Former Derby Winners
2007 1st Place Winner
Gary Wright of Reno, NV shows off his huge catch! His 41.86 lb King Salmon not only won the contest for 2007 but constitutes the largest King ever caught at Anchor Bay.
2007 Winner and 'Netter'
Gary and Elizabeth Wright with Gary's winning fish. Elizabeth had the honor of boating the monster!
First Place 2001
End of Derby party 2007
Salmon Derby History
We don’t know much about the sport salmon fishing prior to our arrival in March of 1977 and so this, for now, is where we must begin. Don Nordell and party fished Anchor Bay during 1977, 1978, and 1979 in two large aluminum boats and always brought in salmon during the Fourth of July period. Jack Easley of Penryn and his friend Eddie Valdez began fishing also in this period on Don’s lead. Creighton and Margaret Koskey of Antioch began salmon fishing here in 1982. [This was an El Nino year.] Creighton says he caught his first salmon just off Fish Rocks as he made the seaward turn from the cut between the island and the mainland.
Don Radman of Antioch brought in a 29-pound salmon in 1987 and was featured in an article in the summer 1988, No. 5 issue of the Beachcomber Newsletter, an article about the potential for a meaningful salmon season at Anchor Bay. The picture was again used on the on the cover of the No. 26 Beachcomber Fishing Issue. About this big fish, he tells the story of being enticed by Jack Easley to go out on the morning of his scheduled departure for one last try, and upon catching the first two, and only two, fish said, "Thanks, Jack. I need to go now."
Our early contests were a loose offer, that anyone bringing in the biggest salmon between June 1 and August 1 would win a T-shirt. There was no Second or Third Place.
1988 First Annual: Dale Griffin of Antioch, 28 lbs., T-shirt. Mentioned in Beachcomber No. 6.
Note: Anchor Bay Campground began collecting fish records in July 1, 1989
1989 Second Annual: Creighton Koskey of Antioch, T-shirt. Fish size unknown. The Fall 1989, No. 10 Beachcomber reports Creighton as holding the current King Salmon record of 27.7 lbs., 40.75", but otherwise does not mention the contest results.
1990 Third Annual: Joe Cruz, T-shirt. Pacific Mackerel were being caught off Anchor Bay that year as was done in the 82-83 El Nino. Bob Weir also took the Anchor Bay King Salmon record August 30th of this year: 38.25 lbs., 44.25".
Note: The Summer 1991, No. 17, Beachcomber announced the "First Annual Salmon Contest." Formal rules were set up, an entry fee was set at $20, and the contest period was changed to the month of July only. In its first year of the organization, the prizes were set up and all the remaining proceeds ($300) went the Gualala River Steelhead Project. In the years after, all the proceeds were divided 50% to first place, 35% to second place and 15% to third place.
1991 Fourth Annual: Creighton Koskey of Antioch, 25.7 lbs., 38" (7/6), $100 and a set of Anchor Bay sweats. Second Place: Flo Johnson of Antioch, 23.6 lbs., 37" (7/4), $50 and an Anchor Bay crew neck sweatshirt. Third Place: Steve Morgan of Gualala, 23.4 lbs., 36.5" (7/19), $25 and a short sleeve T-shirt. The Beachcomber No. 18 reported that 150 salmon were landed in the first eight days (July1-8) of the contest, and a total of 185 for the month. A non-contest 32 pounder was landed. "The run was about three weeks long – the last week of June and the first two weeks of July."
Note: Joe Howell of Fairfield, our colorful Cajun, went into making knives and donated one to the Derby to generate some interest for his knife business. His fine workmanship soon made his on-going donations a most coveted prize.
1992 Fifth Annual: Larry McDaniel of Reno, Nevada, 23 lbs., 35" (7/12), Joe Howell knife (no number). Second Place: Don Forster of Santa Rosa, 20 lbs., 36" (7/8). Third Place: Frank Lombardo of Pittsburg, 19 lbs., 34" (7/16). An El Nino year.
1993 Sixth Annual: Jan McDaniel of Reno, Nevada, 28.35 lbs., 41.5" (7/8), $245, Joe Howell knife ("002"). Second Place: Frank Lombardo of Pittsburg, 22.9 lbs., 38" ( 7/10), $171.50. Third Place: Dale Griffin of Antioch, 20 lbs., 36" (7/31), $73.50.
1994 Seventh Annual: Creighton Koskey of Antioch, 35 lbs., $345, Joe Howell knife ("NO.3" and "WINNER OF THE 1994 ANCHOR BAY SALMON DERBY"). Second Place: Lucille Steele of Brentwood, $241.50. Third Place: Lenny Suokko of San Leandro, $103.50. Coho fishing was closed. [During the Derby, contestants also had a daily pool. Creighton was given a T-shirt early in the Derby by Nick Kopshy of Antioch that had a picture of a fisherman hooking the rear of his trousers on his own line which read, "I Caught the Big One." Lucille brought in a bigger fish and Creighton passed the shirt to her. He later brought in an even bigger fish, and Lou passed the shirt back, but with some alterations: a bit of lace around the neck and sleeves, and a pair of hoochie skirt pasties, and a feathery puff ball on the fisherman’s head.
