Disco Bay Salmon Derby on tap

The 32nd Discovery Bay Salmon Derby, the longest-running salmon derby in Washington, is slated for Feb. 16-18.

Fishers compete for cash and other prizes worth more than $10,000 — including $3,000 for first, $1,500 for second and $750 for third. There’s also a “Smallest Legal Salmon” prize of $500.

Due to changes in state fishery rules, which now require Selective Fishery for much of the area, this year only “clipped fin” fish can be submitted. According to derby spokesman Dan Tatum, “Selective Fishery is the way of the future. You can see this from last year’s derby where 77 percent of the 133 entries had clipped fins, including first- and third-place winners.”

This event represents four decades of local support for vital emergency response services. Proceeds go to Jefferson County District No. 5 Volunteer Fire Department, one that depends on derby funds for such uses as purchasing new equipment and ongoing training.

Fishing times are daylight-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and daylight-noon Monday. The award ceremony begins at 2 p.m. Monday at the Gardiner boat ramp.

There are three boat launches within the derby area: Port Townsend Boat Haven gas dock, Gardiner boat ramp and John Wayne Marina. This year, all three locations have fish weigh-in stations.

Fishing boundaries are the same as last year, described in the derby brochure. They include parts of Marine Areas 6, 7 and 9, spanning east/west from Whidbey Island to New Dungeness Lighthouse and north/south from Hein Bank to Tala Point.

This large area reduces the risk of bad winds, seas or weather — trouble at one place usually is offset by good fishing elsewhere.

“Gardiner is brought together each year by the derby,” Tatum said. “Volunteers, sponsors and derby participants all combine to help us maintain our local emergency services. Ours is the only salmon derby in the state like this. Many are just club projects or money-making ventures.”

The derby is part of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series, run by the Northwest Marine Trade Association.

All derby ticket holders will be entered in the end-of-year grand prize drawing for a 23-foot, welded-aluminum, center-console Pacific boat powered by a 225 four-stroke Suzuki motor and a 9.9 high-thrust Suzuki kicker, with a tandem axle EZ Loader trailer and a long list of electronics and other features — a $70,000 value.

There also will be a “Kids’ Division” drawing, for anglers who don’t turn 16 until after the derby, for a 14-foot Stabi-Craft boat powered by a 25 hp four-stroke Suzuki motor, with a trailer and many features — a $12,000 value. 

Ticket sales started the first week in January. The $30 ticket covers all three days and will be available online at, at many local vendors through the close of business Saturday and at the three drop-off stations during the derby.

Further details and derby rules can be found at www.DiscoBay; or call 360-797-7711.

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