MATT SCHUBERT’S OUTDOORS: Salmon derbies spawn

BLESSED ARE THE litigious.

They are given two salmon derbies where there was once one.

Six weeks after the Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby had its first run, the inaugural Discovery Bay Volunteer Fire Fighters Salmon Derby comes to the North Olympic Peninsula.

Smaller than its fellow Discovery Bay Salmon Derby offshoot, the event harkens back to derbies of years past.

“It’s a community derby,” event organizer Barbara Knoepfle said. “It’s the one we’ve always had.”

As has been well-documented in this column space, the original event — the Discovery Bay Salmon Derby — went away for a year after groups from Discovery Bay and Gardiner clashed over where its proceeds should go.

The Gardiner residents held their event Presidents Day weekend, a mega-derby that stretched all the way from Tongue Point near Joyce to Foulweather Bluff in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet).

Now the Discovery Bay Volunteer Fire Fighters get their turn with this weekend’s fishing engagement.

And much like in the years before the Disco Derby was cancelled in 2010, western boundaries will not go past Dungeness Spit.

Fishing will instead be limited to waters east of the spit and Hein Bank, including most of Area 9 toward Double Bluff and Foulweather Bluff.

“We like to keep it like it was,” Knoepfle said.

“And the fish from the other derby, the bigger ones, all came from the Port Townsend area anyway.”

Indeed, those waters produced nearly all of the largest blackmouth during the Olympic Peninsula derby, despite the fact most of the fish came from the Port Angeles area.

Fittingly, the winner — an 18.90-pounder caught by Rob Schmidt of Sequim — was caught in Discovery Bay itself.

The next three largest fish were all brought back to the docks in Port Townsend, ranging from 18.05 to 17.5 pounds in size.

Those were all fin-clipped hatchery fish, per derby rules.

Only fin-clipped fish can be entered into this weekend’s ladder as well.

The top fish will net $3,000, second-place gets $1,200, third $750 and fourth $500.

There will also be other goodies up for grabs thanks to donations from area businesses.

The prize ceremony will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Discovery Bay Store, 282322 U.S. Highway 101.

Tickets cost $30 to fish for one day or both and are available at several area merchants.

Proceeds benefit the Discovery Bay Volunteer Fire Department.

For more information on the derby, visit

More derby

Speaking of derbies, a more exclusive event is scheduled for the Port Townsend area next week.

The All PSA Salmon Derby, open to Puget Sound Anglers members and special guests, will be based out of Point Hudson Marina on Saturday, April 9.

The derby will include waters in Marine Area 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) and Area 9, with fishing open until 4 p.m. for fin-clipped chinook.

Tickets cost $20, with all funds paid out as prizes.

First place gets 40 percent of the pot, second 25 percent, third 15 percent, fourth 10 percent and the mystery fish 10 percent.

Tickets can be purchased by PSA members and guests only. Money must be mailed in by Monday.

To get tickets, North Olympic Peninsula Chapter members should contact Mike Schmidt at 360-460-0331.

East Jefferson Chapter members can contact Jerry Johnson at 360-379-2855.


Matt Schubert is the outdoors and sports columnist for the Peninsula Daily News. His column regularly appears on Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at

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