Slam’n Salm’n Fishing Derby Hosts Kids Day

Ready to hit the shoreline. Fishing Alaska is a great way for kids and adults to spend time together. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Anchorage’s largest salmon derby, the Slam’n Salm’n King Derby, is scheduled for June 14-23 on the banks of Ship Creek. Anglers will have the opportunity to cast a line to help others, while also fishing for a chance to win exciting prizes.

Fishing kids (and the grownups who love them): Saturday, June 15 is the one and only Slam’n Salm’n Fishing Derby “Kids-Only” day! A special youth category for ages 15 and under will feature prizes such as tickets to Shockwave trampoline park, gift cards and more. Youth anglers will not need a Derby ticket; they should bring their fish to Derby Headquarters for official weigh-in. 

With summer in full swing around Anchorage, this weekend is the perfect time to introduce kids to the best of king fishing, right along the banks of Ship Creek. 

Dustin Slinker, owner of The Bait Shack and director of the festival and derby, says the kid-friendly aspect is just another way Alaska families can take advantage of Alaska’s outdoor recreation bounty. 

“For starters we shut down a portion of the creek where only youth anglers can fish,” Slinker told me. “They get the prime area to land a king. There there is also an event within the event which is the 3rd Annual “Get Out & Fish” Ship Creek Youth Fishing. We had to set it the first 300 kids this year, and kids will get the option of a rod and reel, fishing hat or a fishing shirt plus a bag that has some gear in it.’

Even cooler is the partnership between The Bait Shack and The Bridge Seafood Restaurant that straddles Ship Creek. “We will cook up 500 hot dogs to hand out to hungry kids,” says Slinker. “This is all donated from the community and local businesses, and completely free for all the youth anglers.”

And there’s more: Free gear to use down on the creek, including free bait, courtesy of Alaska Bait Company. It’s not all about catching fish. It’s about getting the youngsters out on the creek and engaging in the sport of fishing for a few hours.

“Maybe,” says Dustin Slinker, a dad himself, “They’ll find a new passion.” 

P.S. The whole Slam’n Salm’n Derby and Festival is a benefit to the Downtown Soup Kitchen Hope Center, Battle Dawgs, Al Aska Shriners, and the Alaska Sport Fish Association. Get out there and fish for a bunch of great reasons, y’all. 

Ship Creek in downtown Anchorage is the place to be for the annual Slam’n Salm’n Derby. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

What should you bring? 

  • Appropriate clothing, including rubber boots or waders, if you have them for the kids, rain gear, and good gloves to hold on to wiggly fish. Sunglasses are also a good idea, polarized if you can, so fish can be easily seen. 
  • Read the rules about licenses for fishing Alaska waters HERE. Remember, if you are an unlicensed adult helping out a kid and you pull in said fish, you’re on the hook for a potentially big fine. So be prepared. 

What should you know? 

  • Fishing Ship Creek can be muddy and sticky, sometimes ending up in lost boots because of the silty, sandy terrain. Watch kids at all times. Not sure where to fish? Dustin Slinker is a pro and can give you all the advice necessary for a great day on the creek. Look for him at The Bait Shack all day. 

Fish on!

~EK 

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