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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 30, 2010 at 10:02 PM

Anacortes Salmon Derby draws more than a thousand anglers this past weekend

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The Anacortes Salmon Derby was held this past weekend, and the high note was all the big chinook caught in this event that lured 1,100 anglers.

The top nine chinook caught all weighed 20-plus pounds, and on the first day alone a 132 hatchery-marked fish were weighed in this derby that had anglers spread throughout the San Juan Islands.

“We had some very nice fish caught in the derby, and a great turnout,” said Jay Field, spokesman for the Fidalgo Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers the host club and owner of Dash One Charters.

“This event is the result of hundreds and hundreds of hours of planning and effort by members of the Fidalgo Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers who are dedicated to producing the premier salmon derby in the state,” Field said. “We’re very proud of what we have accomplished here.”

The winner of $15,000 was Ralph Thomas of Tacoma who caught a 27.48 pound chinook on the first day on the west side of Obstruction Island.

“I thought at first that my fishing line was hung-up on a nearby crab pot, but when I grabbed my rod and started to reel, he just took off.” Thomas said. “At the rate that fish was peeling off line, I knew I had a good one. The fish almost took all my line off the reel before I caught back up with it.”

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When asked what he was going to do with his share of the winnings, Thomas said “Things have been tight, financially, and this couldn’t have come at a better time.”

The second place prize of $5,000 went to John Belarde of Woodinville with his 25.72-pound chinook caught in Thatcher Pass. The third place prize of $2,500 went to Seth Baumgarten of Kirkland with a 24.38 chinook, Timothy Starkovich of Anacortes took fourth with a 22.98 chinook, and Russ Lett of Oak Harbor took fifth with a 22.72 chinook.

Congressman Norm Dicks, an avid salmon angler took time off from his job in Washington D.C. where he serves on several committees in the House of Representatives, and managed to take 11th place in the derby with a 17.1 pound chinook.

The proceeds from the Anacortes Salmon Derby fund scholarships to benefit young adults pursuing a career in fisheries and related science. The club disbursed over $25,000 in scholarship and grant money last year.

Here are the complete results for the Anacortes Salmon Derby Web site.

(Photos taken by Tony Floor)

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