Alexander Masters displays his freshly caught king salmon at the Wayside Park on Channel Drive on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Alexander Masters displays his freshly caught king salmon at the Wayside Park on Channel Drive on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

King fishing on for Southeast anglers

Folks happy for the start of the season

Fishing is something to celebrate when you’re 61-year-old Leroy Dabaluz, even when you’re not the one catching the fish.

“Nice one, look at that, strong one!” Dabaluz shouted as the slight fisherman to his right, Chirly Chup, reeled in a roughly 30-pound king salmon Thursday afternoon. “Seen him swimming? It’s like a torpedo.”

Chup carefully walked down the shoreline, continuing to reel in the large fish until his fishing partner could swing the net underneath the silvery surprise. Chup knows fishing is a fickle sport, and this was just one of his lucky days.

“I’ve been a couple days — nothing for me, my friend here, nothing, the same thing,” Chup said. “But last year I was doing good, the same spot. So it’s no matter for me. Sometimes you’re lucky.”

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game opened sport fishing for king salmon in the Juneau area last Saturday, and Dabaluz and Chup were two of the dozens of active anglers who basked in the sunny weather Thursday and Friday at Wayside Park.

Felipe Ogoy works a king salmon to shore as Arnil Timtim readies a net at the Wayside Park on Channel Drive on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Felipe Ogoy works a king salmon to shore as Arnil Timtim readies a net at the Wayside Park on Channel Drive on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

In Juneau waters, such as those outside the Ladd Macaulay Salmon Hatchery, locals may bag two kings 28 inches or longer per day.

Kings caught in freshwater on Juneau road system drainages or in Fish Creek Pond on Douglas Island do not carry the same size and baggage regulations. For both these areas, four kings of any size may be caught per day. Snagging fish at Wayside park is illegal, but allowed at Fish Creek Pond.

Dabaluz hadn’t done too bad for himself either, catching one king salmon on Thursday night and another on Friday morning. Dabaluz comes from a fish background: he was once a commercial fisherman and makes his own custom lures. Dabaluz uses a Blue Fox spinner, the same lure used by Chup, except Dabaluz removes the treble hook and puts on a single hook. That’s what he used when he lived in Yakutat, and he sticks by it.

“That’s the edge,” Dabaluz said.

A freshly caught king salmon at the Wayside Park on Channel Drive on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

A freshly caught king salmon at the Wayside Park on Channel Drive on Thursday, June 20, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

He knows his odds of catching a fish are decreased when the sun is out, but said still fishes because “there’s nothing else to do.”

“When the sun’s out, the fish dive deep,” he said. “When it’s cloudy, the fish come up higher.”

Richard Carrillo was also fishing on Friday afternoon at Wayside, but unlike Dabaluz or Chup hadn’t caught anything yet. He wasn’t going anywhere though. He caught a king salmon at Fish Creek earlier in the season, and is fueled by the memory of pulling in a future dinner.

“It’s good to have that first king of the season,” Carrillo said. “It’s dinner. It’s more than 150 bucks for sure.”

“It’s relaxing, considering with the all the tourists coming downtown, it’s kind of nice to be out in nature, just relaxing, hearing the water go by,” he said.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.


More in Sports

Blake Plummer, left, and Sophia Pugh, both JDHS girls soccer players, sign their letters of intent to play for Peninsula College and the Pratt Institute respectively on May 9, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
JDHS soccer players sign for college teams on opposite coasts

The two have played together for years, playing key roles for JDHS.

A ball streaks down the lane at an unbroken formation of pins at Pinz, Juneau’s bowling alley, on May 5, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Let the good times roll: Management brings new life to an old bowling alley

“If you’re throwing a ball down a lane and having a good time, you’re bowling.”

The Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team on Sunday held its annual year-end banquet. At the banquet, players on both the junior varsity and varsity teams received individual awards.  (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
TMHS announces end-of-season awards

MVP, most improved and more.

JDHS player Gabe Cheng drives down the field with the ball during a tight game against TMHS on April 23, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
TMHS and JDHS tie 4-4 in fierce match

It’s been a bruising and competitive season so far.

JDHS forward Kyla Bentz, top center, celebrates with her team after scoring on TMHS during a game at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park on April 12, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Jessie Holmes takes a break from cooking his dogs a meal to nuzzle with two wheel dogs at the Ophir checkpoint during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. A pack of sled dogs belonging to Holmes, Iditarod veteran and reality TV star killed a family pet in Alaska, officials said. Authorities in Wasilla are investigating a March 30, 2022 incident involving dogs owned by musher Holmes, who finished third in year's Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and stars in "Life Below Zero: Alaska" on the National Geographic channel. (Zachariah Hughes/Anchorage Daily News via AP, Pool, File)
Dogs owned by Iditarod vet, reality TV star kill family pet

ANCHORAGE — A pack of sled dogs belonging to an Iditarod veteran… Continue reading

The Juneau Capitals 16-and-under A Division squad bested an Anchorage team it had previously lost two four times in two weeks to win a 16-and-Under Division A state title. (Courtesy Photo / Steve Quinn)
Juneau Capitals win 16-and-under Division A state title

Team faced tough competition from an oft-faced foe.