Yes, it really is that good.
Albert Verrall of Palmer landed a 21.31-pound silver salmon Wednesday morning in Seward, breaking the Seward Silver Salmon Derby record of 19.56, set in 1994.
Verrall's record was short lived, though, as Shirley Baysinger of Cooper Landing bettered Verrall's catch by almost a pound, bringing in a 22.24-pound silver Wednesday afternoon.
"We predicted this even before the derby started," said Maureen Hall, who is manning the derby booth for the Seward Chamber of Commerce. "We we're seeing bigger fish than we've seen in years. (Anglers) are coming from all over. They started bringing them in early (Thursday) morning. Of course, they're all out there looking for that 25-pounder. We're starting to sneer at 15- and 16-pound fish."
Last year's derby winner weighed in at 18.70 pounds. Hall said that quite a few big silvers have been caught be derby competitors, including a 17.74-pound fish landed by a 9-year-old angler Thursday morning.
Hall added that anglers shouldn't be disparaged of their catch weighs in at less than lunker size.
"We're giving away $150,000 in money and prizes, and with daily drawings, even a 3-pound fish could win," Hall said.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports fishing for silver salmon to very good to excellent both inside and outside Resurrection Bay. The daily bag limit for salmon is six, but outside Resurrection Bay on three may be silvers. Inside Resurrection Bay, north of a line from Cape Resurrection to Cape Aialik, all six may be silvers.
Anglers fishing from the beach in Seward are finding success with salmon eggs and a bobber while those fishing from boats have had success trolling with cut herring and a flasher.
Silver and pink salmon are entering the Kenai River in good numbers as well, and can be found throughout the lower part of the river. Anglers have been finding success with brightly colored spoons and spinners, Spin-N-Glos with eggs, and small Kwikfish.
Late run red salmon continue to enter the Kenai, though the run is nearing its end. Anglers looking for one more sockeye may want to try fishing the Russian River, where fishing for reds has been fair and the occasional silver has been spotted.
Fishing for Dolly Varden and rainbow trout on the Russian also has been good. The Russian River and the waters near its confluence with the Kenai River are fly-fishing-only waters, and hook size restrictions, as well as other special regulations, apply.
Silver salmon fishing in the Homer Spit Fishing Lagoon continues to be excellent. While the early run of silvers has tapered, the late run has started to show in the lagoon.
Silvers have been entering the Anchor River, Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River, and fishing is expected to improve as recent rainfall has raised water levels and cooled the water temperature, according to Fish and Game.
Dolly Varden also are present in the streams, and a few early steelhead have been showing. Anglers need to make themselves aware of the differences between steelhead and silver salmon as steelhead are a catch-and-release-only species and may not be retained.
Fishing for halibut out of Homer remains good, but boats leaving from Anchor Point and Ninilchik have been heading south as the halibut begin to migrate to deeper waters.
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