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Last Chance Salmon Derby


Last Chance Salmon Derby 2013 Winners

Pictured from left – Chinook: Tim Gauthun 30.8 lbs, Randy Lato standing in for Gerald Hanson 30.4 lbs, Will Quinn 27.8 lbs; Coho: Cliff Dopps 10.6 lbs, John Rand 7.5 lbs, Jan DeFelice 7.2 lbs; Bottom Fish: Drew Persoon 29.4 lbs (Lingcod)

The Last Chance Salmon Derby had 91 enter to try and win biggest Chinook, Coho and bottom fish.  Most thought the derby would have to be called off this year, after an iffy forecast at the beginning of last week.  But as in years past, it was able to take place for at least one day.  The die-hards that fish this derby year after year showed up early Saturday, along with some newbies ready to land the big one, but the fish didn’t start biting until after lunch.  The ladder slowly filled up and for a while, a three pound rockfish was winning the bottom fish category, until the huge lingcod was brought in.

The derby volunteers enjoyed the sun, weighed fish, kept the donuts stocked and got to visit with some  of the fishermen that came in to take a break from the rough seas.   Most wouldn’t admit to being seasick, but a few did look a little green.

On Sunday at 6am, after consulting with the Coast Guard, the derby was called due to size restrictions for boats going out.  The prizes, $500 for largest Chinook and $500 for largest Coho, $250 for 2nd largest and $100 for 3rd largest Chinook and Coho, and $100 for largest bottom fish, were awarded at 9am.  The ticket-holder drawing was held for items donated to the derby by local merchants.  The Grand Prize,  a two-night stay at the Quileute Oceanside Resort was awarded to former Forks resident Richard Hansen.  Although this prize has no black-out dates,  we hope he will use it the first weekend of October next year.  Just like last year’s winner did this year!

The Last Chance Salmon Derby is an annual event co-sponsored by the City of Forks, the Quileute Tribe and the Forks Chamber of Commerce. Visit us on Facebook!


The first derby was held in 2001 as a cooperative venture between the City of Forks, the Quileute Tribe and the Forks Chamber of Commerce. It’s held near the end of the fishing year as a “bubble season event.” The derby has run each year since except for 2005 when the event was cancelled at the last moment because of weather.

It is planned for two days (Saturday and Sunday) but there have been years when it closed early or only ran one day (such as in 2007) due to weather. The Coast Guard, who has always had an active role in overseeing the derby, determines whether or not to “close the bar” and thus shut down the derby. Their concern has always been safety first.

Cash prizes are awarded for largest, second largest and third largest Coho and Chinook and largest bottom fish. At one time, a prize was awarded for largest Lingcod as well as fourth, fifth, and sixth largest Coho and Chinook. In 2010, the latter three prizes were discontinued, as was the Lingcod category. Donated merchandise is given away at the end of the derby to the ticket-holders present.

The entry fee was $30 for both days of fishing until 2010 when it was dropped to $25 for the 2 days.

While not a big derby, as derbies go, participants proclaim it a “fun one” and many come back year after year to fish the tricky waters of La Push.

The derby is co-sponsored by the Forks Chamber of Commerce, City of Forks and the Quileute Tribe.

Click here to see Last Chance Salmon Derby 2013 Regulations