Mel Hull cleans a salmon at the 2011 Sooke Salmon Enhance Society Chinook Derby.

Chinook salmon derby slated for long weekend

The Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society's salmon derby set to go

The Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society will be holding their ninth annual Chinook Salmon Derby on Saturday, Aug. 4 to Sunday, Aug. 5.

According to Mel Hull, society president, approximately half of the 350 available tickets have been sold.

“It’s a little slow this year, we’re not sure why,” he said.

For any latecomers, tickets will be on sale until Aug. 3, and are available at Eagle Eye Outfitters, the Crab Shack, Sooke Marine Centre, Island Outfitters and Westshore Sporting Goods.

The derby, which brings in the bulk of the hatchery’s operating funds, has grown throughout the years into an event that attracts fishermen and families from across the province.

“We get  a few people from other parts of the province who come out for this one. It’s sort of an event now, there’s lots of families that compete,” Hull said.

Boundaries for the derby are from Sheringham Pt. in Shirley to Race Rocks in Victoria.

The derby will begin at daylight for both days, but will end at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. The weigh-in station will be open throughout the same hours in the empty lot across from Evergreen Centre.

On Sunday there will be a wind up steak dinner at the Sooke Flats for all participants, where awards will be distributed.

There are about 35 fish prizes, and the top cash prize is $5,000, followed by $2,000 for second place. Various other cash prizes in smaller values will also be awarded.

Young seafarers will be awarded for their hard work, regardless of whether or not they reel in a winner.

“We have lots of kids prizes,” Hull said. “We have it set up so that pretty much every kid that fishes gets as prize.”

The Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society currently operates the Jack Brooks Hatchery — named after the society’s founder — at Rocky Creek, with an objective to sustain local salmon populations.