The 14th annual Roche Harbor Salmon Classic was held on Thursday, Jan. 19 through Saturday, Jan. 21. This year’s event reached their 100-boat maximum limit in the quickest time ever — Oct. 17.
“We’ve sold out all 14 years of the derby except one. Without the anglers, we would just have a big tent and some great food,” said derby organizer Debbie Sandwith. Registration and dinner for the event took place on Thursday.
Fishing kicked off with 347 anglers on the clear, cold morning of Friday, with plenty of wind to keep the helmsman at attention. On the first day of fishing, another record at the derby was broken, as the organizers saw 156 fish weighed in. The previous day record was 104 fish on Friday in 2013.
Saturday dawned with calm seas, dry conditions and blue skies again as the boats raced out at the cannon blast for day two of the event. On Saturday, 140 fish were weighed in for another daily record. In total 296 fish were caught for a total derby record.
There was $25,000 total cash up for grabs. Jerry Thomas of Mount Vernon brought home the first place prize and $10,000 with a catch of 18.12 pounds. Tim Lindeman of Bellingham caught the second place fish — 15.15 pounds. The third largest fish of the weekend was caught by Miles Harris of Federal at 13.5 pounds. Larry Quesnell caught two fish that rounded out the top five places at 13.4 and 12.8 pounds.
The most fish caught (by weight) was team Derek Floyd’s boat, which caught 68.14 pounds of salmon.
The largest fish caught on Friday by a woman was awarded to Friday Harbor’s own Vicky Klein who caught an 11.14-pound Chinook salmon. The lady angler prize on Saturday also went to a Friday Harbor angler, Brenda Schmidt at 11.1 pounds.
The youngest angler over the weekend was 9-year-old Christian Thomas of Puyallup, fishing in his fourth derby.
“The anglers just keep coming back for this quality event, and we thank them all for that with a prime rib, sit-down dinner under an 8,000 square foot tent and free moorage for the weekend,” said derby organizer Debbie Sandwith.