Returns were slow at midday Saturday at the Mike Pusich Douglas Harbor weigh station for the 75th annual Golden North Salmon Derby, but volunteers there were pleased to announce a 26-pound king salmon turned in earlier was currently leading the competition.
Friday had been slow, said Jessie Jensen, who’s volunteered with the derby since 2004, but started to pick up more after 4 p.m. Juneau saw heavy rains Friday, and there weren’t many people out, she said.
“We had three-fourths of a tote (container),” Jensen said, “which isn’t great.”
By the end of the day Friday the Douglas weigh station had 55 scholarship fish, 5 coho salmon and 12 king salmon. Speaking to Empire at noon Saturday, Jensen said the largest fish so far was the 26-pounder, turned in by David Hillary, and second and third place were held by Jesse Walker with an 18.3-pound king and Monica Walker with a 15.2-pound king salmon.
The derby is allowing participants to compete as teams for the first time this year, and Jensen said two teams, “Itchy Bob” and “Matt Damon,” had dropped off fish.
Despite the slow pace of the derby, the atmosphere at the Douglas harbor was upbeat, and local restaurants dropped off free food for volunteers.
Jensen did say that someone had tried to turn in a fish weighing only 1.9 pounds in an attempt to claim the $100 prize for the first fish caught.
“He was mean, he gave us a bunch of lip,” Jensen said.
Weigh stations in the Amalga, Auke Bay and Douglas harbors close at 6 p.m. every day and Sunday is the last day of the derby.
• Contact reporter Peter Segall at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.