n/a: Joe Williams: Nightcrawler: Salmon River, … "Finally, they had to beach the boat to haul the fish out of the water," she said. Short and simple, the experience is always outstanding! Most anglers then and now consider spawning kings that return in May and June to be smaller than the late-run fish of July. - Mark Berndt, We spent a day with Kenai Outfitters and boated 2 Kings over 40 lbs. The mammoth Chinook was nearly 5 feet long and had an amazing 37.5-inch girth! Some of it has provided insights into the big fish. The declining age of returning salmon in recent years may help explain why fewer big fish are found. A higher proportion of chinook are coming back after spending only one to three years (in the) ocean, compared to three to five years.". Before that day, the largest salmon Les had landed in 16 years of fishing was a 63-pounder, and while he recognized this king as bigger, he didn't immediately consider it a world record contender. The fish took them up and down the river (to the Pillars, roughly a half-mile away, and then back). The river had been running low that year. Some have also been caught since 2003, but the fish were released rather than harvested, so there is no record of them at Fish and Game. The few times I fished with him, people would recognize him and point and whisper, but he was never in it.". On May 17, 1985, Les Anderson of Soldotna, AK landed the all-tackle world record king salmon…this 97-pound, 4-ounce beast from the Kenai River. Could another fish be out there big enough to break Les' record? That right time wasn't just early in the year. And sure enough it was," Clara said. The largest fish brought in to Fish and Game since 2003 was a blushed male, measuring 57 inches and weighing 86.6 pounds, caught at Airplane Hole (river Mile 14.5) on July 26, 2006. The Story of the World Record King Salmon. To learn more about them, visit their Rogues Gallery Kennel page on Facebook. © 2020 Anchorage Daily News. Why isn't completely clear, but it is believed to be related to less-favorable marine conditions. The salmon undergo radical morphological changes as they prepare for the spawning event ahead. "Three times they got the king to the boat and couldn't get it in. Joseph's first book, "Life with Forty Dogs," published by Alaska Northwest Publishing, was released in April. © 2013 Web Design by OTC, King Salmon , Silver Salmon, Rainbow Trout, & Flyout Fishing Trips / Rates. Anderson’s king salmon weighed in at 97 pounds, four ounces — a rod-and-reel world record that still stands. Les' world record is for a king caught using a rod and reel, but the largest Alaska king caught by any means was a whopping 126-pounder captured in a commercial fish trap near Petersburg in 1949. Thanks to Kenai Outfitters, my son and I have memories that will last a lifetime. (Retired Record) 11 lb. "It was quite an exciting day for him, for us, for all the Peninsula. Last year alone, we had people from 54 countries — from Australia to Ecuador — take pictures with Les.". "Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing it is not the fish they are after.". So, based on this, it's very likely that the chinook that Les caught was bound to spawn in the Killey River.". CDFW is temporarily closing its high public use areas, including visitor centers and license … And the Kenai still offers the best odds for hooking a colossal king, he said. For decades, Anderson's salmon has brought anglers to the Kenai, perhaps Alaska's best-known river, which was already renowned as a world-class fishery for kings as well as sockeyes, silvers and rainbow trout. SOLDOTNA — While thousands of enthusiastic anglers come to Alaska hoping to land the fish of a lifetime, for one man who did — still remembered as the man in Soldotna — catching the world record king salmon was in many ways simply one of many wonderful days spent on the aquamarine waters of the Kenai River. Among them: • Bank closures to protect spawning and riparian habitat; • Establishing 50-foot riparian protection zones; • Culverts that follow conservation-based standards; • Construction of light-penetrating walkways that allow vegetation to grow beneath; • Using cutting-edge ARIS sonar technology to count the king salmon that make it upstream. Potential Record…Released!. In addition to a taxidermy mount of his record-breaking fish in the Sports Hall of Fame at the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, another resides in the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. Salmon lose the silvery blue they had as ocean fish, and their color darkens, sometimes with a radical change in hue. - Colorado Springs, CO. Kenai Outfitters have terrific fishing guides with tremendous river fishing knowledge, excellent drift boat skills, and the patience to teach us the intricacies of King salmon fishing. Still, genetics plays a role in the big-fish equation, affecting not only the age of maturity but the average size of various rivers' stocks. Since 2003, Fish and Game has, by regulation, required all kings more than 55 inches to be sealed within three days of harvest. "They take pictures with the fish and the carving of Les that sits outside our door. "He drove around with it for a few hours before someone said, 'You know, that could be a new record.' Pawluk said other whoppers have been caught — including some 80- and 90-plus-pounders — between 1987 and 2003, when the sealing regulations began. King salmon can spend anywhere from one to six years in the ocean feeding before returning to their natal streams to spawn, and his was believed to have been 4 or 5 years old.