Derby fishing is an Alaskan pastime that predates statehood. Consider derbies like the 2009 Homer Winter King Derby (3/21/09) in which 804 anglers braved the weather to land 70 kings. Total payout was $60,225 to the top ten finishers, with $16,863 going to the winner.
Popular derbies include Homer, Seward, Whittier, Wasilla, Anchorage and Valdez. Southeast derby hotspots are Ketchikan, Wrangell, Pelican, Petersburg, Sitka, Skagway and Juneau. For the widest range of derbies try Valdez. For a chance at the biggest payout, try the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby.
Itís nice to see specialty derbies for children. The Valdez Kidís Pink Salmon Derby took place on 7/18/09. On an annual basis, expect lots of prizes in four age groups (5-7, 8-10, 11-13, 14-16). All you have to do is catch a pink from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and bring it to the weigh-in station located next to the Harbormasterís office. Youíll get a ticket to the barbeque that follows and, if available, a free t-shirt.
The Golden North Salmon Derby began in Juneau in 1947. Fish are turned in to be sold with proceeds going to the Territorial Sportsmen Scholarship Foundation, which since 1953 has provided over 200 scholarships to deserving young people in Southeast. Scholarships are available for vocational school, college, and graduate studies. Enter the derby from 8/14Ė8/16/09.
In 2009 anglers have an opportunity to enter a new derby where funds are raised for breast cancer research. The Fish For a Cure Silver Salmon Derby takes place from 8/1Ė8/16/09 and is a Wasilla Chamber of Commerce derby sponsored by Fred Meyer and 3 Rivers Fly and Tackle.
There are prizes for men, women and children divisions. Weigh-ins and ticket sales ($20) will take place at 3 Rivers Fly and Tackle, and other valley locations, including Susitna Landing and Mahayís Riverboat Service. On 8/8/09 there will be a free barbeque with live music at the 3 Rivers Willow location, and a representative from the American Cancer Society will be in attendance. For more information, check out www.silversforacure.com.