Anglers planning to fish the 2015 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby should note the derby will start later this year. Due to the later fishing season start in Marine Area 9 in 2015 — Feb. 16 — the derby will run Feb. 20-22, instead of the traditional Presidents Day weekend. Rather than limit fishing to just one day in Area 9, the decision was made to push the derby back.
There will be two other important changes with next year’s derby, said Dan Tatum, president of the Gardiner Salmon Derby Association that runs the event. The three-day derby will start on a Friday instead of Saturday, with the awards ceremony on Sunday instead of Monday; and all tickets will be sold in advance, with ticket sales ending Feb. 18. Tatum stressed no tickets will be sold at weigh stations during the derby.
The derby will again have a $10,000 first-place prize. The awards ceremony will be held 3 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Gardiner Boat Ramp. A free barbecue will precede the ceremony, starting at noon.
The derby area covers 500 square miles of water that 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 rules require anglers to submit only hatchery fish measuering at least 22 inches long. By limiting the derby to hatchery fish, Tatum said, organizers are supporting the hatchery concept and the goal of a year-round sustainable fishery.
The winter blackmouth derby is part of the Northwest Marine Trade Association’s Northwest Salmon Derby Series.
Proceeds from the derby are used to fund local emergency response and other services.
Tickets are on sale and can be purchased at many area merchants, and cost $40. Tickets also can be purchased online for $42.50.
To learn more, or to order tickets, go to gardinersalmonderby.org.