The Kenai Silver Salmon Derby wrapped up Sunday evening, with a returning champion taking the youth grand prize.
According to a release from the Kenai Chamber of Commerce, 116 fish were weighed by 79 anglers across the six days of competition. The grand-prize winners were the anglers who caught the fish that weighed in closest to the “magic weight,” a random value determined by spinning two wheels. This year’s final magic weight was 13.04 pounds.
For the adults, top prize, $5,000, went to Dolores Roddis, with a salmon at 11.04 pounds. Youth prize, $1,000, went to 6-year-old Abigal Craig, who was also last year’s champion. The release says Craig also won three of the six daily prizes and weighed the largest fish of the derby.
Liam Floyd, programs and facilities coordinator for the chamber, said the magic weight discourages selective fishing and lowers the barrier to entry. Because the winning fish can be any size, anglers aren’t seeking out the biggest fish in the river, and any angler could be the one to pull the winning fish.
During an awards ceremony on Wednesday, Roddis said that fishing had been more challenging this year because of high waters on the Kenai River, but that she still made it out every day.
Because she couldn’t pull her winning fish up on the bank, she said she had to net it “for the very first time.”
“He was quite a fight,” she said.
Proceeds raised by the sale of derby tickets, the release says, are designated for “management and protection of river banks and other riparian zones in Kenai.” Since the derby was founded, more than $10,000 have been raised. The first use of those proceeds was announced last month, when $5,000 was allocated toward replacement of a culvert in Cemetery Creek, promoting the passage of salmon smolt.
For more information about the Kenai Silver Salmon Derby, visit facebook.com/Kenaichamber.