If the 57th Golden North Salmon Derby has a golden rule, it involves having a good time and turning in even smaller king and coho for the scholarship fund, Susan Listberger, this year's derby publicity chair, said.
But anyone looking to win the derby will have to play by a set of rules.
It's about getting the biggest king and silver salmon. Pink and chum salmon will not be accepted. The fish have to be caught with lawful sport fishing tackle from a vessel, and the vessel cannot stray from derby waters during the event.
Derby waters extend as far south as a line from Point Styleman to Twin Point on the Glass Peninsula. Participants can fish as far north as St. James Bay, but waters north of a line from Point Whidbey to Point Bridget are out of bounds.
On the west side of Admiralty Island, the rules allow derby fishing as far south as a line from Point Lizard Head to Point Couverdon, about four nautical miles south of Clear Point at Funter Bay. In the Taku Inlet, a line from Cooper Point to Greeley Point marks the boundary.
The 5 mph zones near derby official stations also are closed to derby fishing.
Anyone is eligible to participate after acquiring a validated entry ticket. For contestants 13 and older, the entry ticket will cost $35. Contestants 12 and younger will be charged $10. Contestants must validate their tickets on their first day of fishing.
That can be done at nine sites, beginning at 7:30 a.m. each derby day. Validation will run until 8:30 a.m. at Aurora Basin and Harris Harbor; until 9:30 a.m. at DeHart's, Fisherman's Bend and the North Douglas Boat Ramp; and until 7 p.m. at Amalga Harbor, Auke Bay, Douglas Boat Harbor and Tee Harbor.
The use of firearms on a boat will disqualify all of its contestants. While non-contestants are allowed on boats, any fishing they do would disqualify any constants.
Speeding, boating outside the derby area or posing a hazard to other contestants also will get contestants on a boat disqualified.
Fish must be brought in to be weighed in the round and uncleaned by vessel to any of three shoreside stations or the packer boat. Amalga Harbor, Auke Bay and Douglas Harbor will operate weigh-in stations from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Saturday and from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The location of the packer will vary depending on conditions, Listberger said. It will arrive mid-morning and leave late in the afternoon.
Contestants must be across the finish line at the three shoreside weighing stations by the time the closing signal goes off if they have any fish to enter.
When presenting a fish, the contestant must show a validated derby ticket. All fish should be iced as soon as possible. Dark fish will not be accepted.
Salmon that show evidence of contamination, sunburn bruising or flesh deterioration, as determined by the judges, also will not be accepted.