Catching an 83-pound Chinook salmon is news anytime, anywhere. I’d say that catching and releasing one that size makes it all the more remarkable.
I thought it worth sharing this photo and a few details of the monster slab of a salmon landed by Deborah Whitman-Perry of of Newmarket, Ontario, fishing in Rivers Inlet, on the central British Columbia coast. Even more surprising is that she chose to release the fish knowing it could be a record, during her first-ever fishing experience.
Guide Tyler Mills, out of Good Hope Cannery, coached Whitman-Perry during the hour-long battle on 30-pound test. At boatside, the tape — measuring length and girth for the estimate — told the tale: If entered and approved by the IGFA, the Chinook would have been a new 30-pound line-class record.
Instead, it is even now fattening up for its run up a coastal river hopefully to produce more industrial-sized progeny.
But wait: There’s more. The very same morning, August 19, another guide and angler released an estimated 72-pounder, also the trophy of a lifetime by any standard.
“Over the past five years, Good Hope Sport Fishing has been promoting the enormous Chinook salmon in this region as an exceptional trophy species,” says George Cuthbert, vice president of Good Hope Cannery. Anglers are by law allowed to keep such fish, Cuthbert says, “But we take leadership in educating and celebrating the benefits of catch-and-release” for these oversize fish.
Cuthbert hopes to help keep the Wannock River wild Chinook healthy. He says on average, these fish are largest strain of salmon on the B.C. coast and some of the biggest in the Pacific.
I frequently point out that anglers are among the staunchest of environmentalists. Not only did the actions of these anglers on August 19 prove that, it seems that Good Hope’s trophy-release program (with recognition for anglers) actually evolved from lodge guests starting their own catch-and-release competition.