Alaska’s 42-year-old state pink salmon record was broken twice, and both were verified within hours of each other.
Alaska has a new state record for pink salmon after the old one was pushed out of the top spot. In fact, Alaska Fish and Game officials signed off on new records for the same species twice in the same day.
Thomas Salas reeled in his record catch while fishing the Kenai River on the evening of Monday, August 22. Salas almost threw the beast back in when his friend convinced him it might be a record.
Tuesday morning the pair took the 28.5-inch fish weighing 12 pounds, 13 ounces to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office. After being verified by multiple biologists, Salas found out he officially beat the old record of 12 pounds, 9 ounces from 1974.
Just three hours later, wildlife workers were blown away when another angler came in with a massive pink salmon.
Robert Dubar pulled his impressive catch from the same river just downstream of Angler’s Lodge that morning. He originally thought he had hooked a log before the five minute long fight landed the salmon.
Biologists weighed that fish, determining it to be 13 pounds, 10.6 ounces and 32 inches, breaking the new state record set hours before by Salas.
There is a chance the record could possibly be broken again, as anglers continue to pull enormous pink salmon from the Kenai River this year.
“I have lost track of how many pinks have been brought in the year for our trophy program this season,” Jason Pawluk, the acting area management biologist for the Division of Sportfish in Soldotna, told ADN.
In order for a fish to be entered into the trophy fish program it must weight at least 8 pounds. All entries are weighed in front of witnesses on a certified scale. Fish and Game records show 12 have been entered from the Kenai River this year already.
Reports from commercial fisherman of the larger than normal fish started early in the season. Most are larger than any yearly angler can ever remember.
Biologist aren’t sure why the salmon are so much bigger than they have been compared to past years. They believe ocean temperatures may be playing a role as Kodiak salmon have been larger as well.
Whatever the cause is this is the year to break salmon records in Alaska. Maybe next someone will break the world record of 14 pounds, 13 ounces.