This photo shows an approximately 70-pound king caught on the Kenai River by Troy Grote of Aberdeen, South Dakota, on Saturday, July 14, 2018. The fish measured 51 1/2 inches in length and 31 1/2 inches in girth. (Photo coutesy Joe Johnson)

This photo shows an approximately 70-pound king caught on the Kenai River by Troy Grote of Aberdeen, South Dakota, on Saturday, July 14, 2018. The fish measured 51 1/2 inches in length and 31 1/2 inches in girth. (Photo coutesy Joe Johnson)

Angler lands 70-pound king on Kenai

A South Dakota angler hit the jackpot on the Kenai River on Saturday with a nearly 70-pound king salmon on the end of his line.

Troy Grote of Aberdeen, South Dakota, landed a 51 1/2-inch king salmon on the lower Kenai River on Saturday. With a 31 1/2-inch girth, the fish weighed in around 70 pounds, said guide Joe Johnson of Big Dipper Guide Service.

Johnson said they hooked the king around 1 p.m. on a double-blade pink and black Spin-N-Glo near Sunken Island and fought it for almost an hour. It was Grote’s first king salmon, he said.

It’s just shy of the sportfishing trophy weight threshold for the Kenai River — kings have to be 75 pounds to qualify for trophy weight on the Kenai, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Everywhere else in the state, the threshold for trophy sport-caught kings is 50 pounds. The record on the Kenai River is still Les Anderson’s 97-pound king, caught in 1985.

King fishing is restricted to the lower Kenai River this season, with no fishing allowed upstream of a marker 300 yards downstream of the mouth of Slikok Creek. Though anglers are allowed to fish and harvest kings between the mouth and that marker, no bait is allowed.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at eearl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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