First thing this morning, as a sunny day dawned on the horizon, charter boats, and private fishing boats filled with eager anglers headed out into Resurrection Bay, hoping to catch that one special Silver (or Coho) salmon. The Seward Silver Salmon Derby, a big Seward Chamber of Commerce summer event, started today, and runs through August 19th. Local grocery store cashiers were readying themselves last night for an enormous influx of customers from Anchorage and beyond that has seen incoming crowds that rival those of the July 4th weekend.
The derby is one of the oldest and largest in the state. Anglers vie for the largest Coho, or tagged-fish worth monetary prizes, depending upon the tag. Winners include $10,000 for the biggest Silver, to a Chevy pickup truck from Chevrolet, South Anchorage that’s worth $50,000. Other prizes run in the lower numbers, ranging from the second largest fish winning $5,000 on down, and prizes are offered daily for the largest fish of that day.
In the past 55 years of Derby, Shirley Baysinger’s 22.24-pound Coho, caught in 2002, holds the record. Expect slow fishing from the beaches at first, although that should improve daily, according to Tony Weaver’s updated fishing report. Some charter vessel operators, and Seward businesses co-sponsor the event, including LeSea Charters, Semaka Charters, Soo’s B&B, Sunny Cove Kayaking, Urbach’s Clothier, Ray’s Waterfront Restaurant, Alaska SeaLife Center, and the Breeze Inn. Proceeds from the Coho turned in support fish enhancement programs benefiting stocks in Resurrection Bay. Daily tickets to participate are $10, and tickets for the full event are $50.