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Salmon Derby

It’s Year 2 for the Ketchikan (Silver) Salmon Derby.

And Year 72 for the derby itself.

The derby — for the second year since its 1947 start — will target silver salmon instead of kings.

The change came about after the Alaska Department of Fish and Game restricted king salmon catches in 2018 because of concern about the health of the king salmon stocks.

Traditionally, the king derby had started over the Memorial Day Weekend and ended at the close of the second weekend following, winding up before the middle of June.

Last year ADF&G officials prohibited king catches before June 15 in most areas.

Cognizant of the sensitive nature of the king fishery, derby officials switched the derby to encompass Labor Day Weekend instead of Memorial Day and moved the target to silvers.

The derby is set to start this morning and continue for three weekends, ending at the close of the Labor Day Weekend.

Gerald Hughes is the reigning champ from the 2018 silver derby. He caught a 16.4-pound fish to take the top prize of $10,000. The derby offers $82,000 in prizes this year.

Because silvers typically weigh much less than kings, the winners likely will be separated by ounces instead of pounds. The small range of weights also increases the likelihood of fish weighing the same being entered in the derby; in such cases, the fish entered first will take the higher spot on the derby ladder.

ADF&G rules will apply during the derby, and a valid ADF&G fishing license is required for participation. At present, six silvers may be caught on a single derby day per person.

The race for the biggest silver begins at 7 a.m. Saturday at the four weigh-in stations — Clover Pass Resort, Knudson Cove Marina, Bar Harbor and Mountain Point. They are being manned by members of Rotary 2000, the Society of American Foresters, Ketchikan Lion’s Club and Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, who will begin punching derby tickets at 6:45 a.m. Saturday of each derby weekend. The stations will close at 7 p.m. each weekend day and on Labor Day.

The derby will have daily drawing prizes and special prize categories. Rules pertaining to prizes, both the adult and youth prize ladders, and other guidelines pertaining to the derby are posted on the Ketchikan Charr Salmon Derby website at http://www.ketchikancharrsalmonderby.com.

Proceeds from the derby go into Charr’s Education Fund, from which it distributes local scholarships.

It’s a good cause with good prizes and undoubtedly good times.

All in all, it makes for a few good days of fishing.