Derby champion, Whitney Fairbanks, swaps fish stories and receives congratulations from fellow derby participants at the awards banquet at Pullen Park. Two Yukon fishermen compare catch sizes and stories as they troll in Skagway bay.

Taiya Inlet Watershed Council President Mark Larsen fills the grill with fresh salmon filets at the fish derby awards banquet at Pullen Park.

Boats enter and leave the harbor on the rough waters and windy conditions of this year’s fish derby. Right, at the weigh-in station, Taiya Inlet Watershed Council executive director Rachel Ford, right, weighs a king salmon caught by Parker Olson, left, who won the award for first king caught by a youth participant.

Smaller fish, more fishermen at Pat Moore Derby

This year’s Pat Moore Memorial Game Fish Derby saw more participants, but smaller fish.
This year’s big fish was a 19.25-pound king salmon caught by seasonal resident, and Washington native, Whitney Fairbanks. Fairbanks also took the prize for largest fish caught by a female participant, and for the largest fish caught by a summer worker.
Other prizes included largest local fish, won by Karen Boyce with a 17.75-pound fish. Boyce also won the prize for total poundage caught by a woman with 42. Youth awards went to girls’ competitor Hailey Jensen, with a 13-pounder, and Parker Olson who caught an 18.25-pound king.
The smaller salmon may be due to the pattern of the king run.
“The king run is an artificial run, (and) the kings usually stay out four years,” said Rachel Ford, Taiya Inlet Watershed Council executive director, “But the fish we caught this year were 3-year salmon.”
In her first year at the watershed council, Ford received advice from previous participants and organizers of the event.
“I thought it went pretty well,” Ford said. “We had more participants this year and great sponsors. Everything seemed to run smoothly.”
This year’s derby had 154 registered participants, up from last year’s total of 138. The watershed council received about $4,000 in registration funds, noted Ford.
Thanks to $6,725 in donor support, the watershed council was able to give away generous prizes, with $2,500 being given to the winner.
“Everyone was really happy to give and consistently have given money over the years,” Ford said. “The watershed council appreciates our local business involvement.”
This year’s donors included, in no particular order: Skagway CVB, Eagles, Wings of Alaska, Skagway Brewing Co., Glacial Smoothies, Chilkat Guides, Alaska Mountain Guides, SMART, Petro Marine, Westmark, Streetcar, White Pass, Packer Expeditions, Corrington Enterprises, Skagway News Co., AP&T, Reflections, Frontier Excursions, Stowaway Cafe, Red Onion Saloon, Alaska Liquor Store and Richter’s Jewelry and Curios.