Restrictions likely won't affect salmon derby

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2008

New restrictions on reeling in king salmon likely won't hurt this year's Golden North Salmon Derby, according to officials with the derby and a state agency.

The restrictions, issued earlier this week by the state Department of Fish and Game for Southeast Alaska, limited catching king salmon smaller than 48 inches.

An exception in the restrictions from Aug. 15 through 25 was originally intended for the salmon derby, said Charlie Swanton, the director of the sport fish division at Fish and Game.

But the derby is scheduled for Aug. 8 through 10.

Swanton said the restrictions were needed because the overall number of king salmon in the Pacific Northwest was down.

The state Board of Fisheries has to power to change the dates so derby goers can catch smaller kings, and Swanton said Fish and Game is trying to arrange a teleconference for them to do so.

"It's going be sooner rather than later, so it's not hanging in the balance," Swanton said, adding that he didn't think it would be a very controversial decision.

One of the event's organizers, Wayne Regelin, said he was optimistic the date change would happen.

Regelin, who is president of the Territorial Sportsmen - the group that organizes the event, estimated that only about 100 kings are caught every year during the derby.

He added that the derby wasn't in danger of being canceled if the restrictions stayed in place.

"We could still have the derby, but people like to catch the bigger fish, too," Regelin said.

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