It’s NW Fishing Derby Season Again!

Newsflash: There aren’t enough weekends in summer, especially if you’re a Northwest derby hound.

A look at our contest calendar here shows an event somewhere in the region just about every Saturday and/or Sunday in July, August and September, and if those weren’t enough, several others are ongoing continuously into fall.


PERHAPS THE EPICENTER of the 2024 derby season – both in terms of location and timing – is Astoria in mid-August. That’s where and when three tourneys align with returning fall kings and coho at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River: the 24th Annual Buoy 10 Challenge, Lipstick Salmon Slayers and Stan Brock’s Black & Gold Tournament.

While unrelated and benefitting different causes, new this year, they’re all being managed and run by Del and Weddy Stephens and the crew from their Lipstick Salmon Slayers Tournament. The Stephenses, you may recall, were the “driving force” behind the founding and expansion of the Oregon Tuna Classic.

Del Stephens says things kick off Friday, August 16, with the Challenge, a longtime fundraiser of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association. He says the Oregon City-based organization is “fighting for the fisheries on behalf of the industries that benefit from the fishing, retailers, manufacturers, boat builders and the anglers as well. They were formed more than 30 years ago and have been doing good work and could use our continued support.”

Open to all anglers and with fishing open on the Columbia and nearby Pacific, the three largest fish weighed in at the West Mooring Basin score those lucky anglers $4,000, $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. Previously, prizes were awarded to teams, but it’s now an individual event. 

Dinner (provided by Pig Out BBQ) and the awards and banquet ceremony at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds also offer chances at raffle prizes, a live auction and “mystery coolers.” 

Entry is $150. For more information, see

STEPHENS AND THE gals will be spiffing things back up overnight at both locations ahead of Saturday, August 17’s Lipstick Salmon Slayers, now billed as the “second largest ladies tournament in the US.” It benefits the American Heart Association. Where cash prizes at the Challenge are determined by biggest fish, at Slayers, it’s whomever is closest to three random mystery weights for the $4,000, $2,000 and $1,000 first, second and third prizes. 

“This tournament is for the ladies and many of the raffle items as well as auction items are geared towards them. It’s their day to shine,” says Stephens. “They show up with a tube of lipstick in one pocket and a can of whoop ass in the other. They are beaming from ear to ear and nothing is going to dull the shine they bring. It’s a lot of fun and a hoot.”

While the prizes are for the gals, who also must grab their own rods and fight their fish to qualify for prizes, guys can still participate as pilots, bait boys, netmen, etc. The skipper for whomever lands the grand prize fish will themselves score $500.

Early bird entry fee is $200. For more, see

And things wrap up with Stan Brock’s Black & Gold Tournament. Fishing is on Monday, August 19; heaviest combined bag wins the grand prize. The dinner and auction afterwards are open to the public; Stephens says the event benefits gold star families and those of fallen soldiers. 

For more, contact Stephens at (503) 539-0006 or

Even with all that work on his plate, Stephens is looking forward to it.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun, good camaraderie, great memories and all for a good cause,” he says. 


 Now through Oct. 1: 3rd Annual Small Mouth Bass Derby, Coquille River

 Now through end of respective fishing seasons: Westport Charterboat Association Lingcod, Halibut, Chinook, Coho and Tuna Derbies;

 Now through Oct. 31: WDFW 2024 Trout Derby, select lakes across Washington;

 July 1 through Sept. 15: Bandon Crab Derby, Coquille estuary;

 July 5-7: Slam’n Salmon Fishing Derby, ocean off Brookings; (541) 813-0330

 July 6-Aug. 31: Baker Lake Sockeye Derby;

 July 13-14: Washington State Governor’s Cup Walleye Tournament, Lake Roosevelt;

 July 19-20: 11th Annual Pete Flohr Memorial Salmon Derby, Upper Columbia between Rock Island and Wells Dams;

 July 20: 3rd Annual Dawg Derby, North Puget Sound;

 July 24-28: Lake Coeur d’Alene Big One Fishing Derby;

 August (TBD): 6th Annual Rogue Pikeminnow Roundup, Rogue River; ODFW, (541) 630-3681

 Aug. 2-4: 18th Annual Brewster Salmon Derby;

 Aug. 3: 28th Annual Gig Harbor Puget Sound Anglers Salmon Derby;

 Aug. 7-10: Rogue Bay Salmon Derby;

 Aug. 9-10: Washington Tuna Classic, Pacific off Westport;

 Aug. 10: Kokanee Power of Oregon Odell Lake Derby;

 Aug. 16: 24th Annual Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge, Columbia estuary and Pacific off Astoria;

 Aug. 16-17: 19th Annual Oregon Tuna Classic, Pacific off Garibaldi;

 Aug. 17: Lipstick Salmon Slayers, Buoy 10 and Pacific off Astoria; 

 Aug. 18-19: Stan Brock’s Black & Gold Tournament, Astoria;

 Aug. 31-Sept. 2: 31st Annual Gardiner, Reedsport, Winchester Bay STEP Salmon Derby, Umpqua River estuary;

 Sept. 7: Edmonds Coho Derby, Areas 8-10;

 Sept. 14: Salmon for Soldiers, North Sound;

 Sept. 14-15: Coos Basin Salmon Derby;

 Sept. 14-15: Whidbey Island Coho Derby, Areas 8-10;

 Sept. 15-Oct. 31: Boat Basin Salmon Derby, Westport;

 Sept. 21-22: Everett Coho Derby, Areas 8-10 and open nearby rivers;

 Oct. 4-5: Alsea Bay Salmon Derby;

 Oct. 19-20: Big Fish Contest, Washington waters;

 October (TBD): King of the Reach Derby, Mid-Columbia’s Hanford Reach;