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Peninsula Daily News
EVERYTHING IS COMING together nicely for the 2013 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby.
The prizes continue to roll in and the event continues to expand.
All that’s needed is hungry blackmouth and cooperative weather, but there is nothing the Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, the derby’s organizer, can do about those important factors.
As always, the Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby will take place during Presidents Day weekend, Saturday through Monday, Feb. 16-18.
The derby raises money for emergency and other vital services for Gardiner, Diamond Point and nearby communities, and the influx of anglers is a boon to local economies during the otherwise slow month of February.
The derby offers 500 square miles of fishing with five participating launch ramps and weigh stations — Freshwater Bay, Ediz Hook in Port Angeles, John Wayne Marina in Sequim, Gardiner, and Port Townsend Boat Haven.
Even better, the fees at all of the launch ramps have been waived for derby participants, according to Dan Tatum, the president of Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, who credited “generous support” from Port of Port Townsend and Port of Port Angeles for the waived fees.
Of course, the biggest draw to the derby has to be the prizes.
As of Wednesday, the derby had received $20,020 worth of prizes, most of which have been donated by area businesses and residents.
The biggest prize for the biggest fish is $10,000. Second place earns $2,000 and third place pockets $1,000.
Other prizes include cash, fishing gear, a Lowrance HDS GPS/Sonar unit, Masterbuilt electric smokehouse, gift certificates and a two-night stay in a cabin overlooking Sequim Bay.
Only clipped-fin hatchery chinook are eligible for prizes, as the wild chinook fishery is not open.
You don’t even need to catch a fish to strike it rich. There is a $500 mystery fish prize that everyone with a derby ticket is eligible to win.
See the complete prize list here: http://tinyurl.com/DerbyPrizes.
The derby is part of the Northwest Marine Trade Association’s Northwest Salmon Derby Series.
Every ticket holder is automatically entered into Northwest Marine’s prize boat drawing at the end of the year. The boat will be on display at the derby.
The derby features various activities outside of the fishing.
There will be a free barbecue meal from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Sea Marine at the Point Hudson Boat Haven.
During the meal, a couple of Salt Patrol boats will demonstrate the latest Lowrance equipment.
Tickets for the derby cost $40, whether you fish for one day or all three days.
Tickets will be sold until Friday, Feb. 15, at retailers throughout the area, including Brian’s Sporting Goods and More in Sequim; Four Corners Store, Fish N Hole and Westside Marine in Port Townsend; Olympic Equipment Rental (formerly Just Ask Rentals) in Port Hadlock; Longhouse Market and Deli in Blyn; and Swain’s General Store in Port Angeles.
You can also purchase tickets online at www.tinyurl.com/SalmonDerbyTix for $42.50 through Wednesday, Feb. 13.
Your last chance to purchase a derby ticket will be the opening day of the derby, Saturday, Feb. 16, at each of the five participating launch ramps.
The awards ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, at the Gardiner Boat Ramp.
If you didn’t get enough free barbecue a few days before, there will be more at the awards ceremony location, starting at 11 a.m.
So, buy your ticket and start crossing your fingers or saying prayers that the blackmouth will be feeding and the weather will be calm.
For more information, including the map of the derby’s fishing area and other rules, visit the derby’s website at www.GardinerSalmonDerby.org.
Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.