Kenai River Classic embarks on 3rd decade... ladies catch the big ones!

Kenai River Classic embarks on 3rd decade… ladies catch the big ones!

Even though the mighty Kenai kings are no longer the target of the Kenai River Sportfishing Assoc. (KRSA) annual Kenai River Classic, the event remains an important venue for habitat and conservation efforts on the Kenai River with the silver and pink salmon providing fantastic opportunities and plenty of fish stories to take home. Nearly 100 people showed their support for the Kenai River last week by participating in event and for the second year in a row it was a lady who landed the largest fish of the three day tournament. When the idea for an event on the Kenai emerged from the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens and Bob Penny 21 years ago, the first KRSA executive director was Ben Ellis, an avid sport fishermen and lover of the Kenai River. This year it was Ben’s wife Susie Ellis who brought a 13.1 pound beautiful silver. “It was awesome, I felt it hit and I did exactly what the guide told me to do, he put on quite a show jumping and fighting, but I kept reeling and when he got to the net he jumped out and I panicked because I wasn’t about to lose this fish and we finally got in the boat,” Ellis told the Dispatch in an interview. Taking second place in the derby was JP Connelly of BP with a 12.5-pound fish and coming in third was James Fueg of Donlin Gold. Kenai River Guide Val Early won the Yamaha “Celebrate the Guides” Luck of the Draw 50-hp engine again this year.

It was a lady from Texas last year who won the first silver Classic and took the Ted Stevens silver trophy for the first time out of state and Susie said she was happy to return it to Alaska. According to executive director Ricky Gease the purpose of the event since its inception was to educate policymakers, corporate officials and fishing enthusiasts on how important it is to take care of the Kenai River and its fisheries resources for future generations.

Highlights of this year’s events included the second annual “Classic Roundtable on National Recreational Fishing” with U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich. Representatives from leading national sport fishing interests, including the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the American Sportfishing Association and the Coastal Conservation Association, joined KRSA to discuss some of the issues facing recreational fisheries. Thursday, Classic participants held a Legislative update from officials with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) and Alaska State Parks.

The 2014 Kenai River Classic also gave a boost to the local economy, the three-day fundraising event, held August 20-22, contributed several hundred thousand dollars to the Kenai/Soldotna economies through participant lodging, food, guides, tours and transportation. Funds raised through participant and sponsor fees and auction proceeds are used for habitat restoration, angler access and education, fisheries management and research, and other conservation efforts on the Kenai River and other South-central Alaska watersheds, according to Gease. Nearly 375 people attended the annual auction and banquet at Soldotna Sports Center on Wednesday evening. At that time, Alaska Sen. Pete Kelly was honored with the Alaska Legislative Sportfishing Advocate of the Year award. Presenting sponsor of this year’s Classic was Yamaha. Title sponsors included Alaska Airlines, ConocoPhillips and RAVN Alaska.

Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) is a 501 (c) 3 charitable non-profit, fishery conservation organization of sport anglers, conservationists and others whose primary goal is to preserve and improve salmon habitat while promoting responsible sport fishing on the Kenai River. Learn more at www.kenairiversportfishing.com.

Kenai River Classic embarks on 3rd decade... ladies catch the big ones!

More in News

The Alaska State Capitol is seen on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Legislature modernizes 40-year-old definition of consent in sexual assault cases

‘Alaska took a gargantuan step forward in updating our laws,’ says deputy attorney general

Project stakeholders cut a ribbon at the Nikiski Shelter of Hope on Friday, May 20, 2022, in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Stakeholders celebrate opening of Nikiski shelter

The shelter officially opened last December

Peter Segall / Juneau Empire
Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks with reporters Thursday about the state’s budget at the Alaska State Capitol. Dunleavy said lawmakers had sent a complete budget, and that there was no need for a special session.
Dunleavy: No need for special session

Governor calls budget “complete”

A magnet promoting the Alaska Reads Act released sits atop a stack of Alaskan-authored and Alaska-centric books. Lawmakers passed the Alaska Reads Act on the last day of the legislative session, but several members of the House of Representatives were upset with the bill, and the way it was passed. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
In last-minute move, Legislature passes early reading overhaul

Rural lawmakers push back on Alaska Reads Act

Graduates wait to receive diplomas during Connections Homeschool’s commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Connections honors more than 100 graduates

The home-school program held a ceremony Thursday in Soldotna

Alaska Senate President Peter Micciche, left, and Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, right, meet with reporters in Micciche’s office in the early morning hours of Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska, after the Legislature ended its regular session. Micciche, a Republican, and Begich, a Democrat, discussed their working relationship, as well as well as parts of the session they were either pleased with or disappointed with. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
After House balks at bigger figure, budget OK’d with $3,200 payout per Alaskan

Budget finishes as second-largest in state history by one measure, but Dunleavy could make cuts

Loren Reese, principal at Kenai Alternative High School, gives Oliver Larrow the Mr. Fix It award Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Kenai Alternative High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Alternative graduates 22, says goodbye to principal

The ceremony included special awards customized for students

Graduates throw their caps into the air at the end of Soldotna High School’s commencement ceremony on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘We never fell down’

Soldotna High School honors more than 100 graduates

Brandi Harbaugh gives a presentation during a joint work session on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Mill rate decrease, max school funding included in proposed borough budget

The final document is subject to approval by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly

Most Read