried to disprove the theory, and we keep losing!” Rian noted.

On the business end was 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 11-inch flashers in black moon jelly and gold green.

“With rain/heavy cloud cover, we chose dark-colored flashers and gear that would have better visibility given the low light conditions,” Rian said.

With the outgoing tide and strong southwesterly winds and wind waves, the crew decided to fish south to north.

“Everyone knows this about me, but I’m an o-dark thirty fisherman. You CAN’T leave early enough for me! We had gear in the water at 6:15 a.m.; the winning fish was netted at 06:44, and others followed shortly after,” said Rian, which only reinforced his theory that a solid percentage of salmon are caught at first light.

“We knew we had a good fish once it was hooked, but boating it proved challenging given the weather,” he recalled. “We were all business and focused, given the weather and the steady action in a short window of time. I did not realize the full size of the fish until we looked at it in the fish box a bit later. I have to say, both of our guesses were low! It was deceptively heavy.”

The plan for the weekend was to fish Saturday, then hit the Seahawks home opener against the Cowboys, but as Rian watched the online leaderboard that evening he decided to try and upgrade on Sunday. Fishing was a wash, in more ways than one, and Rian and his buddy came in to derby headquarters after hooking only one small silver.

“We waited – me nervously! – at the derby for the Sunday weigh-in cutoff to come, and really didn’t know I won until my name was announced. I’m still getting my head around it for sure, and it’s been an amazing experience,” he said.

When presented with an oversized check, Rian told MC John Martinis that he planned to use some of his winnings to buy new downriggers, music to the ears of Martinis, who runs an Everett tackle shop.

OTHER TOP FIVE finishers included Glen Velasquez of Everett, second,12.93 pounds, $5,000; Trevor Judson of Monroe, third, 12.81 pounds, $2,500; Roy White of Everett, fourth, 12.38 pounds, $1,000; and Brak Kelly of Redmond, fifth, 12.3 pounds, $500.

Of note, the top 16 fish were all bigger than 2015’s winning coho, an 11.31-pounder, while nine were larger than 2014’s, an 11.96.

The average size of the fish was also up, 7.04 pounds versus the anemic 4.54 pounds of three years ago. That season’s silvers were at sea during the height of The Blob and associated poor ocean conditions.

“The size (of this year’s coho) is consistent with major food sources becoming more plentiful,” noted North Sound state fisheries biologist Brett Barkdull. “Northern copepods were more plentiful, for instance.”

There have been good numbers of coho in Puget Sound and headed up the rivers, but the overall derby catch was just 548.

“The river fishing had been great all week, but on the weekend was very tough, for whatever reason,” Spada added. “I think this just proves what a lot of us already knew: Coho are a difficult fish to predict behavior. Weather changes seem to affect them more than any other fish. There were some very good fisherman who struggled, to say the least.”

This year’s derby had 1,694 adult and 201 youth participants.

In the kids division, it was literally neck and neck for first and second place.

Baron Kuehlwein and Alex Hotchkiss both came in with 10.79-pounders, but because Kuehlwein’s went on the scales two minutes before Hotchkiss’s he won $300 while Alex settled for second and $200.

BARON KUEHLWEIN HOLDS AN OVERSIZED CHECK LANDING THE FIRST-PLACE COHO IN THE KIDS DIVISION. (EVERETT COHO DERBY)

Madison Vanzandt came in third with a 9.11, good for $100.

So many more prizes were also given out — largest fish caught on Silver Horde, Dick Nite and Gibbs-Delta gear; best father-son and mother-daughter catches; youngest and oldest anglers to weigh fish; biggest landed by active duty military; fishermen from the furthest away; and more.

A DRONE IMAGE SHOWS THE CROWD GATHERING AT BAYSIDE MARINE AS THE EVERETT COHO DERBY AWARDS CEREMONY GETS UNDER WAY. (EVERETT COHO DERBY)

Proceeds from the derby benefit local fishery enhancement projects, including the rearing and release of salmon, nutrient enrichment and triploid trout stocking, as well as youths.

September Central Sound Coho Derbies Return, And So Do The Fish!

For the first time in three years, a pair of popular central Puget Sound salmon derbies will be held on their home waters.

Both the Edmonds and Everett Coho Derbies return after saltwater closures led to the scrapping or altering of the 2016 and 2017 editions and 2015’s were marked by unusually small fish, likely due to The Blob.

