Angler’s Paradise: King of the Reach Live Capture Derby

Prepare for an unparalleled fishing adventure at the esteemed King of the Reach Live Capture Derby, renowned as one of the nation’s most extraordinary fishing derbies. Set to take place from October 27th to 29th on the Hanford Reach, this event guarantees an unforgettable weekend of angling, pursuing the hard-fighting upriver bright fall Chinook salmon.

Distinguishing itself from ordinary fishing expeditions, this derby offers a unique opportunity to contribute to the advancement of future hatchery production while competing for sensational prizes. The exclusivity of the Hanford Reach during this time ensures that only fellow derby participants share the waters, creating an exceptional and undisturbed fishing environment. With thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes at stake and an abundance of unpressured fish, it’s no wonder that anglers from as far as Florida are enticed by this remarkable event.

The King of the Reach derby has evolved from its humble beginnings as a volunteer-led initiative to a collaborative endeavor involving the CCA Tri Cities chapter, Grant County PUD, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Now attracting nearly 250 participants, the derby’s primary goal is to catch and collect wild fall Chinook salmon. These live fish are carefully stored in coolers with provided aerators and then delivered to WDFW and Grant County PUD staff at Vernita Bridge and White Bluffs boat ramps. Subsequently, these fish are transported to the Priest Rapids Hatchery, where they play a crucial role as vital wild broodstock.

The infusion of wild salmon genetics into the hatchery fall Chinook stock plays a critical role in enhancing the fitness and quality of the released fish while minimizing introgression on the spawning grounds. This practice maximizes production at the hatchery facility, and past evidence has shown that 15% of all hatchery-reared fall Chinook released on the Reach originated from the King of the Reach derby.

As this year’s projected total return of fall Chinook to the Columbia River is anticipated to be comparable to the recent three-year returns, featuring approximately 272,400 “upriver bright” fall Chinook – a rise from the 254,880 recorded in 2022 – the significance of participating in the derby is heightened. By joining the event, anglers play an even more vital role in supporting the preservation of this iconic run of Chinook in the areas above Bonneville Dam along the Columbia River. Last year’s participants demonstrated their dedication by catching nearly 700 fish over the three-day derby, ensuring an exhilarating fishing experience.

While enjoying a great time and contributing to scientific efforts, participants are treated to snacks and a hot lunch, courtesy of CCA volunteers and donors. Moreover, the allure of the event is further elevated by the opportunity to win dozens of prizes.

Securing a spot in this fishing derby is only $25. Additionally, for those opting to add a CCA membership to their purchase, a special drawing awaits. Starting September 5, 2023 tickets can be acquired at ( Embrace this chance to be part of an incredible fishing experience that not only guarantees thrills but also actively supports the conservation and enhancement of future salmon populations.