I know I’ll be floating my trusty kayak onto Puget Sound with an entry ticket for the Edmonds or Everett Coho Derby in hand in hopes of upgrading to the KingFisher 2025 Escape HT. It’s the final grand prize for the series, which is being retired into the organizer’s “Hall of Fame” afterwards, and will be raffled off at the end of the latter event on Sunday afternoon, September 26.
I had a chance to fish out of the boat back in July with George Harris and Karsten McIntosh, both of the Northwest Marine Trade Association. With its Yamaha 200- and 9.9-horsepower motors, Shoxs seats, Scotty downriggers and Raymarine Electronics, it was a joy to troll for kings and silvers off the southwest side of Whidbey Island.
And those same waters will be prime for coho in September, but note that this year Area 9 is only open for hatchery fish, and due to an early closure, southern Area 8-2 will only be available during the Edmonds derby. Wild coho can be retained in Area 10.
While 2020’s Everett winner, reader Adam Perez, caught his 11.86-pounder on a local river, this year’s freshwater ops are much more restricted, with the Snohomish and Skykomish both closed during that derby’s timeframe. Alternatives include the Skagit and Duwamish-Green.
The derby series has been around since 2004 and during its 17-year run the lineup expanded from six to 20 events, with 100,000 anglers participating over the seasons. Entry into any one put you in the running for the annual grand prize boat – till last year. With Covid-19 impacting the schedule, those who fished early 2020 derbies and this summer’s events will all be eligible for this month’s final drawing.
To be clear, even as the series sails into the sunset, most derbies that have been a part of it will still be held, and they offer pretty handsome prizes in their own right – $5,000 and $10,000, respectively, for biggest coho weighed at Edmonds and Everett.