Quite literally with bang, the 73rd Golden North Salmon Derby comes to a close. Final numbers are not yet in but it seems that Steven Bogart’s 24 lb king turned in Sunday in Douglas is still the leader.
Sunday evening Bogart said that he was very excited to be the presumed winner. “I fished in a couple derbies and never turned a fish in before,” he told the Empire in a phone interview.
He and the captain of the “Heavy Metal,” Tom Chapin, spent two nights out on the 20-foot aluminum boat. “We told ourselves we were having a good time even before we caught the fish,” he said.
Bogart said that he and Chapin hadn’t had much luck until they caught the winning fish. “We hadn’t caught a keeper yet and then, first thing this morning, there it was,” he said.
Bogart thanked Chapin for a successful fishing trip.
As the derby ended, volunteers filled the massive plastic “totes,” or containers in which the fish will be transported.
Final results from the derby will be available Monday, Aug. 26, 2019.
The weather has calmed down and as the derby comes to a close the number of boats coming in begins to pick up.
7-year-old Elise Kanouse dropped off 13 fish at the Mike Pusich Harbor in Douglas with her grandparents. Her largest was a 12.6 lb coho salmon.
With a half hour until the derby closes, the weigh-station at Douglas Harbor has brought in 248 scholarship fish and 20 weigh-ins.
Normally, the signal to end the derby is a canon shot that can be heard for several miles, but this year it will be a “surprise,” according to derby volunteers.
The weather seems to have caused power outages in parts of Juneau. Thunder and lightening, which is rare for Juneau, hasn’t deterred any fisherman but it did scare a few folks, according to derby volunteer Don Etheridge.
Etheridge said that the passengers aboard one aluminum boat which came in said that they had jumped onto wooden beams in the boat out of fear of being shocked.
KINY, the local Juneau radio station, started having trouble with its broadcasts because of the power disruption, according to Angel Montgomery, a KINY broadcaster who was at Auke Bay covering the derby.
Intermitent downpours and even a rare thunderstorm wash over a lull in the action as a number of small ships pull in to drop of scholarship fish.
Derby volunteers are packing fish into storage crates and covering them with a slush of ice and seawater.
At Auke Bay, Albert Reinhart aboard the Maggie Marie turned in a twenty-pounder. “It fought, man,” Reinhart said. “Took me about 15 minutes.” Reinhart turned in that fish and several scholarship fish before heading back out into the rain.
A new Derby leader just weighed at the Mike Pusich Douglas Harbor. A 24 lbs King Salmon caught by Steven Bogart. Bogart, 59, had been on the “Heavy Metal,” a 20-foot skiff, since Friday morning.
Bogart said that he hadn’t caught a king salmon for maybe 40 years. But the ship’s captain, Tom Chapin, “took me to the right place.”
When asked where exactly the right place was, “We ain’t gonna tell ya,” Chapin said with a laugh. “It’s outside of Douglas.”
When he’s not fishing, Bogart works for the maintenance department at the Juneau school district.
Bogart’s salmon was an even 24 lbs. The next largest fish was a 23.4 lbs king caught by Jackie Dimond, 26, which came in to Douglas Harbor just minutes after Bogart.
That wraps up live coverage for today, but the Empire will be back out tomorrow for live updates as the Golden North Salmon Derby comes to a finish.
From 5 to 6 p.m., a stream of boats pulled into Mike Pusich Douglas Harbor, but most were dropping off scholarship fish or weighing one or two salmon.
Most didn’t crack the 14-pound mark.
Shona Osterhout, volunteer, said to the best of her knowledge the first-place slot in the derby’s standings didn’t change today.
“I hear there’s something big coming though,” Osterhout said.
Here are some photos from Juneau Empire photographer Michael Penn of the flurry of fish at Amalga Harbor.
The first, second and third salmon weighed at Amalga Harbor all came within the past hour.
Tito Ritter, 9, was the first weighed fish in with his 8.5-pound coho.
“I can’t believe I caught a fish that size,” Ritter said.
His dad, Glenn Aubrey, and grandfather Ray Ritter, said Tito Ritter’s fish was the biggest one to come into their boat.
“It’s bigger than any of the one’s we caught, and he’s been rubbing it in all day,” Ray Ritter said with a laugh.
The next two fish weighed were a pair of sizable coho that were among 12 salmon caught today by Dusty Riesterer and John Bohan.
A 12.7-pound coho paced the bunch, and an 11.5 ended up as the second heaviest fish.
“It’s not bad,” Bohan said. “It’s a start.”
