Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament returns this Saturday

After one-year hiatus, winter king tournament is back with COVID safety restrictions

The annual Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament returns this year after a one-year hiatus and will be held on Saturday, April 17. Lines go in at 9 a.m. and lines must be out by 4 p.m. The deadline for weigh-in is 6 p.m.

Canceled in 2020 due to the rising threat of the novel coronavirus at the time, the tournament returns for the 27th year, but on April 17. This new date was settled on in order to make the event safer for anglers and the community, according to the Homer Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center website. Executive Director Brad Anderson said after consulting with local health experts, the committee for the tournament settled on the later date to allow more time for the COVID-19 vaccine to make its way through the community.

As of Tuesday, about 1,000 anglers had registered for the tournament. Anderson said a lot of people are anxious to get out on the water and go fishing.

“It’s the funnest, best thing to do,” he said.

One change this year is the tournament weigh-in site, moved to the large pull-in area by the Deep Water Dock on the Homer Spit where cruise ships dock. Anderson said people can drive in and weigh their fish. Shuttle buses will take people to the weigh-in area from parking lots by the old chip pad and near the load-launch ramp. Face coverings are requested to be worn when in the tournament area.

“We wanted to take advantage of as much open space as we can for this event,” Anderson said of moving the weigh-in area,

Another change this year is that there is no southern boundary limit for fishing, Anderson said. The northern boundary remains in effect.

By giving more time for more people to get the vaccine, Anderson said earlier the hope is that the tournament will feel safer both for locals and for anglers who are thinking of traveling to Homer to enter. As another safety precaution, Anderson said all registration is available online this year, to prevent the need for people to gather for registration in person at the visitor center.

The 2019 winner, Eagle River resident Shayna Perry, was the first woman to ever win the fishing tournament. Her white salmon weighed in at 26.7 pounds, so it won first place overall and first place for largest white salmon, a separate tournament category. All told, Perry took home nearly $80,000 in winnings. Overall, the chamber gave out just over $171,000 during the 2019 tournament.

For more information, visit the chamber’s website at homerwinterking.com. Call the chamber at 907-235-7740, or send an email to info@homeralaska.org for questions.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.