A sign points the way to the weigh station at the Mike Pusich Douglas Harbor during last year’s Golden North Salmon Derby on Aug. 16, 2020. This year is the derby’s 75th year and organizers have added additional prizes in celebration of the event. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

A sign points the way to the weigh station at the Mike Pusich Douglas Harbor during last year’s Golden North Salmon Derby on Aug. 16, 2020. This year is the derby’s 75th year and organizers have added additional prizes in celebration of the event. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Salmon derby celebrates 75 years with new ways to win

Teams can compete for special prizes, but top fish will net $10,000.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated open hours of the derby weigh stations. This article has been updated to reflect the change. The Empire regrets the error.

The 75th annual Golden North Salmon Derby kicks off this Friday and in celebration of the anniversary, organizers added extra prizes and new ways to compete.

The competition will run as it normally does, according to Chrissy McNally, co-coordinator of the derby, but this year participants can join as a team of up to four to enter into a special prize drawing.

“This is the 75th derby so we wanted to incorporate something new and fun,” McNally told the Empire Monday. “Team fishing is pretty popular in other fishing derbies around the country, and we thought it would generate some prizes.”

The top three team winners will be entered into a drawing where the first-place team will have a chance to win up to $75,000, McNally said. But the rest of the derby will operate under the same rules as past years with all ticket holders being entered into a prize raffle and the option to donate fish to scholarship funding for local students.

[28-pounder leads Golden North Salmon Derby]

The top fish will receive a prize package including $10,000 in cash, according to the derby website, and the remaining winners through the 50th will have the option to choose prize packages in the order that their fish placed. But this year, because 75th anniversaries are sometimes called “diamond” anniversaries, every fish entered will receive a raffle ticket with the chance to win a diamond ring.

The derby traditionally awards a prize to the fish whose place number matches the anniversary year — this year the 75th placed fish — and McNally said that prize package is worth over $1,800 in cash and gift cards.

The weigh stations are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, by which time all boats wanting to enter fish must be inside the designated finish line. Pink and chum salmon will not be accepted. The winners for the past two years have been king salmon, with last year’s winner weighing in at over 28 lbs.

Fish must be caught from vessels, according to derby rules, and fish caught from the shore will not be accepted. There’s a special prize of $500 for the first salmon caught on a jetski on Friday.

Weigh stations are located at Douglas, Auke Bay and Amalga harbors are will be open from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Prizes will be awarded Thursday, Aug. 19, at Centennial Hall at 5:30 p.m., and winners or their representatives must be present to collect the prize. Face masks will be required to pick up prizes, according to the derby website.

All fish from the derby are sold to Alaska Glacier Seafood and the proceeds from their sale are donated to a scholarship fund.

A complete list of the derby’s rules and prizes can be found at the derby website, goldennorthsalmonderby.com.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.

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