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Final derby weekend starting with Hanis in lead

KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Competitive anglers have one more weekend to land a big king salmon to win the 2017 Ketchikan CHARR Educational Fund King Salmon Derby.

The third and final weekend of the 70th annual derby will start at 7 a.m. Saturday. In the overall lead after two weekends of derby fishing is Chase Hanis with a 43.7-pound king salmon weighed in on the morning of June 4 at the Mountain Point weigh-in station.

Saturday’s weather forecast of cloudy skies and slight chance of rain showers is a bit more optimistic than this past weekend, during which 0.57 inches and 2.50 inches of precipitation were recorded on June 3 and June 4, respectively.

“Obviously the weather hampered us a little bit this past weekend — we had about 330 fish turned in the first weekend but only about 150 the second weekend,” Derby Coordinator Michael Briggs said earlier this week. “But it looks like the weather is going to be a little more cooperative for the third weekend and we’re hoping that the numbers boost back up a little bit.”

Speaking of numbers, derby anglers are competing for derby ladder and special prizes valued at more than $92,000. That includes a grand prize of $10,070 cash, two roundtrip tickets with Alaska Airlines and a canvas photo of the winner.

Hanis is in a good position with a 43.7-pounder, having bested James Bellarosa’s 37.1-pound king that led the derby coming out of Memorial Day weekend.

 It should be noted, however, that even a mighty 43.7-pound king wouldn’t be the largest fish to win the Ketchikan derby. The all-time record holder remains the 79-pound king caught by Milton Fox in 1956. And, a gentleman by the name of Gary Smart just won the 2017 Wrangell King Salmon Derby with a 64.1-pound king. There’s a fair chance that the Ketchikan derby could see another fish occupying the grand prize position by the time the weigh-in stations close at 9 p.m. Sunday.

In third place as of this past weekend is Jonathan Ruth with a 34.6-pound king.

Atop the youth prize ladder is Rylee Donnelly, who weighed in a 23.8-pounder on June 3. Quinn Hudson is in second place on the youth ladder with a 22.5-pound king salmon, followed in third place by Jocelyn Cannon with a 21.5-pounder weighed in on May 29.

John Larson leads the cumulative weight category, having weighed in eight king salmon for a total of 120.7 pounds. Hanis has weighed in five kings for a total of 107.1 pounds, and currently occupies second place in the cumulative weight category.

There has been at least one report of a king salmon weighing in the mid-30-pound range being caught by an angler who didn’t have a derby ticket. Anglers wanting to participate in the derby should familiarize themselves with the derby rules, which are available online on the derby website at www.ketchikankingsalmonderby.com.

The four official derby weigh-in stations will open at 6:45 a.m. Saturday for the punching of derby tickets.