OUTDOORS: La Conner man wins Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby with 15.4-pound salmon
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Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News
Larry Quesnell of La Conner, center, won the 2014 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby by catching a 15.4-pound blackmouth. Quesnell receives $10,000 for his win. Port Townsend’s Jay Campbell, right, took second place with a 15.25-pound fish, and Port Angeles’ Geoffrey Cobb, left, was third with a 14.25-pounder.

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GARDINER — Larry Quesnell of La Conner won the 2014 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby with a 15.4-pound salmon.

Quesnell caught his fish Sunday off Diamond Point using a orange herring with a hood.

He was fishing alongside last year's winner, Jerry Thomas of Mount Vernon, but credited a stronger source than experience for his win.

“We got lucky,” Quesnell said Monday.

Whatever was on his side, Quesnell earns $10,000 for his fish.

A pair of North Olympic Peninsula residents claimed second and third place.

Jay Campbell of Port Townsend won the $2,000 second-place prize with a 15.25 pound blackmouth, while $1,000 third-place prize, donated by 7 Cedars Casino of Blyn, went to Port Angeles' Geoffrey Cobb, who caught a 14.25-pound fish. (All weights are in decimal pounds, not pounds and ounces.)

Weather conditions, particularly the wind, made fishing difficult and resulted in a smaller-than-usual band of determined anglers to compete for $22,833 in prizes.

Dan Tatum, President of Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, just shakes his head about the weather.

“This was the toughest we've had in years, with gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour. That's rough in a small boat,” Dan Tatum, president of the derby's host the Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, said in a news release.

“Weather reports before the derby were discouraging, which kept a lot of people away. We sold 600 tickets this year, less than we hoped due to the weather.”

We had decent fishing, considering, but everybody who was out there knows why this derby gets called 'the iron man derby.'

“People came a long way to visit our area, from Idaho and even Florida. All those visitors help the region during slow February.”

Large cash prizes were funded through ticket sales, but all other prizes were donated by area residents and businesses.

Net proceeds from each derby support emergency services and other community needs in the Gardiner area.

Overall, 171 blackmouth over 6 pounds were submitted, below last year's record of 249 6-plus-pounders, but in line with earlier derbies.

The average weight was 8.6 pounds.

The final prize ladder had 51 winning fish. The smallest prize-winner was 9.65 pounds, and the winners had an average prize-winning weight of 11.1 pounds.

Last modified: February 17. 2014 6:30PM
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