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Reel 'Em In: Unalaska Kicks Off Fifth Annual Silver Salmon Derby

Courtesy of PCR

Unalaska's Department of Parks, Culture, and Recreation's 5th annual Silver Salmon Derby started Tuesday. Registration is open and encouraged now through the final day of the derby on Monday, Sept. 14. 

"Participants just need to register at the front desk of the Community Center, either prior to or at least when they bring their first fish in for submission," said event organizer and PCR Special Events Coordinator Nichel Kernin. "And anybody can partake. It's open to all ages, and they can submit one fish per day throughout the 14 days." 

Kernin said there will be drawings and prizes every day during the two-week period. And anyone who has submitted a fish at the Community Center will be entered to win.

"How the drawing will work is each day I will pull a number out of a box and whoever has the closest weight to that [number], up until that day, wins the prize for that day," explained Kernin. "So if I pull [the number] 10.8 out and your fish was a 10.76 [pounds], you would win that prize for the day."

According to Kernin, the PCR will also be giving awards for the biggest fish of the day on Saturday, Sept. 5 and Saturday, Sept. 14. At the end of the derby, she said prizes will also be awarded to first, second, and third place for the biggest fish overall.

Prizes range from gigs of OptimERA wi-fi, to three yards of concrete, to $1,000 for the person who submits the largest fish throughout the derby.

Participants are allowed to submit one silver salmon per day. The fish must be submitted on the day it was caught, unless the Community Center is closed. In which case, Kernin suggested bringing the fish in for evaluation and measurement early the next morning.

Kernin said staff will return the fish to participants after they've been measured and inspected. She encouraged people to eat or preserve their fish and not just to participate for the prizes.

"I want people to genuinely fish because it's fun—it's something to do," said Kernin. "There are fun prizes, but also preserve [the] fish. And if people have too many and they don't have anybody to give them to, they're welcome to donate them to the PCR and we will provide them to the elders in the community." 

Fish must be caught with a hook in the mouth on a sport-fish rod and reel, said Kernin. No fish caught in a net or snagged are eligible for submission, and all participants must hold a valid sport fishing license. PCR staff also asked that participants wear a mask when submitting any silver salmon entries in person at the Community Center, in order to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Find more information as well as a helpful video on identifying silver salmon on the PCR's Facebook page.

Hailing from Southwest Washington, Maggie moved to Unalaska in 2019. She's dabbled in independent print journalism in Oregon and completed her Master of Arts in English Studies at Western Washington University — where she also taught Rhetoric and Composition courses.
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