The Ultimate Fishing Derby will take place over Labour Day weekend in the Alberni Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TYEE CLUB)

Port Alberni prepares for salmon derby minus festival

Derby tickets are still available, but going fast

This Labour Day weekend, the salmon derby returns to Port Alberni—although it will look a little different compared to previous years.

After the Port Alberni Salmon Festival committee cancelled its annual festival and fishing derby due to COVID-19 restrictions earlier this year, the Alberni Valley Tyee Club stepped up to organize the socially distanced Port Alberni Ultimate Fishing Derby, without an accompanying festival. The derby will take place on Sept. 5, 6 and 7.

Tickets for the derby went on sale in late July and have been fairly popular, said co-organizer Al Ehrenberg.

“Ticket sales are going well and I expect that we will sell out or close to it,” he said on Thursday, Aug. 27. “Tickets are a limited number, so I would suggest not leaving it to the last day.”

Tickets are available at Gone Fishin’ in Port Alberni (located on the corner of Johnston Road and Margaret Street), as well as other marine-based stores. Organizers are planning for a portion of tickets sales to go towards salmon enhancement projects in the Alberni Valley.

The salmon derby this weekend will also help celebrate the 10th anniversary of Port Alberni’s “Ultimate Fishing Town” win.

The prize structure will be the same as Salmon Fest, with daily prizes of $5,000, $2,000 and $1,000 for the top three fish, as well as a $5,000 bonus for the biggest fish caught overall. There will also be daily $500 and $100 prizes for hidden weights. People will be able to follow results on Facebook.

Fish will be weighed at a special weigh station on Centennial Pier at Harbour Quay. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will not be an awards presentation for the winners this year.

“We have decided not to have a gathering and awards ceremony,” said Ehrenberg. “We will contact winners.”

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Ryan Henri holds a 26.2-pound salmon he caught at China Creek. (PHOTO COURTESY TYEE CLUB)

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