KOR Rules

2023 King of the Reach live capture derby – rules

PARTICIPATION: Only those who register for the Derby and have paid all fees associated therewith shall be participants in the Derby. All participants must register as a WDFW volunteer online, complete all WDFW mandatory trainings (not required for previous volunteers), check in each day, and check out each day. CCA employees and their immediate family members are not eligible to participate in this Derby.

  • All Participants MUST register online by noon, Oct. 20th! (ccawashington.org/KingoftheReach)
  • All Aboard a Derby Entered Boat Must Be Derby Entrants (whether they fish or not)
  • All Participating Boats Must Have At Least Two (2) Entrants Aboard While Fishing
  • Single Point Barbed Hooks are allowed, Treble Hooks MUST be Barbless

 DATES/TIME: The Derby will take place on October 27 – 29. To minimize fish holding time, we recommend that you do not start fishing until 6:45am to coincide with 7:00am arrival of holding trucks. No fish will be accepted after the collection time has passed on each day.

Launch Locations

Vernita and Wahluke (White Bluffs) boat launches.

Collection Stations & Times

Turn in completed fish ticket (Angler Number & Boat Number) along with your fish.

  10/27   10/28   10/29
Ä Vernita

Ä Wahluke (White Bluffs)

Ä Punch Bowl

Ä Shuttle Boats














*Additional collection site may be established. If so, Participants will be notified of any additional fish collection locations.

*Daily Check-in & Check-out

All boats are required to check-in and check-out each day they fish. Check In & Check Out will be transmitted via text message from the captain and/or angler to Todd Miller (509-619-2066), the WDFW volunteer coordinator. Check in can be completed by the captain for all anglers aboard the vessel or by individual anglers if arriving separately.

Check In text must include:

  • the captains last name & boat number
  • angler name(s) and/or assigned angler number(s)

Example: Johnson, Boat #1. Anglers 1A, 1B, 1C

Check out text should be completed as soon as you are off the water and include:

  • the captains last name & boat number,
  • *a list of all fish released including mortalities, jacks, hatchery chinook, post spawn females, and any other species caught and released (e.g., Steelhead).

Example: Johnson, Boat #1. Released 2 hatchery adult, 6 spawned females, 1 oversize sturgeon, 1 wild steelhead

*This information is IMPORTANT! It is used by the WDFW to determine impacts to fisheries and whether future KOR derbies require modification.

BOUNDARIES: Boundaries are the Columbia River from Old Hanford Townsite Powerline crossing upstream to the bottom of Vernita Bar below Priest Rapids Dam. Any fish taken outside Derby boundaries, from private impoundments or other waters not legally accessible to the public, will not be eligible for entry. A mid-river buoy will be in place at the bottom of Vernita Bar to help participants identify the upper boundary. A map showing approximate upriver and downriver boundaries (red lines) is provided here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=1v0vjNN0w_6E6IvrEjCxVxTdUN60&ll=46.66467691019227%2C-119.62741435051424&z=11

FISH AND FISHING METHOD: Participants must comply with all applicable laws, regulations and sport fishing rules governing the recreational catch of salmon within the specified boundaries, except as amended in the Derby rules. Fish entered into the Derby must have been caught and landed by the registered participant on sport fishing rod, hook, and line. Each Participant will be allowed to use up to two fishing rods. As a safety precaution, Treble Hooks MUST be barbless. Single point hooks are not required to be barbless.

FISH HANDLING: Prior to landing a fish, be sure to fill your live well / ice chest with fresh river water. Ice chests with recirculating aerators should be emptied and refilled every two hours or after each live fish transport. If using an aerator in your ice chest, be sure the flow nozzle is ABOVE the water line so that air bubbles are created when it is running. Live wells with an automatic water refresh feature should be turned on when a fish is hooked and only switched to recirculation when motoring to the collection location. Take care in handling the fish and keep them in the water to the greatest extent possible. After landing a fish, place the fish into the live well / ice chest. It is ok to use a standard landing net to get the fish aboard the boat, but they should be immediately transferred to your live well / ice chest. The recommended method for hand carrying a fish is to firmly wrap one hand around the fish just in front of the tail while cradling the fish with your other hand just behind the pectoral fins and gently lifting the fish up. Never put your fingers in or near the fish’s gills or gill plate. At shore collection sites, a WDFW staff or volunteer will come to your boat with a handling net. Do not attempt to remove fish from your live well / ice chest until instructed to do so. In the event there is a delay in transfer, keep the fish healthy by adding fresh water to the live well / ice chest. For shuttle boat transfers, the shuttle boat will offer their net, or if your fish is already in your net, you may use it to transfer the fish to the shuttle holding tank.

