29-pound king leads the derby

Cohos are pulling their weight but chinook this year aren't all that regal

Posted: Sunday, August 07, 2005

Anglers enjoyed good weather Saturday for the second day of the 59th Annual Golden North Salmon Derby, which ends today.

But fishermen said the prized king and coho salmon aren't very big this year.

"It's a little slow. We're getting lots of coho. The kings are kind of small," said Don Zenger, who fished near South Island.

By late Saturday afternoon, Brian Prellwitz held the lead with a 29-pound king that he caught that morning.

That fish would have won the derby last year, besting Carol Munro's 26.5-pounder. But at the end of Friday, a 1.8-pound fish would put you in the top 100. In last year's derby, the 100th heaviest fish weighed 18 pounds.

Nearly all the 50-odd fish turned in Saturday at the Douglas weigh station by mid-afternoon were cohos.

But Zenger at least temporarily captured fifth place with a 23.2-pound king.

"We got a little business for you. It's in the 20-pound range," Zenger told the Douglas volunteers as he eased his boat up to the dock. The coho he tossed in a tote were "door prizes," he said.

Zenger caught his king near South Island after a 10-minute fight. He's caught kings in the 50- to 60-pound range, so this wasn't a notable contest.

Darlene Carpenter went down to the Douglas weigh station to greet her son, Hayden Garrison, who thought he'd be bringing in a large coho.

Carpenter had herring and an apple cake to hand off.

It turned out that Garrison's coho was 12.8 pounds, third heaviest at that point in the day at the Douglas station. If it held its place, Garrison would win $25, but not the $100 first-place prize.

"I was spending that $100, for him," Carpenter lamented.

Francis Kadrlik brought in a 15.6-pound coho, putting him in second place for the daily coho-related prize at the Douglas station.

Fishing near Arden was very slow, he said, especially for kings.

"Didn't see a whole lot of nets popping out of the water," Kadrlik said.

But Alex Whitehead, 12, brought in eight coho, donated for the sponsoring Territorial Sportsmen's scholarship fund.

On Saturday afternoon, derby official Nick Yurko said the derby was going at a pace about the same as last year, despite rain Friday.

"Myself, I'd rather fish on a rainy day," he said. "Your fish aren't going to be as deep on a rainy day. Your sunny days have the tendency to drive the fish deeper, and you have to work harder."

Last year, fishermen turned in 461 fish weighing nearly 7,266 pounds.

The unofficial top five fish by 6 p.m. Saturday were: 1) Brian Prellwitz, 29 pounds; 2) Monika Bethers, 27.4; 3) Allan Culbreath, 26.3; 4) Randy Beason, 25.1; 5) Don Zenger, 23.2.

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