Local anglers will compete to land the biggest salmon – and the $5,000 that comes with it – at this year’s Bellingham Salmon Derby, hosted by the Bellingham chapter of Puget Sound Anglers.
The three-day fishing derby kicks off Friday, July 12 with more than $20,000 in prizes up for grabs.
Sponsored by local businesses, the derby is open to the public with an entry fee of $50 for adults and free entry for kids under 12 years old. The first place prize is $5,000, second place is $2,500 and the third place wins $1,000. In addition, two prizes of $500 each will be awarded to secret weights, along with hundreds of other prizes.
Contestants have three days to land the biggest salmon they can hook in marine area 7, which extends south from the Canadian border and includes waters off of Blaine, Birch Bay, Bellingham, the San Juan Islands and the northern half of Whidbey Island. Weigh stations will be located at Deer Harbor on Saturday and Sunday, July 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and at Squalicum Harbor on Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon.
Last year, 397 adults and 74 kids entered the derby, and proceeds were donated to Lynden Christian High School, Ferndale High School and Blaine High School for their salmon hatchery projects.
According to chapter vice president Bob Webber, the Bellingham chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers has donated more than $39,000 since 2005 to organizations dedicated to restoring wild salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest.
Derby tickets can be purchased at LFS Marine & Outdoor, Yeager’s Sporting Goods and Clearwater Marine Services in Bellingham, at Dave’s Sports Shop in Lynden and at Holiday Sports Center in Burlington.