Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Coho derby to last through October


September 14, 2017

Haines’ first Silver Salmon Derby kicked off Sunday. The event, sponsored by the Haines Sportsman’s Association, will run through Oct. 29.

Cash will be awarded to the fishermen with the heaviest fish: $1,000 first prize, $500 second prize and $250 third prize. Miscellaneous prizes will be awarded to other top contenders.

Board member Charlie DeWitt said one important rule of the derby is that another licensed fisherman has to witness an angler catching a fish to be submitted in the derby.

Anglers must adhere to all Fish and Game regulations. Bag limits on the Chilkat River are three coho salmon per day and six in possession. On the Chilkoot River, bag and possession limits are two per day, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The Sportsman’s Association will use proceeds from the derby to fund scholarships for local students, which previously had been funded by the king salmon derby.

The group has been forced to cancel its king salmon derby the past three years due to fishing restrictions to protect the king salmon populations in Lynn Canal.

DeWitt said the Sportman’s Association expects to have about 100 participants in the new derby, including anglers from across the border.

“I’ve always participated in the king salmon derby since 1975,” DeWitt said. “It’s a big part of my life, being together with family and having fun fishing. It’s not about the prizes, it’s about trying to catch the wily coho.”

Tickets are $25 and available at the Alaska Sport Shop and Outfitter Sporting Goods, which also have weigh stations for the fish and rule sheets. The salmon must be gutted and gilled before they are weighed.

Coho salmon start to run in early September when the glaciers stop melting. Water becomes clear of glacial silt and water levels drop.

The Chilkat River coho salmon run averages 70,000 fish, according to Fish and Game data.


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