Wrangell fishing derby casts off next week

Don’t let this be the one that got away.

The Wrangell King Salmon Derby gets underway on June 15 and runs through July 3. At stake is $7,900 in cash prizes.

The heaviest king salmon will get the biggest prize, as first place in the derby wins $3,000; second place wins $2,000; and third place wins $1,000. If two people land fish that weigh the same, the person who gets it weighed first will win.

There will also be a $500 prize for the biggest fish caught on opening day, a $500 prize for the biggest caught on Father’s Day, two $250 random weight prizes awarded by Rayme’s Bar and Totem Bar, and three cash prizes for kids 12 and under.

Every derby ticket purchased will be entered into a drawing to win two round-trip tickets to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies.

Tickets to enter the derby are $25 and people also need to have a state sportfishing license and a state king salmon stamp. Alaska residents under 18 don’t need a license, but if they are going to fish in the derby they still need a ticket. All entrants need to carry their tickets when they are fishing.

If someone joins a contestant who is fishing, that person is not allowed to fish unless he or she has purchased a ticket as well. People can enter at wrangellfishderby.com, at the chamber of commerce, Angerman’s, Ottesen’s Ace Hardware, Sentry Hardware or Totem Bar.

Last year’s derby was the first in Wrangell since 2017, as the fishing effort was cut back to help protect weak king salmon returns.

Brittani Robbins, executive director of the chamber of commerce, the organization running the event, has a fondness for the derby since she is a past winner.

“I’ve placed twice,” she said. “I won the kids 12-and-under derby when I was 12 and 63rd place overall in the main derby. At 17, I placed 14th overall. I’m the only person in my family to ever place in the derby.”

Of course, Robbins has her place in the 67 years of derby history, but the top honor goes to the late Doris Iverson. In 1955, Iverson was the first woman to win the derby. She also set the record of biggest fish at 74.4 pounds. The record remains unbroken.

Derby contestants also must follow Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulations when it comes to sport fishing. King salmon caught must be over 28 inches or longer.

For more information on contest rules and what areas can and cannot be fished, visit wrangellfishderby.com. For bag limits and other regulations, visit adfg.alaska.gov.

The awards ceremony is tentatively set for July 9.

Trevor Acker won last year’s derby with a 36.9-pound king.


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