2:50 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 24
Kami Bartness, a volunteer at the Don D. Statter Memorial Boat Harbor weigh-in station said so far Saturday’s been slow, and there have been no lead changes.
Doug Duncan’s 22.9-pound king salmon is still the biggest fish that’s been caught, Bartness said.
“This is kind of the calm before the storm,” Bartness said, and she predicted a lot more activity around 5 p.m. Saturday and throughout Sunday.
That doesn’t mean some big fish haven’t been turned in today though.
Bartness said four 20-pound kings and a 17-pound coho have all been weight at Statter Harbor.
The most recent of those 20-pound fish came courtesy of Sadie Wright and Chris Krenz.
“I reeled it in, and he netted it perfectly,” Wright said. “We knew it was a big one when it was fighting.”
While the 20.1-pound king salmon was being weighed, Wright and Krenz had to stop their “Dillingham rescue” dog, Beyla, from sampling the fish.
The Provost-Forst-Duncan expedition returned to the dock about 20 minutes ago. Several hours after tying up to the Statter Harbor dock with a 19.7-pound king salmon, the trio returned with a fish over three pounds heavier.
Here’s a picture of Doug Duncan with his 22.9-pound king salmon.
Duncan now is now the unofficial leader of the derby, bumping Monika Walker’s 20.7-pound king into second place.
This was the scene this morning in Auke Bay.
Monika Walker, 36, just turned in a slightly bigger king salmon than Zach Forst (19.7 pounds) in Auke Bay. Arriving to the weigh station around 11:45 a.m., Walker handed over a 20.7-pound king salmon, proudly holding it up for her fishing companion and father, 71-year-old Mike Bethers, to take a picture. Bethers, who said he’s been in at least 45 derbies, was instantly recognized by derby volunteer Kami Bartness.
“The derbies are really fun — best family fun we have every year,” Bethers said while standing next to his daughter on the dock. “Especially when everyone gets a fish in the ship.”
“I taught her everything I know,” Bethers said.
Without recent news of fish turned in to Amalga or Douglas weigh stations, Walker’s fish is presumptive leader of the derby.
Just after 11 a.m., Robbie Provost, Zach Forst and Doug Duncan turned in the first fish of the derby to the Statter Harbor weigh station. Forst weighed his catch first, a 19.7-pound king salmon, good enough for first place at this weigh station (thus far).
Still no fish turned in to the Statter Harbor weigh station as more and more fishermen leave Auke Bay. A light rain is still coming down.
Alan Sayler, 68, of St. Petersburg, Florida, is headed out on the 32-foot vessel Reel Lucky with several others.
“Is there a prize for the fisherman that lives the farthest away from here?” Sayler asked while validating his tickets at the Statter Harbor station.
Sayler fishes for “king fish, snapper, grouper, cobia and tuna” back home and was happy to get the opportunity to fish in the derby (gale force winds postponed the derby one week). It’s Sayler and his wife’s first-ever visit to Juneau to see their adult daughter and Harv and Marv boat captain, Christine.
“We’re supposed to bring some glory to the company today,” Sayler said, referring to his daughter’s employer, which runs whale watching tours out of Juneau.
Volunteering in the derby is no small undertaking. Volunteers are expected to be the docks all day, and will interact with hundreds of fishermen and handle just as many fish.
“It’s a lot of work when it’s busy, but it’s fun,” Statter Harbor volunteer Cheri Wharton said.
Wharton compared the event to the Fourth of July in Juneau in the way it brings people together.
Wharton is working the station with her daughter, Alysha Reeves and friend and longtime derby volunteer Kami Bartness.
Just over 150 tickets have been validated at Statter harbor, and now there’s a lull in action. About three boats stopped by in the last 10 minutes, but that could be it for a while. No fish have been weighed yet, and Kami Bartness, lead station volunteer, said they might not see any until the afternoon.
This is about the 15th year Bartness has been the lead station volunteer. Helping her out is Cheri Wharton. Find a picture of Wharton validating tickets down below.
“Hurry up and wait time,” Bartness said.
Several dozen fishing boats left the Don D. Statter and Fishermen’s Bend harbors at around 7:45 a.m. this morning, the earliest they could begin their Golden North Salmon Derby adventure. Derby volunteers started validating tickets at 7:30 a.m. sharp at eight different stations around Juneau, including at both the Auke Bay harbors.
There were about 40 fishermen in line for ticket validation at 7:30 a.m. for the Statter Harbor, according to one derby volunteer.
The winner of the derby this year will win $10,000 from the Territorial Sportsmen plus other prizes.