By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

Big Lake man wins Silver Salmon Derby

Schroeder's 15.2-pounder nets $10,000 1st-place prize


August 24, 2017 | View PDF

Tommy Wells

Seward Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cindy Clock presents C.H. Schroeder with a trophy for winning the 62nd annual Seward Silver Salmon Derby. Schroeder also won $10,000 for his catch.

For C.H. Schroeder, the hardest part of the 62nd annual Seward Silver Salmon Derby was waiting to see if his fish would stand the test of time. That wait came to an end Saturday afternoon.

A 64-year-old resident of Big Lake, Schroeder pocketed $10,000 on Sunday afternoon when Seward Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cindy Clock announced the final results of the 9-day competition. In all, more than 2,100 fish were caught during the tournament.

None were better than the 15.2-pound silver landed by Schroeder, a retired aircraft maintenance worker.

"I'm pretty happy about winning," he said after accepting a trophy from Clock. "I've actually caught larger fish (in past tournaments) but this one is the best. It pays."

Schoeder landed his winning fish on Thursday while fishing aboard his own boat, The Blackbird, using herring as bait. He said as soon as he got the fish close enough to the boat to see it he thought it could land him in the money.

"We weren't doing anything special," he said. "We were just trolling like we always do."

After about a 10-minute fight to get the fish onboard, he and his fishing partner, Deb Johnson, immediately pulled their equipment and made a "beeline" to the derby's weight station.

Once the fish had been weighed in, the hard part began. He had to sit through the final two days of the tournament to see if anyone would land a fish that would knock him from the top of the leaderboard.

"You try not to think about it too much," he said.

Before this year, Schroeder said, the best he had ever finished in the Seward Silver Salmon Derby was 26th a few years ago. A decade ago, he landed a 16.82-pounder that didn't make the top 10.

Schroeder's winning fish is the fifth smallest winner since the derby began in 1956 and the smallest since a 15.09-pounder landed by Miriam Thom in 1970. No fish smaller than 15 pounds has ever won, and in 62 years only five winners have weighed less than 16 pounds.

Schroeder's fish was the only coho that weighed in excess of 15 pounds this year, Clock noted.

In addition to the prize money, Schroeder won 15.2 pounds of coffee from Kaladi Brothers.

Blaine McBain garnered second in the final standings. The Anchorage youngster collected $5,000 for his 14.92-pound catch.

Soldotna's Michelle Gabriel was third with a 14.68-pound fish. Her catch earned her $2,500.


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