The ninth annual Sooke Salmon Enhancement Derby ran from Aug. 4 to 5, and sold about 250 of 300 available tickets.
”We’ve had better,” said Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society president, Mel Hull of ticket sales. “It definitely makes the derby a success, but we have sold out once or twice before.”
The Chinook derby reels in a majority of the non-profit’s operating funds for the year.
He said the slight drop in entrants could be for a variety of reasons, citing the poor economy and increasing costs of owning a fishing boat and the recreational sport itself.
During derby hours, entrants trickled in and out of the weigh-in station, which officially closed on Aug. 5 at 1 p.m.
Participants then headed down to the Sooke Flats for the announcement of derby prizes and steak dinner, catered by the Sooke Lions.
The top three Chinook catches this year were:
Zack Homer with a 43.90-pound fish for the top cash prize of $5,000.
Dave Purnell with a 34.20-pound catch for $2,500.
Jody Billings, with a 32.25-pound salmon for a half day charter with No Limit Charters.
Boundaries for the derby were from the Sheringham Pt. Lighthouse to Race Rocks in Victoria.
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.