Spending a day on the water fishing with friends is a priceless experience. But when you've got a chance to win prizes while you troll, it makes the best time even better.
From Aug. 4-6, hundreds of Alaskans will spend the weekend fishing for the elusive king salmon that will win the 60th Annual Golden North Salmon Derby, landing the winner amazing cash and prizes. In addition to the heaviest fish, prizes will also be awarded in a myriad of categories ranging from the largest coho caught by a child 12 and under, to the largest fish caught by a Smith Barney client. And that's not even counting the top 100 prizes awarded to anglers who bring in the heaviest fish.
Even better, prior to the derby, 12 tagged salmon will be released on the derby grounds, one of which could win the fisherman who brings it to the boat $100,000. The other 11 tagged fish aren't a bad catch either-each one of them will win their angler $1,000.
Of course, as anyone who has ever fished the derby knows, the real winners of the event are the southeastern students who are awarded scholarships to attend their chosen schools. Since 1953, the Territorial Sportsmen Scholarship Fund has awarded more than $1.1 million to 201 students, many of whom have earned their degrees and returned to Juneau to live, and often, fish in future derbies.
While fish are definitely in the area, there's no telling what size catch might take the top spot this year.
Last year's winner, Debbie White, won the derby with a 32.9 king salmon.
In addition to hoping for large fish, Derby organizers are also crossing their fingers for good weather during the event.
Another change this year is that boats are allowed to overnight in Swanson Harbor, instead of having to find an anchorage closer in.
For more information on the derby, visit www.salmonderby.org.