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Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

July 16, 2009 at 4:02 PM

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Fish and the city, catching salmon in Elliott Bay

Posted by Gabriel Campanario

salmonderby071609m.jpg10:13 a.m. [View larger]

Fishing activity on Elliott Bay was quiet this morning, but with the opening today of hatchery Chinook salmon season, that won't last. This Saturday, 400 to 500 boats are expected to take part in the Elliott Bay Salmon Derby, the only derby in the U.S. where you can fish salmon in a major city, explained Dwight Jones, general manager of Elliott Bay Marina.

For fishermen, the beginning of the season is a bigger day than Christmas, so it's no suprise people will be getting up very early. "Anglers will be launching their boats early, in the dark. Salmon like breakfast better than lunch and dinner," said Tony Floor, 61, the director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association, which organizes this and other salmon derbies throughout the Puget Sound. Floor says the Elliot Bay Salmon Derby "represents the reincarnation of king salmon fishing in downtown Seattle."

The $40,000, 20-foot Stabi Craft boat I sailed in this morning will be raffled off at the conclusion of all the salmon derbies in September in Edmonds. "It's like a BMW of fishing boats," said Floor. At the steering wheel was Bill O'Brien, facilities manager at Elliott Marina, who described it as "rugged but sporty."

Since it was my first time on a fishing boat I had no idea what to expect. At the end of the half-hour ride I was left wondering what the Honda Civic of fishing boats would be like. I may be able to afford that one, but I better learn how to fish first.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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