SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


McQueen Takes Derby's Top Spot On Last Day Of Fishing
0.2 lbs Separates Top Two Spots


June 08, 2009

Ketchikan, Alaska - If Dan McQueen didn't believe the adage "the early bird gets the worm" he certainly does now. With one day left in the 62nd Annual Ketchikan CHARR King Salmon Derby, McQueen left the house at 1:30 a.m. in hopes of taking advantage of every opportunity on the last day of fishing. McQueen's purpose was singular -- not to win the derby, but to place somewhere in the top ten. He had broken his fishing pole during Saturday's fishing trip and hoped to take advantage of Tongass Trading's offer of a free pole to anglers that bought their tickets at Tongass and placed in the top ten.

jpg Dan McQueen and his winning 44.2 lb king

Dan McQueen and his winning 44.2 lb king
Photo courtesy 2009 Ketchikan King Salmon Derby

McQueen was "fishing hard" by 2:45 a.m., staying near the Mountain Point boat launch. Finding no luck, he pondered where his late father, a former commercial troller, might go to find a fish worthy of the top ten. "No joke," he said. "I looked out over the water and a ray of sunshine shone directly on Stomach Bay." Not five minutes after arriving and getting his gear in the water, McQueen had hooked into the winning entry. It took him nearly one-and-a-half hours to haul the 44.2 lb king over the side. Not content with his monster catch, McQueen rebaited his gear and fished for another 15 minutes before deciding to head back to the weigh-in station at Mountain Point. "I had the fish packed in ice but it was starting to lose some blood. I started getting nervous about it losing too much weight and headed back in."

McQueen's timing could not have been better as his entry topped Mark Tollfeldt's 44-pound entry by only two-tenths of a pound. Tollfeldt had taken the lead on the second day of the first weekend of the derby and held the top spot until McQueen's entry Sunday morning.

When asked what he planned to do with the over $10,000 in prize money McQueen offered only that he would like to take care of some outstanding hospital bills resulting from an accident with an uninsured motorist last summer.

As if spoiling Tollfeldt's top prize wasn't enough, McQueen also garnered the special prize allotted to the angler catching the largest salmon from a skiff 16' or smaller. Tollfeldt's entry had also been caught from a skiff. Tollfeldt, along with 28 other top 30 finishers, will choose from prize packages with a total value of more than $75,000.

McQueen's king salmon bested more than 800 fish entered over the seven days of fishing. Although exact counts are unavailable, derby organizers estimate that over 1200 people participated in the derby.

The awards ceremony will be held on Friday, June 12th, at the Ted Ferry Civic Center where anglers will choose their prizes based on their placement on the derby ladder. Special prize categories such as biggest fish by male youth, biggest fish by female youth, men's and women's hidden weights, and the largest salmon caught by an Alaskan permanent license holder will also be awarded.

Proceeds from the annual derby benefit the Ketchikan CHARR Educational Fund, a local non-profit that provides scholarships to Ketchikan students pursuing post-secondary education.

"By all accounts the derby was a success," stated Russell Thomas, 2009 King Salmon Derby coordinator. "The weather couldn't have been better, we saw nearly 300 more fish than last year, and everyone watched and waited each day of the derby to see if the leader was going to change. It was an exciting ending to a great effort by many volunteers and derby participants."

The 2009 derby included a move to electronic weigh-in forms, which made the results available online. The new feature was a hit with derby watchers, with some entries getting over 1200 hits. "I was shocked at the amount of unsolicited comments I received from anglers either happy that their picture was posted online or mad because we hadn't got their picture up yet," said Jerry Kiffer, 2009 derby committee chairman and weigh-in station volunteer. "We weren't sure how the new technology was going to be received but were pleasantly surprised by the response from derby participants."

Despite the success of this year's derby, Thomas is already looking ahead to improvements for next year. "We'll get finished with the awards ceremony, take a month off, and then get together to start talking about next year's derby."



On the Web:

2009 Leader Board

Photographs (Click on the link next to eht camera graphic)

2009 Ketchikan King Salmon Derby Prize List

Special prize category results (Scroll to the bottom)


Source of News:

2009 Ketchikan King Salmon Derby

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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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