CHINOOK — Too warm. Too choppy. Too foggy. Too early. Few salmon were caught but fun was had and funds were raised during a day-long fishing derby Saturday, Aug. 20, in Chinook. Record-breaking heat on Friday was replaced with a cool, fog that covered the coast, including Chinook.
“It was so foggy out there. You couldn’t see further than 100 yards in any direction,” said participant Gordie Robinson, “But it was a lot of fun and it went to a good cause.” Robinson took home the $200 top prize with 20-pound Chinook salmon. Sasha La Greide took second place with a 19-pound salmon and Greg Moyer rounded out the top three with a 15-pound catch. While only four salmon were entered among the 66 boats participating in the day-long tournament, most were satisfied to spend a day on the water with friends and family while contributing to a cause. Sponsored by the friends of Chinook Park, the proceeds from the day tournament will serve Chinook restoration projects at the Chinook Port and county park.
“After the purse and everything, we raised $1,000 for the cause,” said Sheila Cox flanked by fellow organizers Valerie Wilson, Jody Ooley and Carol Harley.
Most of the salmon were caught on anchovy in the morning.
“I thought we were hung up at first, and then I saw a fin way out — and I thought it was a porpoise,” Robinson said, “We weren’t paying attention.” After attempting to untangle a rig, Robinson’s reel began to scream. Ten minutes later, he boated the winner. The second place fish came easier.
“It ran toward the boat, it wasn’t much of a fight,” said Sasha La Greide who pulled in a 19-pound king on a cut plug near Buoy 10. It was the first derby for La Greide who comes from commercial fishing family with roots in Pacific City.
“The last few years have been pretty hot by this point,” said La Greide who, like others, was surprised by the slow fishing overall. An abundance of bait, warmer water temperatures and foggy conditions were cited as the primary reasons for the poor fishing.
The quartet of Cox, Wilson, Ooley and Harley were instrumental in initiating a salmon derby back as a way to raise funds.
“We said ‘let’s do a fishing derby and see if it works,” said Cox adding that the inaugural tournament will serve as a template for future improvements, “Maybe more sponsors, a bigger prize,” she said.
“We’ve learned a lot — what to do for next year, what not to do for next year.”