HARALD SCHOT HOISTS 2015’S WINNING EVERETT COHO DERBY FISH. (COURTESY HARALD SCHOT)

Even better, Puget Sound is seeing some pretty dang good silver fishing lately, with boats coming back to King and Snohomish County docks with better than a fish a rod.

First up is the Edmonds Coho Derby this Saturday, Sept. 8. Put on by the Sno-King Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers, it is set for 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features a top prize of $5,000.

Tickets are $30 per angler and can be purchased at area tackle stores such as Outdoor Emporium, Ted’s Sports Center, Three Rivers Marine and elsewhere, as well as online.

For more details, go to edmondscohoderby.com.

Then comes the big one, the Sept. 22-23 Everett Coho Derby, and this year marks its 25th anniversary.

Indeed, the derby was born in similar times back in 1993, when low runs limited that year’s fishing to just the Snohomish River and the waters off its mouth. A local sporting goods store manager approached the Everett Steelhead and Salmon and Snohomish Sportsmen’s Clubs to put on a derby, and history was born.

Earlier this summer, organizer Rich Braun said that past years’ sponsors were really stepping up in 2018.

In addition to $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, $1,000 and $500 cash prizes for the top five coho, there’s a team competition, plus prizes for the largest caught on certain products; from two different river systems; by father-daughter, father-son, husband-wife and all-female teams; from shore and kayak; by an active military member. The list literally goes on and on, and includes a truck valued at $45,000 for whomever catches the mystery weight fish.

BILLED AS THE LARGEST SALMON FISHING DERBY ON THE US WEST COAST BASED ON PARTICIPATION, THE EVERETT COHO DERBY FEATURES A FANTASTIC ARRAY OF CASH PRIZES AND AWARDS GIVEN OUT AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE LATE FALL EVENT. (EVERETT COHO DERBY)

Open waters include Marine Areas 8-1, 8-2, 9 and 10 and open rivers and lakes in King, Skagit, and Snohomish Counties, but if the last three derbies are any indication, the winning fish will be caught somewhere off the southern end of Whidbey Island.

Those bit a purple haze squid/Ace Hi Fly combo behind a jelly crush flasher (11.31 pounds); purple haze flasher and hoochie combo (11.96 pounds); and a purple haze hoochie and Ace High Fly combo behind a purple flasher.

Sponsors include Silver Horde, Dick Nite, Scotty, Roy Robinson Chevrolet, Boat Insurance Agency and Everett Bayside Marine, among others.

For more info, see everettcohoderby.com.

And in another return to tradition, the Northwest Salmon Derby Series organizers will raffle off their grand prize boat – a fully loaded King Fisher 2025 Falcon package valued at $65,000 – at the Everett Coho Derby. Entering it or the Edmonds event automatically puts your name in the hat for a chance to win it.

For more, see nwsalmonderbyseries.com.

Bob Heirman Memorial Coho Derby Set For Early October

The legacy of a lifelong Snohomish County angler-conservationist will live on in a just-announced salmon fishing derby.

The Bob Heirman Memorial Coho Derby is set for Saturday, Oct. 7, on some of the late fisherman’s favorite rivers and features hefty prizes for one of his most coveted species.

“Bob single-handedly was responsible for more coho enhancement than every other program combined,” says Mark Spada, president of the Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club, of which Heirman was the secretary for six decades. “He was tireless in his coho smolt planting in dozens of Snohomish County creeks.”

Heirman passed away in early May at the age of 84. He not only stocked streams but alpine lakes, and fished for salmon, steelhead and trout everywhere in the county from tidewater to foothills ponds to mountain tarns, compiling his stories and poetry in Snohomish My Beloved County: An Angler’s Anthology.

The derby will be held on the Snohomish, Skykomish and Snoqualmie Rivers, typically Puget Sound’s most productive waters for coho, and October’s a good month to hit them.

Presented by 3 Rivers Marine & Tackle, it has a grand prize of $2,000, second-place prize of $1,000 and third-place prize of $500

Tickets are $25, and they’re available at 3 Rivers, as well as Ted’s Sports Center, Greg’s Custom Rods, Triangle Bait & Tackle and John’s Sporting Goods.

Cash prize sponsors include 3 Rivers, Triangle, Ted’s, Greg’s and John’s, as well as Bickford Ford and Dick Nite Spoons.

The derby benefits the club, among others.