San Francisco, CA. – Fisherman Mark Chow won the $1,000 first prize for the biggest salmon in last Saturday’s Golden Gate Salmon Association Red Bluff Salmon Derby held at the Durango RV Resort in Red Bluff. Chow’s big male salmon weighed in at 27.15-pound gutted and gilled. Chow’s winning salmon broke the fishing rod early in the 40-minute fight that ended with the fish in the boat. Second place went to first time fisherman Wyatt Brazell whose 26.56-pound fish was caught fishing with guide Robert Weese. Third place went to Chris Tomasetti who caught a 20.65-pound salmon.
“The salmon derby was a great event because it was clear that everyone had lots of fun while supporting GGSA’s work to rebuild big salmon runs in the Central Valley,” said GGSA executive director John McManus.
Proceeds from the derby will support GGSA’s working, including projects to restore key juvenile salmon rearing areas and guard against losing salmon to heated water or sudden reductions in flows from Shasta Dam. Stronger salmon runs provide a major economic shot to both the coast and along the Sacramento River.
“On both the coast and in the upper Sacramento River basin, people view salmon as a valuable food source. All of these derby fish will likely get smoked before they’re enjoyed by the lucky fisherman who caught them,” said McManus
Although 2015 hasn’t been the best salmon season in recent years, GGSA expects 2016 to be better. That’s because in 2014 and 2015 GGSA succeeded in getting virtually all Central Valley hatchery produced baby salmon transported around the drought to safe release sites, a move that should pay off with higher survival and more adult salmon to catch next year.
“My fish may have gone 32 pounds in the round in the river, perhaps more in the ocean. This fish was holding over two pounds of milt,” Chow said.
Chow said he was looking forward to eating the fish after it’s smoked, with fishing guide Scott Ferris Jr.’s special dry brine recipe. Chow said, “Thank you GGSA for hosting such a great fund raiser and for helping support our fishery.”