Darci Morris

Anglers get back to basics at Port Alberni Salmon Fest

Coho-only fishing derby in the Alberni Inlet due to small numbers of returning salmon forces focus back on species enhancement.

SUSAN QUINN

Alberni Valley News

 

The 42nd annual Port Alberni Salmon Festival kicks off this Friday, Aug. 30 with a barbecue, live entertainment and fireworks at Victoria Quay.

The fishing derby portion of the festival will be different this year in that fishers are only allowed to catch coho—the chinook fishery has been closed due to poor returns.

While organizers are expecting fewer entrants and fewer numbers of fish caught, Dan Washington said it has allowed them to get back to the basics and concentrate on other things, like entertainment and even salmon enhancement.

“I would speculate between 1,000 and 1,200 entries,” Washington said. “Our last coho-only derby was just over 1,000 entries.

“The fishing’s pretty good, apparently.”

There will be daily raffle draws for prizes donated by local businesses. Proceeds from these new raffles will be donated to various salmon enhancement projects and to West Coast Aquatic.

Urgel’s Autobody has kicked in $1,000 for a “Hail Mary” draw just for fishers. “After all the smoke clears and everything is put away we’re going to draw one derby ticket and there will be $1,000 cash bonus,” Washington said.

He added that the community has really pulled together to help the festival.

This year’s event will include a kids’ zone, sponsored by Re/Max Mid-Island Realty.

Karaoke is back starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Kuu-us Crisis Line Society presents its 16th annual celebrity dunk tank on Saturday from 10 a.m. to a little after noon. All dunkees are raising money for the honour of being dunked; people can then pay to try and dunk them.

Almost 4,000 pounds of salmon purchased from French Creek Seafoods are being thawed and filleted for the four-day barbecue.

Last year volunteers barbecued 2,200 dinners and countless other fillets.

editor@albernivalleynews.com