Now in its 85th year, Tengu Blackmouth Derby celebrates Seattle and Japanese-American community’s salmon fishing heritage.

With winter fishing open in central Puget Sound, anglers come together in West Seattle to “mooch” and swap fish stories.

A hatchery Chinook salmon is weighed-in at the Tengu Blackmouth Derby on Jan. 9. Photos by Chase Gunnell, WDFW’s Puget Sound Region communications manager.
Tengu Fishing Club members and derby participants gather in West Seattle early in the morning on Jan. 9, 2022, with the Seattle skyline behind them.

“The derby is a nice way to see old fishing friends, and all the new faces, too,” said Doug Hanada, current president of the Tengu Club. “It’s a way for us to come together with a common interest in a fishing style, mooching, that dates back more than four generations.”

Calm waters on Elliott Bay and a glorious sunrise as Tengu Derby anglers head out.
Anglers mooch for Chinook salmon in central Puget Sound with Mount Rainier and Seattle skyscrapers in the background.
Many blackmouth average 3 to 5 lbs, but winter Chinook in the 8 to 12 lb range are not uncommon. These two were caught mooching in January 2020.

“It is a very special event that we’ve tried to host every year as long as the fishing allow us to do so. I had guys asking me if we can do this again before the fishing season ends.”

Tengu Blackmouth Derby participants swap fish stories and enjoy hot ramen on a sunny winter afternoon.
The Tengu Fishing Club of Seattle plaque on display at the Seacrest Boathouse in West Seattle. Photo courtesy of the Tengu Fishing Club.
Seattle’s urban fisheries offer unique opportunities to pursue salmon with backdrops like this.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.