Tiffany Listberger is the winner of the 75th annual Golden North Salmon Derby with a 31.7-pound king salmon according to the derby’s provisional results. Listberger’s fish is the heaviest to win the derby since 2008, according to derby records.
“It was insane,” Listberger told the Empire Monday. “I’m still kind of in disbelief.”
It took about 15 minutes to reel the fish in, Listeberger said, adding she was grateful to be able to catch a fish of that size as they are increasingly rare these days.
Listberger has a prize package coming her way that includes $10,000 in cash.
“That’s crazy,” Litseberger said. “I’m excited. It’s all surreal.”
She thanked Territoral Sportmans Inc., for putting on the event and said she hoped she could fish again next year.
In second and third places for the heaviest fish are David Hildre with a 26-pound king and Monika Walker with a 22.6-pound king, both turned in at the Mike Pusich Douglas Harbor on Saturday. The 75th placed fish gets its own special prize and this year that award currently goes to Tom Dawson who turned in a 13-pound king salmon at Auke Bay Sunday.
The derby’s youth winner was Jason Sims Jr. with a 13.4 king salmon.
According to derby records, the largest salmon ever caught for the derby was a 59.5-pound king salmon turned in by Gary Hedges in 1971. Hedges is still involved in the derby.
Derby co-chair Shawn Hootan told the Empire Monday morning organizers were still waiting for the exact dollar value to be calculated, but Alaska Glacier Seafoods reported the derby generated 24,007 pounds of king salmon and 21,031 pound of coho salmon.
The derby allowed teams to participate for the first time this year, and based on the number of fish returned Hootan believes some teams were made up of professional or experienced anglers.
“I’m gonna guess there were experienced guys doing a lot of the fishing, they were basically maxing out their (fish counts) for each day,” Hootan said.
Teams competed for the total number of fish turned over three days and provisional results show the team “Twin 1” turned in 73 fish, “The Flashing Hootchies” turned in 66 and “Twin 2” with 59 fish.
Whether the derby will continue the team competition will be a debate for the organizers, said Ron Sommerville, the derby’s other co-chair this year. Sommerville said he liked the team competition but there will likely be changes made to how prizes are allocated.
“Some of the charter vessels, they dominated the top of the team competition,” Sommerville told the Empire. “Not that that’s bad, but we’ll have to look at that sort of thing.”
Numbers will be finalized Tuesday, Hootan said, and awards will be distributed at an event at Centennial Hall Thursday night.
Both Hootan and Sommerville noted that heavy rains Friday resulted in low turnout for the derby that day.
• Contact reporter Peter Segall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.