Guide Dogs of America (GDA) was the big winner at the third annual Salmon Fishing Derby May 4 sponsored by Machinists District W24. Unseasonably warm weather scared away the fish, but not fishermen and women, who donated $10,000 to the cause.
The International Association of Machinists founded GDA in 1948 in Sylmar, California, to train and provide guide dogs to the blind, free of charge. The organization receives no government funding. “We depend solely on fundraising events like this, voluntary donations and bequests,” said Guide Dogs director and derby participant Dale Hartford, noting that to breed, raise and train one guide dog costs $42,000.
The fishing derby launched from the docks of RiverPlace Marina in downtown Portland at 5 a.m. For the next eight hours, 19 professional fishing guides steered four-person teams through the Willamette River in search of the big fish. The winning catch was a 13-pound salmon reeled in by Bill Trites. It was Trites’ first salmon catch ever. Winner of the sturgeon derby (for most total inches of sturgeon landed, catch and release) was Jon Holden, with 635 inches. Holden is a member of Machinists District Lodge 751 in Seattle.