The Craig-Klawock King Salmon Derby is underway and runs through Aug. 15. As of July 14, the biggest king reported caught in the derby was 37 pounds, said City of Craig Treasurer Sherie Purser. The City of Craig has been organizing the derby for the last few years.  

Top prize in the derby is $3,000, followed by $2,000 and $1,000 prizes for second and third place, respectively. Last year’s winning entry was a 50.6-pound king caught by Rich Manning of Craig.

An Aug. 21 outdoor social is planned at Craig’s Cannery Point to celebrate the end of the derby and award prizes, including a $10,000 raffle prize drawing, said Victoria Merritt, who’s also with the City of Craig. Although there was a derby last year, there was no social due to the COVID pandemic.

Tickets may be purchased for the derby and raffle, or raffle only. Purser said about 120 tickets had been sold so far, mostly derby tickets. These are available at Black Bear, Petro Marine, AC stores, JT Browns, Log Cabin Sports, Alaska Gifts, the POW Chamber of Commerce, local lodges and Craig City Hall.

Derby weigh-in stations are at Black Bear Store in Klawock and the Petro Marine fuel dock in Craig.

Ticket proceeds fund the prizes. Any excess goes toward city expenses such as electricity and maintenance at the king salmon enhancement facility located on Port Saint Nicholas Road, said Craig City Administrator Jon Bolling in a phone interview. The Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture leases the facility from the city to raise and release king and chum salmon, he said.

He noted that the conservation concerns that lead to the cancellation of Ketchikan’s king salmon derby do not exist on the west coast of Prince of Wales Island.

At this time, it appears the sport harvest will remain within its allocation and there will not be a closure to king salmon fishing in Southeast, said Alaska Department of Fish & Game Area Management Biologist Craig Schwanke in Craig, in written comments. Fish and Game continuously monitors king salmon sport angler harvest in-season.

If a closure is necessary, it will likely be for nonresident anglers only, he added.

 Sportfishing limits for king salmon are one king annually for non-residents and two kings per day for residents.  

 For more derby information, please call Craig City Hall.