The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Widows and Warriors heading out for salmon


August 23, 2018

Next Wednesday, 33 soldiers and Gold Star family members are expected to arrive in Cathlamet to participate in the annual Wahkiakum Warriors and Widows Salmon Derby.

When men and women die in service to our country, members of their family are designated as Gold Star.

They will meet the volunteers who will take them fishing the next day and enjoy a salmon dinner at the Elochoman Slough Marina that afternoon, before spending the night in local accommodations which include the Hotel Cathlamet, Columbia River Ranch, and marina cabins.

Local first responders have been invited to join in the fun, including two from each fire department, two from the sheriff’s office, and two from state patrol.

According to one of the event’s organizers, Doug Martin, approximately 25 captains have stepped up to take these men, women, and at least one youth out on the river.

Thursday morning, the participants will rise early and spend several hours on the river, bonding, relaxing, and hopefully catching the biggest fish.

For some, this will be the first time fishing, or the first time on the Columbia.

The derby weigh-in will end at 4 p.m. that day with pizza and prizes, including rods made by John Doumit, Fred Hoven, and Kelly Melton.

This year, there will be no returnees from past events, as the newly formed Wahkiakum Warrior and Widows Foundation hopes to provide this opportunity to new people each year.

“It’s a good thing we get to do,” Martin said, “but it’s a great thing they do for us.”

They will take some time to honor Bud Mickelsen, who originally organized the event in 2015. He passed away in June.

“We want to follow through with Bud’s thoughts and mission,” Martin said. “He meant a lot to a lot of us and we want to keep his legacy alive.”


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