Fishing on San Juan Island

Friday Harbor Salmon Classic -- New Derby with a Long Tradition

On December 4th and 5th, 2015, as part of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series, Friday Harbor will host its first Friday Harbor Salmon Classic. The Derby is a not-for-profit event with all proceeds going to organizations enhancing wild salmon in our waters.

For many avid fishermen in the Pacific Northwest that date is familiar. Up until last year it was the date for the Resurrection Derby out of Roche Harbor. The derby moved to Anacortes for 2015, after the local and Fidalgo chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers Club merged. Jimmy Lawson, former president of the PSA club and founder of the Resurrection Derby, organized this year’s, first ever Friday Harbor Salmon Classic after learning of the disappointment of many anglers about the move.

Jimmy has lived on San Juan Island for 23 years. When he arrived, wanting to learn how to fish for salmon in the waters around the island, he was met with silence by the locals, who didn’t want to share their secret fishing grounds with some greenhorn.  Jimmy read, observed, spent a lot of time on the water and pretty soon got some tugs on his lines. He learned of the Rosario Derby on Orcas Island and went for it. Wind blowing, snow blurring his vision, freezing temperatures numbing his hands, he and his buddies didn’t catch a thing, but were forever enthralled by fishing side by side with the best fishermen of the Northwest.

Things changed. New regulations forbade salmon fishing in December, Rosario Resort changed ownership. Jimmy honed his skills, became president of the PSA and when the time was right, in 2009 and regulations had again changed, he founded the Resurrection Derby out of Roche Harbor on San Juan Island and the rest is history.

It will be great to have the new derby in Friday Harbor, with restaurants and shops within walking distance from the port. Derby check-in & orientation will be at the historic Brickworks building behind Haley’s Bait Shop. Weigh in is at the San Juan Seafood Co., a houseboat selling fresh seafood at the port. We at the Earthbox Inn & Spa love our fishermen and offer amazing lodging specials to participants.

As in previous years the grand prize at the Friday Harbor Classic will be $10,000, 2nd prize - $5,000, 3rd prize  - $2,500, with other prizes, like the secret weight fish, yet to be announced.

Thank you, Jim Lawson, for continuing the tradition