If fishing between Coyote Rapids and Vernita Bar, a shuttle boat may assist with the transport of your fish to the collection site. When the shuttle boat approaches, signal with the flag provided in your captain’s bag. If a shuttle has not arrived within 15 to 20 minutes of landing a fish, or you have three (3) fish on board, you should proceed to the nearest collection site. Shuttles should have fenders deployed. It is your responsibility to protect your own boat and equipment when transferring fish with a shuttle. Deploy fenders and stow gear as needed to safely interact with the shuttle boats. GCPUD, WDFW, and private vessels are not responsible for any and all damages incurred as the result of using the shuttle service.

Vernita Shuttles – Shuttles will typically run upstream from Vernita launch to Vernita Bar and collect fish on the downstream return to the Vernita launch. Signal the shuttle boat with your flag. The shuttle will slow and point upstream. Point your boat upstream and wait for the shuttle boat to match your speed and location.

Punchbowl & White Bluffs Shuttles – Unless otherwise notified, no shuttle boats will be assisting anglers at White Bluffs and the Punch Bowl. If shuttle boats/crew are available, the information will be posted at the launch site.

TRANSPORTING FISH: All boats participating in the Derby must have a signed WDFW Fish Transport Permit in the boat. A means of transporting the live salmon is required for participation. (Portable pumps suitable for connection to a participant-provided 12 Volt power source will be provided upon request.) No fish may be retained (harvested) and fish not intended for live capture must be immediately released. Anglers must have a live well or ice chest capable of transporting live adult Chinook. Ice chest / live well should be a minimum of 36” in length by 12” in width and 15” in depth (120qt). Recommended minimum is 40”x15”x17”.

ENTERING FISH: Only live pre-spawned adult Chinook over 24” in good condition with an intact adipose fin are eligible for live capture and transport. Non-qualified fish (Mortality, Post Spawn, Hatchery, or Jack) are not eligible for Derby entry. Any non-qualified fish that is presented to a shuttle boat or transport volunteer will not be credited to the participant and a Derby fish ticket will not be accepted. If a shuttle boat or transport volunteer accepts a fish and a Derby ticket, that ticket shall not be disqualified if it is later determined that the fish is ineligible by WDFW. Determination of a non-qualified fish is made by the shuttle boat or transport volunteer at the time the fish is turned in and is not disputable – their determination is final.

IMPORTANT – Because the goal of the Derby is to provide live healthy fish to the hatchery program, participants observed by WDFW staff or volunteers who repeatedly present dead or unresponsive fish to shuttles or collection points may be disqualified from the Derby and prevented from participating in future KOR Derbies.

CHEATING: Do not cheat. Anyone who violates the Derby rules will be disqualified from receiving any Derby prizes and will be disqualified from the current and future Derbies. Further, CCA intends to report to law enforcement any participant who intentionally violates the rules of the Derby with intent to secure pecuniary gain. The determination of the Derby Committee regarding interpretation of derby rules and compliance or non-compliance by a participant therewith shall be final, binding, and non-appealable.

PRIZES: Prizes will be awarded based on the number of eligible fish turned in by each registered boat. In the event of a tie, the Derby Committee will determine a winner based on a coin flip or other random selection method as deemed appropriate by the Derby Committee. Participants may be asked to present their proof of identity (driver’s license or identification card). Prize packages will be awarded for the 1st through 10th place boats for the three-day derby. Additional drawing of valid fish tickets will be conducted after the end of the Derby to determine random prizes. Participants shall be eligible to win only one random drawing prize. The Derby Committee shall designate prizes (or equivalents) and all decisions of the Derby Committee are final and not subject to appeal.

OTHER RULES: If a participant under 18 years of age wins a prize, his or her legal representative over 18 years of age will receive the prize on his/her behalf. Any protests must be submitted, in writing, to the Derby Committee at 12013 99th Street Suite 1680 Vancouver, Washington 98682 by 5:00 p.m. on November 3, 2023. The decision of the Derby Committee, in its sole discretion, shall be final on any and all matters and not subject to appeal. In the event of litigation between a participant and CCA arising out of any aspect whatsoever of the Derby, the losing party in said litigation shall be bound to pay all attorneys’ fees, expenses of litigation, court costs and other costs incurred by and relating to the litigation by the winning party in said litigation. All prizes will be conveyed “as is” to the actual winner or guardian after the Derby has concluded at the Derby Awards Ceremony. The Derby Committee may replace or substitute for any advertised prize another prize that the Committee deems, in its sole discretion, to be of comparable value to the original prize. All prizewinners are solely responsible for payment of any applicable taxes, fees and costs associated with the prize. All prizewinners are responsible for processing, registration, and tax documentation in a timely fashion.

