Allison Lihou, John Diamond and Brian Thomason (aboard boat) turn in five salmon, including four scholarship fish, to dock volunteers Jason Bailey (orange jacket) and Bobby Dilg at the Douglas Harbor station during the 77th annual Golden North Salmon Derby on Sunday. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

Allison Lihou, John Diamond and Brian Thomason (aboard boat) turn in five salmon, including four scholarship fish, to dock volunteers Jason Bailey (orange jacket) and Bobby Dilg at the Douglas Harbor station during the 77th annual Golden North Salmon Derby on Sunday. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

Updates from the 77th Annual Golden North Salmon Derby

24.4-pound king is top catch at 6 p.m. Sunday deadline, more than 3 pounds heavier than runner-up.

Update (7:10 p.m.): A 24.4-pound king salmon caught by Dylan Kubley on Sunday morning remains the biggest fish at the 77th annual Golden North Salmon Derby as of the official 6 p.m. Sunday deadline for the three-day event.

His fish prevailed by a hefty margin over second-place Ryan Davis, who caught a 21.3-pound king, and third-place Caden Johns with a 21-pound king.

All three of the heaviest fish were turned into the Auke Nu station.

The rain and wind on Sunday, while stormy enough at times to prompt some people to quit early, was an improvement on gale-force winds that damped Saturday’s participation.

Kubley’s fish is bigger than the 22.1-pound king that won last year’s derby, but well behind the 31.7-pound first-place king in 2021 and 28.2-pound king in 2020.

Update (1 p.m. Sunday): Second place in the 77th annual Golden North Salmon Derby now belongs to Ryan Davis, who turned in a 21.3-pound king at midday, barely edging out the 21-pounder caught by Caden Johns on Saturday. Dylan Kubley remains in the lead with a 24.4-pound king.

Sunday has “been very slow” at the Douglas Harbor station, said Bobby Dilg, an official at the site, just before noon. But he predicted “a big rush between 4 and 5 p.m.,” with people coming in a bit early due to inclement weather before the official 6 p.m. conclusion of the three-day derby.

Update (11 a.m. Sunday): A 24.4-pound king salmon turned in mid-morning by Dylan Kubley is now the top fish as the 77th annual Golden North Salmon Derby enters its final day. The second-place fish is a 21-pound king caught by Caden Johns (the top fish after the second day) and third place is a 17.4-pound king caught by Mark Fitzjarrald (the top fish after the first day).

The biggest coho is a 14.4-pound fish turned into the Auke Nu station on Saturday by Zackery Martin.

While derby officials said heavy rain and gale-force winds apparently discouraged some people from participating, Sunday’s forecast calls for better — if still rainy — conditions. The National Weather Service Juneau is predicting mostly cloudy skies with a 70% chance of rain throughout the day, winds gusting to 15 mph and a high temperature near 60.

Validation for the derby ends at 6 p.m. today.

Mike Jaenicke, a dock sampler for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, scans a tagged fish at the Douglas Harbor station during the 77th annual Golden North Salmon Derby on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Mike Jaenicke, a dock sampler for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, scans a tagged fish at the Douglas Harbor station during the 77th annual Golden North Salmon Derby on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Update (3:30 p.m. Saturday): The 21-pound king caught earlier Saturday remains the biggest fish caught during this year’s derby and, while participation Saturday appears lower than Friday’s due to weather, overall it’s about the same as previous years, according to Ryan Beason, president of the Territorial Sportsmen and chair of the Golden North Salmon Derby.

“Friday was great — numbers were up all around, so that was a good thing,” he said. “Obviously fishing today is a little less because of the weather.”

Beason, who said at about 3 p.m. he had just come in for the day after getting soaked through during six hours aboard his 24-foot aluminum boat, said the storm seemed to be getting worse as the day progressed.

“This morning the wind wasn’t bad, but this afternoon it really picked up,” he said.

Update (2 p.m. Saturday): A 21-pound king salmon caught by Caden Johns on Saturday morning was the biggest fish caught at the midpoint of the three-day 77th annual Golden North Salmon Derby, with stormy weather during the day seemingly putting a damper on the number of people participating.

“We had a long line of boats yesterday,” said Bobby Dilg, dock boss at the Douglas Harbor station. “My guess is that’s because everybody was expecting this weather.”

He said while numerous people came into the harbor with their boats to turn in salmon as of early Saturday afternoon, he expected only a few “stragglers” might do so later during the afternoon due to the storm featuring heavy rain and gale-force winds in some areas.

The top catches for the first day of the 77th annual Golden North Salmon Derby as posted on the event’s official Facebook page. The three-day derby ended at 6 p.m. Sunday. (Golden North Salmon Derby)

The top catches for the first day of the 77th annual Golden North Salmon Derby as posted on the event’s official Facebook page. The three-day derby ended at 6 p.m. Sunday. (Golden North Salmon Derby)

Original story (9 a.m. Saturday): A fish that barely would have made the top 10 last year is topping the board after the first day of the 77th annual Golden North Salmon Derby on Friday, but organizers — while urging caution on the waters — are suggesting better results may be to come during an intense storm forecast Saturday.

“Word on the water is fish get active when they sense the storm coming, so grab your Grundens and win that first place salmon,” an announcement posted on the event’s Facebook page stated.

A storm with significant rain and gale-force winds up to 30 knots is forecast in the inner channel Saturday, with winds reaching speeds up to 40 knots in the outer channel, according to a notice issued by the National Weather Service at 8:15 a.m. Saturday.

“Marine winds are expected to increase through the morning with the strongest winds along the outer coast and offshore waters,” the notice states. “Strongest winds are expected this afternoon through this evening.”

Jackie Ebert, 37, and her son William Oliver Dryer, 6, stand behind a fish he caught on Friday, the first day the 77th annual Golden North Salmon Derby, at the Auke Nu Cove weigh station. A few minutes earlier Jackie Ebert turned in a 14.2-pound fish, narrowly edging out a 14 pounder that was the heaviest at that point in the day. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

Jackie Ebert, 37, and her son William Oliver Dryer, 6, stand behind a fish he caught on Friday, the first day the 77th annual Golden North Salmon Derby, at the Auke Nu Cove weigh station. A few minutes earlier Jackie Ebert turned in a 14.2-pound fish, narrowly edging out a 14 pounder that was the heaviest at that point in the day. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

A 17.4-pound king salmon caught by Mark Fitzjarrald and turned into the Douglas Harbor station was the heaviest fish caught Friday, according to official results posted online. The top fish turned in at the Amalga Harbor was a 16.3-pound king caught by Jason Brooks and the top fish at Auke Nu Cove was a 16.1-pound king caught by Garrett Mayer.

Two cohos weighing 13.6 pounds, caught by Guy Holt and Cora Soboleff, were the heaviest for that species on Friday.

A total of 77 fish were turned in on Friday, according to the official results.

Last year’s winner was a 22.1-pound king caught on the final day of the derby by Shawn Bethers. In 10th place last year was a 17.3-pound king caught on the first day by Kaylee Mackey. The heaviest fish caught on the first day last year was an 18.1-pound king caught by Dennis Lavigne.

• Juneau Empire reporter Meredith Jordan contributed to this story. Contact Meredith Jordan at meredith.jordan@juneauempire.com or (907) 615-3190. Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

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