SOUTH BEND, Wash. - Willapa River Lions Club is hosting the annual Salmon Derby in conjunction with the Come and Play on Labor Day celebration, which has been a South Bend tradition since the early part of the last century. The Salmon Derby is being conducted Saturday and Sunday.

Anglers may enter for one or both days. It will be accessible for both bank and boat anglers. Derby tickets cost $10 each day per angler. First prize on each day will receive a $200 cash award. Winners will be determined by the largest single fish by weight, with ties being determined by length. If a tie still exists, the prize will be split.

A grand prize will be awarded to the angler with the largest combined two-day entry (one salmon per day). The prize will be an additional $250 cash award. There will be prizes donated by the Raymond Dennis Co., Englund Marine and Boaters World of Olympia, Wash.

All fish must be brought to Bush Memorial Park in South Bend for weigh-in by 6 p.m. each day. Only fish from Tokeland will be weighed after 6 p.m. for a final weight, provided that a phone call from the marina is received at the South Bend weigh sight before 6 p.m., with the fisherman's name. Fish from Tokeland must be at the South Bend weigh-in sight by 6:45 p.m..

Derby fish must be caught in the Willapa Bay, Marine Area 2-1, and it's tributaries, including the Willapa River. Launch facilities exist in Raymond, South Bend and Tokeland. Limited Boat Moorage is available in Tokeland, South Bend and Raymond.

Willapa Bay is a unique fishery with large numbers of salmon being concentrated in shallow bay and river channels. The Labor Day weekend historically marks the peak of the chinook run. The Bay is sheltered and can easily be fished from a modest sized sport boat. Additionally, bank fishing and small boat fishing is available on the Willapa River. Derby tickets are being sold at various local businesses until Friday evening. Pre-purchased tickets are available in Raymond at Dennis Co. and Vetters Animal Hospital, Bud's Lumber Company in South Bend and at the Tokeland Marina.

On the days of the derby, tickets will only be available from 5 to 9 a.m. at the Tokeland Marina, South Bend boat launch and the boat launch at the Raymond Eighth Street park. Tickets must be purchased prior to starting fishing for the day. For additional information, contact Donna Turner at (360) 875-9990.

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