After a year long hiatus, we are back online with another Ketchikan fishing minute.
The 70th annual Ketchikan CHARR King Salmon Derby kicked off on Memorial Day weekend, and we were blessed with spectacular weather, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures climbing over seventy degrees.
I left the dock with a couple of friends in one of the Clover Pass Resort Yellow Boats in time to catch the morning tide change. We fished from Pup Island up to the Tatoosh Rocks and back for most of the morning. While the tide was slack, we were getting strikes consistently. Unfortunately, most of those fish were too small to keep, just shakers in the 12″-18″ range.
Once the current started moving, the bite dropped off considerably. We kept at it however, and when the tide changed that afternoon, the bite picked up again. We pulled a few more shakers up to the boat, and our patience was rewarded when our sales manager brought in a 13.5 pound king salmon. While that fish isn’t going to win any prizes, it did turn out to be a white king, where the flesh lacks the reddish color that you expect from salmon. This occurs in about five percent of king salmon, due to the fish being unable to process the pigments in their food.
One fish that will qualify for a prize on the derby ladder was brought in by good friend of the lodge, J.B. Ruth. His 34.6 pound king is currently sitting in second place, but we have two more weekends to go and a lot of fishing in front of us.
Overall, more than 800 anglers got on the water this opening weekend, with over 330 fish turned in at the four weigh stations in town. The largest fish so far has been a 37.1 pound chinook brought in by James Bellarosa. If that fish holds on to the top spot, James will walk away with $10,000 cash and two tickets to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies!
Thanks to Jake and Eric at KPU for the great footage last weekend. We will get back on the water for more derby coverage, and give you an update on who’s on top of the ladder next week on another Ketchikan Fishing Minute!