May 24, 2012 | Vol. 42, No. 21

For 34th king derby, 19K in cash, prizes

The 34th annual King Salmon Derby features more than $19,000 in cash and prizes.

“It’s just such a fun community event for everybody to get out there. It’s exciting and you have a chance to catch that big fish,” said Toni DeWitt, who co-chairs the derby with Kim Larson.

The event centered at Letnikof Dock runs 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Monday and has the same hours the following weekend, June 2-3. Fish may be turned in only between those times at the derby dock.

“If you buy a ($50) season pass, you can get your ticket punched on Saturday and you can fish all the way through to 6 p.m. on Monday,” DeWitt said.

“People have to be careful, because they have to keep those fish nice and fresh, otherwise they could be rejected, but it gives them the opportunity to fish the tides and fish earlier in the morning if they want to get an earlier start.”

One change to the derby is that children 4 years old and younger won’t need a ticket.

“We had that requirement where everybody on the boat had to have a derby ticket, even the babies, but we’ve changed it this year,” DeWitt said. “Under 5, you don’t have to have a derby ticket, but you may not fish the derby or have a pole in the water.”

Last year’s derby concluded with 41 kings caught on the final Sunday. Bob Piper was a first-time winner, with a 39-pound catch near Glacier Point in a 17-foot Boston Whaler.

The top prize is valued at $2,632, plus a bonus if the entrant is a current Haines Sportsmen’s Association member. The association sponsors the derby as a fundraiser for youth activities and donates about $5,000 annually to local causes, including scholarships.

Examples of other derby prizes include awards for the 20 largest king salmon, first fish and biggest fish of the day, smallest fish, oldest fisherman, boat entering the most pounds, and top out-of-town participant. Children also can earn honors for Dolly Varden catches.

Brochures with rules, prizes and derby history are available at sporting goods stores and the visitor center.

For more information, contact DeWitt at 766-2490, Larson at 766-3885 or visit the “Haines King Salmon Derby” Facebook page.