For the 62nd straight year, a coho bigger than 15 pounds will win the Seward Silver Salmon Derby.
C.H. Schroeder of Big Lake made sure of that Thursday when he grabbed the derby lead by reeling in a 15.2-pound fish while fishing at the head of Resurrection Bay.
By doing so, he extended a streak that began in 1956, the year of the first derby. A 15.08-pound fish topped the inaugural event, and since then no fish smaller than 15 pounds has ever won.
The nine-day derby ends at noon Sunday, with $10,000 earmarked for the biggest catch. There's also a tagged fish worth $50,000 swimming out there somewhere.
Earlier this week, Ian Wetherhorn of Houston caught a tagged fish that netted him a 2017 Chevy Silverado.
As of Saturday evening, the biggest entries this year are Schroeder's and a 14.68-pound silver caught Friday by Michelle Gabriel of Soldotna. Third place belongs to Jennifer Shelton of Soldotna with a 13.96-pound fish.
The smallest winner in derby history is the 15.01-pounder hooked by Jesse Morrison of Anchorage in 1958, the third year of the derby. That's one of only four winners that weighed less than 16 pounds, and all of them were caught in 1970 or earlier.
The record fish, caught in 2002 by Shirley Basinger of Anchorage, weighed 22.24 pounds.
Only four fish in history have topped the 20-pound mark. The last one came in 2013, when Taro Rich of Anchorage won with a 21.25-pound fish.