1995 Eighth Annual: Felix Wilkerson of Escalon, 34.3 lbs., 43" (7/30), $340, Joe Howell knife ("NO.4" and "WINNER OF THE 1995 ANCHOR BAY SALMON DERBY") Creighton Koskey presented the "I Caught the Big One " shirt which Felix wore at the awards ceremony. [This began a traditional hand-me-down from the previous year’s winner to the next, but with the addition of some charming alterations.] Second Place: Lynda Sifford of Antioch, 29.15 lbs., 40 5/8" (7/1), $238. Third Place: Frank Lombardo of Pittsburg, 27.5 lbs., 40 5/8" (7/2), $102. Lynda’s fish was landed on the first day and led the Derby for the entire month, until Felix came in on the last hour of the last day with his trophy fish.
1996 Ninth Annual: Jerry Galey of Brentwood, 27.55 lbs., 39.75", $330, Joe Howell knife. The "Winner’s Shirt" additions were three iron on fishes under the fisherman’s boat. Second Place: Steve Sifford of Antioch, 26.4 lbs., 38.75", $231. Third Place: Nick Kopshy of Antioch, 24.7 lbs., 35.5", $99.
1997 Tenth Annual: Dennis Land of Redwood Valley, 30.4 lbs., 41" (7/5), $370, Joe Howell knife. The "Winner’s Shirt" had a raccoon tail added to rear. Dennis was unable to attend the awards ceremony. Second Place: Jan McDaniel of Reno, Nevada, 30.2 lbs., 43.5" (7/19), $259. Third Place: Lenny Suokko of San Leandro, 30.1 lbs., 41.25" (7/25), $111.
Note: Joe Howell passed away in November of 1998 from long illness, so no knife was prepared for the July 1998 derby.
1998 Eleventh Annual: Jack Easley of Penryn, 26.65 lbs. (7/25), $265. The "Winner’s Shirt" now had a necklace of wine corks (Lou Steele), a phallus (Jan McDaniel), and tobacco bag that says, "Sack of Shi.." (Larry Johnson) and a beer can holder (Dennis Land). [An anonymous donor was able to obtained a Joe Howell knife from Dale Howell and it was presented to Jack in early July of 1999 (no inscription)]. Second Place: Jan McDaniel of Reno, Nevada, 19.25 lbs., 36" (7/11), $185.50. Third Place: Jerry Galey of Brentwood, 16.75 lbs., 34" (7/11), $79.50.
1999 Twelfth Annual: Sue Baker of Martinez, 28.5 lbs., 38.5" (7/17), $285, Shimano reel (donated anonymously), Joe Howell knife donated anonymously ("12th Annual Anchor Bay Salmon Derby – First Place – July 1999"). The "Winner’s Shirt" back now reads "1999- A Woman’s Place Is In the Boat." Second Place: Larry Johnson of Brookings, Oregon, 28.4 lbs., 39.75" (7/21), $199.50. Third Place: Lucille Steele of Brentwood, 28.3 lbs., 39.5" (7/22), $85.50.
2000 Thirteenth Annual: Lucille Steele of Brentwood, 37.5 lbs., 43 1/2" (7/11), $400, Shimano reel (donated anonymously), Joe Howell knife donated anonymously ("First Place Anchor Bay Salmon Derby July 2000"). The "Winner’s Shirt" back now reads under the phrase "A Woman's Place is in the Boat"..."Catching the Big One" and has a cross stitch salmon. Second Place: Frank Lombardo of Pittsburg, 37.5 lbs., 43 1/8" (7/16), $280. Frank had also landed a 32.3 lbs, 41.25" salmon on 7/10. His two fish and Lucille's winner were the only fish in the contest in the thirty-pound category. After Frank's big fish, the wind came up and the rest of the contest was blown out. Third Place: Larry McDaniel of Reno, Nevada, 27.45 lbs., 39.75" (7/4), $120. A La Nina year.
2001 Fourteenth Annual: Larry Wagner of Petaluma, 30.1 lbs., 39 5/8" (7/11), $410, Shimano reel (donated anonymously), "stuffed salmon," (donated anonymously), Joe Howell knife (donated anonymously) with "First Place Anchor Bay Salmon Derby July 2001" engraved. The "Winner’s Shirt" has epaulets, a fish, and a "fish ruler" added. Larry had caught his very first salmon a few days before. Second Place: Don Radman of Brentwood, 25.4 lbs., 39 3/16", $287. Having fished every derby to date, this is Don's first time in the top three. Third Place: Kurt Edwards of Brentwood, 25.15 lbs, 38 1/4" (7/28), $123. Fishing was poor for most of the fishers this year, but Kurt landed this big one inside the bay on the way in on the last day of the contest.
2002 Fifteenth Annual: Lee Leighton of Reno, Nevada, 38.6 lbs.
2003 Sixteenth Annual: Jerry Dinelli of Antioch, California 39.2 lbs.
2004 Seventeenth Annual: Felix Wilkerson of California 34.1 lbs.
2005 Eighteenth Annual: Trinda McDaniel of Reno, Nevada, 29 lbs.
2006 Nineteenth Annual: Gary Fithian of Brentwood, California, 38.78 lbs
2007 Twentieth Annual: Gary Wright of Reno, Nevada, 41.86 lbs
2008 Salmon Season Closed ...... No Derby!