A record number of fish caught in the 2006 Golden North Salmon Derby spawned a record number of scholarships awarded this spring by the Territorial Sportsmen, derby Co-chairwoman Heather Marlow said.
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Derby organizer and anglers are gearing up again for another three days of intense fishing, leading to a new batch of scholarships. The 61st annual Golden North Salmon Derby starts Friday and runs through Sunday.
"We're coming off just a stellar year with record fish sales," derby Co-chairman Drake Peterson said. "We had a very high average weight, and we got top dollar for our fish, which resulted in high profit from our fish sales."
Since the inaugural derby in 1947, more than a million dollars have been given to 201 scholarship recipients. This year's derby is dedicated to those past scholarship recipients, Peterson said.
The community and local businesses once again have stepped up, he said.
"We have a huge base of volunteers who have been around a long time, some over 30 years," Peterson said.
Begins: 7:30 a.m. Friday.
Ends: 6 p.m. Sunday.
Ticket vendors: Allen Marine, Alaskan & Proud Market, Fisherman's Bend, Harri Plumbing and Heating, Rayco Sales, Valley Tesoro, Western Auto Marine.
Ticket prices: $35, 13 years and older; $10, 12 years and younger.
Daily standings and rules: www.goldennorthsalmonderby.org
Donations from vendors for derby winners set a new benchmark this year, with a total of $87,447 in donations, he said.
"That's a new record," Peterson said.
The winner of the 61st derby will take home a total of $16,360 in cash and prizes.
Lucky anglers could reel in other large cash prizes. Twelve tagged fish have been released into the waters, one worth $100,000, and the others valued at $1,000 each. All the tags are identical with the exception of the identification numbers, which are verified by officials through a set of procedures, Peterson said.
Peterson was tight-lipped about the details of the tagged fish, but he did say one of them is "a rather large king salmon."
Only two derby participants have caught the tagged fish before during the derby, he said. Last year, Mal Linthwaite caught one of the $1,000 tagged fish. Maggie Hall caught the $100,000 tagged salmon in 1996.
Derby participants who donate fish will receive a scholarship ticket that could result in a big payout. Two winners and two alternates will be selected for the "High Fives" drawing at the awards banquet for a chance to win $50,000.
Marlow, who fished in the derby as a child with her parents, said the annual event is one of Juneau's premiere family events.
"Rain or shine, fish or no fish, people are just out there having fun," she said.
Peterson encourages derby participants to limit the amount of donated ice they use this year and asks that people only take what they need.
"Take care of the fish," he said. "We encourage them to slush their fish, not ice their fish."
Using a combination of ⅓ ice and ⅔ seawater will help maintain the fish and lessen the chance of ice shortages that have caused problems in the past, Peterson said.
"That makes a slush solution that chills the fish much better than just ice," he said.
As an angler, Peterson said he is looking forward to fishing this year's derby once again.
"We're always hoping for good weather, and it's supposed to be good weather this weekend, I hear," he said.
Contact Eric Morrison at 523-2269 or email@example.com.