 DISCLAIMER: The entire responsibility for valid member status and correctness of this entry form rests solely on the entrant. The derby committee has the right to change rules and prizes.

QUESTIONS:  If you have any rules questions prior to the start of the Derby please contact Todd Miller (WDFW) at 509-619-2066, Curtis King (CCA) at 509-521-5941, or Don McBride (CCA) at 509-554-9202

Thank you for your help to collect healthy, wild brood stock in a partnership between CCA, WDFW, and Grant PUD! The goal of this event is to collect wild, healthy, and viable brood stock for Grant PUD hatchery production to improve the fitness of our Hanford Reach salmon stocks following principles, standards, and recommendations of fisheries managers. The derby rules and event structure have been tailored to maximize healthy brood stock collection and minimize mortality of fish that would otherwise be utilized in the hatchery or spawn in the Reach. Without angler participation this event could not happen. Thank you again! Have fun. Stay Safe. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact us.


  • All participants MUST pre-register by October 20th with the CCA and the WDFW Volunteer Program. Entry is limited to 80 boats
    • Boat numbers will be assigned numerically
    • Participant numbers will be assigned based on their primary (first day Captain) boat number followed by a letter
  • There is no limit on the number of participants per boat for the duration of the derby. However each boat must have a minimum of two participants (including the captain), and ALL on board musts be registered participants whether they are fishing or not
  • After registration with CCA, you will receive an email confirming your registration
    • You will be given instructions and links to complete mandatory WDFW volunteer training (if not a previous volunteer).
    • Boat captains will receive a fish transport permit which must be completed and kept on board while fishing in the derby
  • Please review the rules and note with emphasis on fish handling
  • All participants must sign the “Release, Hold Harmless, and Agreement Not to Sue”
  • Participants under 18 years old require guardian signature on Release/Hold Harmless and WDFW Release

Daily Check-in & Check-out

  • All boats and its participants are required to check-in and check-out each day they fish. Check In & Check Out will be transmitted via text message from the captain and/or participant to Todd Miller (509-619-2066), the WDFW volunteer coordinator. Check in can be completed by the captain for all participants aboard the vessel or by individual participants if arriving separately.

Check In text must include:

  • the captains last name & boat number
  • boat participant name(s) and/or assigned number(s)

Example: Johnson, Boat #1. Participants 1A, 1B, 1C, Vernita

Check out text should be completed as soon as you are off the water. Message should include:

  • the captains last name & boat number,
  • a list of all fish released including mortalities, jacks, hatchery chinook, post spawn females, and any other species caught and released (e.g., Steelhead).

Example: Johnson, Boat #1. Released 2 hatchery adult, 6 spawned females, 1 oversize sturgeon, 1 wild steelhead

  • WDFW will have loaner aerator pumps available each day if needed. You will need a 12v battery or power supply to power the aerator. The aerators use clamp connections. You may pick up the aerator at the Vernita or White Bluffs launch from WDFW. Please return the pump when you have completed fishing the derby.
    • Following check-in, we recommend that participants start fishing no earlier than 6:45 am. This ensures minimal fish holding time. Fish collection on shore begins at 7:00 am each day with shuttle boats collecting by 7:15 am.

Boat captains will receive a complimentary merchandise package (assembled by CCA) and other documents as listed below at Check-in:

  • Set of official rules, definitions of qualifying fish, and guidelines for handling fish
  • Shuttle boat signaling flag
  • A pack of fish tickets (additional tickets will be available at each launch and shuttle boat as needed).

Pre-registered Youth Participants will receive a complimentary merchandise package


  • During the derby, CCA will provide sausages/buns/condiments for lunch Friday and Saturday at both launch sites
  • Primitive camping is currently available at Vernita, Jackson Creek Fish Camp, and Ringold Springs Fish Hatchery Access area
    • Derby Participant camping is not allowed at White Bluffs
  • Port-a-potties are available at Vernita and White Bluffs launch locations
  • Rest-stop at MP-43 on Highway 24 with water, rest rooms, and RV dump station
  • Unless otherwise amended by regulation at the time of the derby, propane fire pits are allowed
  • No wood fires are allowed on WDFW lands and access areas including Vernita and Ringold Springs. Violators are subject to immediate expulsion from the Derby and may be subject to criminal fines!

Links to the Columbia River flows are:

Questions – Should you have questions regarding event participation or volunteering, feel free to contact CCA Tri-Cities KOR Committee: