KODIAK — They’re not quite sure how long they’ve been running it, but organizers of this year’s Kodiak silver salmon derby are excited all the same.
“We think this might be our 45th year,” Lions Club member Becky Lickfield said.
The annual contest, which begins Friday and runs through Sept. 30, pits fishermen against each other to catch the largest silver salmon on the island, and all proceeds benefit the Lions Club of Kodiak.
“The money stays in the community, and that’s why I’ve been a Lions Club member for 40 years,” said Cy Hoen, owner of Cy’s Sporting Goods, home of the only official weigh station in this year’s contest.
The rules are simple. Fishermen buy a $20 ticket at Cy’s, Mack’s Sport Shop, or from any Lions Club member, then take any silver salmon they catch to Cy’s, where the fish is weighed and listed on a master register. Those who reel in the three heaviest fish win prizes. The top prize is $300, with second place getting $200 and third $100.
Six “mystery fish” prizes will be awarded to people whose fish match randomly chosen weights. There are two $100 mystery prizes and four $50 mystery prizes. Tickets also are used in raffle drawings.
“There’s a drawing at the end that’s going to be for a couple of gift certificates,” Hoen said.
Lickfield said the Lions have improved the contest this year and hope for more participation.
“The last couple years, tickets haven’t been where we want them to be,” she said. “Our object isn’t to make a lot of money; it’s to break even.”
Cy’s will weigh fish, and Hoen said the process has been streamlined this year.
“We’ve eliminated all the hassles of weighing the fish,” he said. “We have a certified scale that we use. We’re weighing fish every day at the store, and that’s 7 to 7. On Sunday, we’ll weigh fish here from 8 to 6.
“All you have to weigh (your fish) is a ticket,” he said.
No special treatment is required for the fish, as the scale is outside, he said. If the fish is heavy enough to be a leader, Hoen said it may be gutted to make sure its weight is honest. Care will be taken in the gutting so it can still be taken to a taxidermist, he said.
All tickets are eligible for the raffle as well as the derby, so non-fishermen are encouraged to buy tickets, as well. Prizes will be awarded at noon Oct. 5 in the Kodiak Senior Center.
While the silver salmon derby is smaller than the Kodiak King Salmon Sports Fishing Tournament, Hoen said that’s intentional.
“We try to keep it small, keep it fun,” he said. “We try to keep it simple, and we try to make it available for everybody.”
Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at editor@kodiak
Silver salmon derby tickets can be purchased at Cy’s Sporting Goods, Mack’s Sport Shop, from any Lions Club member and from the Lions Club booth at the Kodiak State Fair.
The contest runs Aug. 26-Sept. 30, and prizes will be awarded Oct. 5.