Tickets are on sale now for the 2013 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby.
This annual event occurs on Presidents Day Weekend, Feb. 16-18.
Like last year, the 2013 event encompasses a huge area and, with 500 square miles of fishing. The event features five weigh stations, a $10,000 first prize and four Mystery Fish prizes.
The event, formerly named the "Discovery Bay Salmon Derby," is hosted by the Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that supports area emergency and other services.
This winter's black-mouth classic is part of the Northwest Marine Trade Association’s Northwest Salmon Derby Series.
Dan Tatum, president of Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, said he is excited about the early ticket sales, which in previous years didn’t begin until January.
“Derby tickets make a great present, so we’re glad to get these out for sale before Christmas. I predict there will be a lot of happy fishermen by the end of the month!”
Tatum said he is also proud that, thanks to generous donations, a number of derby tickets will be available for Wounded Warriors (see www.GardinerSalmonDerby.org for details).
Tickets for the derby cost $40 for one day or all three days ($42.50 online).
Tickets can be found at many area merchants through Friday, Feb. 15.
Tickets also can be purchased online until Wednesday, Feb. 13, at www.GardinerSalmonDerby.org, for pickup at one's launch ramp.
Tickets also will be available at the five launch ramps, but only on Saturday, Feb. 16. Ticket sales are limited.
The event spans the North Olympic Peninsula, with weigh stations at five launch ramps: Freshwater Bay, Ediz Hook in Port Angeles, John Wayne Marina in Sequim, Gardiner and Port Townsend Boat Haven.
Derby volunteers inspect and weigh submitted fish; fish are then returned, ensuring a fast, efficient weigh-in process, derby officials say.
Each fish submitted has a chance to win one of four Mystery Fish prizes of $500 each. There will be several other prizes, most of which are donated by area businesses and residents.
The awards ceremony is slated for 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, at the Gardiner Boat Ramp; the ceremony also will include a cash prize raffle. Before the Monday awards ceremony, Tatum noted, derby officials host a free barbecue, starting at 11 a.m.
"It will be a fun time for everyone,” Tatum said.
The Northwest Marine Trade Association will display this year’s fantastic grand prize boat at the award ceremony — each ticket holder is automatically entered into the association's prize boat drawing, held later in the year.
This derby uses selective fishery — clipped-fin hatchery fish only — and it benefits emergency and other vital services for Gardiner, Diamond Point and nearby communities.
For more information, including derby rules, plus information about the prize boat drawing, visit www.GardinerSalmonDerby.org.