Volunteers have netted and tagged up to 20 king salmon released at the mouth of Anchorage's Ship Creek in anticipation of Friday's start of the Slam'n Salm'n Derby. One tagged fish will net the lucky angler $1,000, according to derby officials. The rest will be worth $100 each.
The derby is a fundraiser for the Downtown Soup Kitchen, and although tickets are free, donations from anglers brought in more than $50,000 for the soup kitchen last year. And 2013 was not a good year for Ship Creek kings or the anglers who fish the urban waterway -- last year's winner weighed 29 pounds, the smallest in derby history.
With more healthy smolt being produced by the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery, derby officials and fishermen hope this year will see more and bigger kings caught. Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists have called Ship Creek king salmon fishing the best it has been in years.
The Downtown Soup Kitchen's Slam'n Salm'n Derby starts 6 a.m. Friday and ends at noon Sunday, June 22. The biggest fish will be worth a new 16-foot Cataraft and trailer.