When it comes to fishing derbies, this one was a blowout.
Mark Thompson of Clinton, Wa., snagged the biggest fish of the weekend, a 19.35-pound blackmouth, to claim top honors — and $10,000 — at the 2019 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby.
Thompson caught his prize winner in Marina Area 9 on March 8 and it was weighed at the Port Townsend weigh station.
Runner-up honors (and $2,000) went to Don Hansen of Port Angeles for his 13.9-pound fish in Marine Area 6 that was weighed in at the Gardiner launch ramp.
Third place went to Chris Gregerson from Poulsbo, who earned $1,000 for a 13.65-pound catch in Marine Area 9.
Both second and third place fish were caught on March 8.
In all, 762 tickets were sold for this year’s event, held in March for the second consecutive year instead of its usual President’s Day weekend time slot.
“The second week in March is now Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby’s regular time slot as the weather was pretty spectacular and much better than our previous February dates,” Gardiner Salmon Derby Association President Kathy Watrous said.
More than 230 fish weighed in at 6 pounds or more, with an average fish weight of 7.95 pounds — compared to the 2018 count of 232 fish averaging 8 pounds.
The prize ladder value was $20,241, including four, $500 mystery fish prizes. Mystery fish prize winners were Jordon Bond of Sequim, Ken Blankenship of Poulsbo, Jared Gates of Ferndale and Andrew Sauvage of Seattle.
The Gardiner Salmon Derby Association sponsors this annual event, with proceeds going to community support, emergency services and high school scholarships.
The derby started in 1973 and is run by volunteers from Gardiner and surrounding areas.
The Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby is a part of the Northwest Marine Trade Association’s Northwest Salmon Derby Series, and all ticket holders are now eligible to win the grand prize Derby Series boat valued at $75,000 that will be awarded in September.
Find additional details about this year’s derby and the Gardiner Salmon Derby Association at www.gardinersalmonderby.org or www.facebook.com/SalmonDerby.