VOCAL EXERCISES - Artist in the Schools instructor Sarah Branton of Cherry Creek, Colorado, leads an exercise in the Sitka High School band room this morning as she teaches students how to improve their volume. Branton will be here all week working with choirs at Blatchley Middle School and Sitka High. Her instruction is part of the effort to rebuild school  choir programs and numbers following the pandemic. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

SE Conference Opens Way for Cruise Plan
26 Sep 2023 14:48

By SHANNON HAUGLAND Sentinel Staff Writer City Administrator John Leach says Southeast Conference  [ ... ]

Early Voting Under Way in Oct. 3 City Election
26 Sep 2023 14:40

By SHANNON HAUGLAND Sentinel Staff Writer Voting has been slow in the seven days since early votin [ ... ]

Choir Master Leads Off Artists in Schools Season
26 Sep 2023 14:38

By SHANNON HAUGLAND Sentinel Staff Writer The Sitka School District welcomed an Artist in the Scho [ ... ]

Careers in Fishing Face Host of Obstacles
26 Sep 2023 14:35

By JOSHUA A. BICKEL  The Associated Press KODIAK (AP) — Lane Bolich first came to work in Alask [ ... ]

September 26, 2023, Police Blotter
26 Sep 2023 14:31

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today: September 25 At 7:07 a.m. a bear was re [ ... ]

September 26, 2023, Community Happenings
26 Sep 2023 14:30

BMS Podcast Club to Register Sixth- through eighth-grade students can register for the Blatchley P [ ... ]

Assembly to Award $45,000 to Nonprofits
25 Sep 2023 15:36

By SHANNON HAUGLAND Sentinel Staff Writer The Assembly will conduct its annual distribution of cit [ ... ]

St. Michael's Icon Helps Raise Funds for Priests
25 Sep 2023 15:33

By GARLAND KENNEDY Sentinel Staff Writer As part of fundraising aimed at increasing the stipend re [ ... ]

Alaska Relaxes Rules On Marijuana Ads, Samples
25 Sep 2023 15:29

By JAMES BROOKS Alaska Beacon Alaska Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom has signed new regulations that allo [ ... ]

U.S. Judge Asked to Order Mine to Let Inspectors I...
25 Sep 2023 15:28

By JAMES BROOKS Alaska Beacon The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is asking a U.S. D [ ... ]

September 25, 2023, Community Happenings
25 Sep 2023 15:22

Natural Resources Discussed at Meet Sitka Tribe’s Natural Resource Committee will meet 6:30 p.m. [ ... ]

September 25, 2023, Police Blotter
25 Sep 2023 15:20

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today: September 22 At 9:34 a.m. trash was rep [ ... ]

Heating Grant Expands Uses of SFAC Building
22 Sep 2023 15:13

By SHANNON HAUGLAND Sentinel Staff Writer Sitka Fine Arts Camp has received a $372,000 grant from  [ ... ]

Sullivan Tells of Plans to Protect Fisheries
22 Sep 2023 15:12

By GARLAND KENNEDY Sentinel Staff Writer Alaska U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan emphasized the importance o [ ... ]

Sitka's Keet Named a National Blue Ribbon School
22 Sep 2023 15:11

By Sentinel Staff Sitka’s Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School has been named a National Blue Ribbo [ ... ]

Permanent Fund Payout Set at $1,312 This Year
22 Sep 2023 15:09

By JAMES BROOKS Alaska Beacon This year’s Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend will be $1,312. The Al [ ... ]

Sullivan On New Path To Picking U.S. Judge
22 Sep 2023 15:08

By JAMES BROOKS Alaska Beacon Alaska Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan has picked a nine-member pa [ ... ]

September 22, 2023, Police Blotter
22 Sep 2023 14:27

Sitka police received the following calls by 8 a.m. today: September 21 At 5:08 a.m. assistance wa [ ... ]

September 22, 2023, Community Happenings
22 Sep 2023 14:25

Climate Connection -- Sitka’s Probable Temperature Futurehe nonprofit Probable Futures has map [ ... ]

Sen. Murkowski: 'Shutdowns Hurt'
21 Sep 2023 15:41

By GARLAND KENNEDY Sentinel Staff Writer Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski spoke in opposition to a  [ ... ]

Sitkans Being Asked About Access to Food
21 Sep 2023 15:39

By SHANNON HAUGLAND Sentinel Staff Writer How many days of food do you have available in your home [ ... ]

SE Conference Told of $1M Housing Grant
21 Sep 2023 15:36

By SHANNON HAUGLAND Sentinel Staff Writer The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing a $1 mil [ ... ]

Study: Half of Those Born In Alaska Haven’t Stayed...
21 Sep 2023 14:45

By JAMES BROOKS Alaska Beacon More than half of Alaskans born within the state have moved away, ac [ ... ]

Legislators to Skip Fall Special Session
21 Sep 2023 14:43

By JAMES BROOKS Alaska Beacon The Alaska Legislature will not meet in a special session this fall  [ ... ]

Other Articles

Daily Sitka Sentinel

Seven-Year-Old Angler Leads Salmon Derby


Sentinel Staff Writer

Seven-year-old Caleb Gray recalled his reaction to catching his derby-leading 32.5-pound king salmon Monday as:

“‘Woohoo! Yeah!’”

With his catch, he rose to the top of the leader board at the end of the first weekend of fishing in the 68th Sitka Salmon Derby, sponsored by the Sitka Sportsman’s Association.

With two more days left in the derby, next Saturday and Sunday, here is the leader board so far:

1. Caleb Gray, 32.5 lbs

2. Riley Bernhardt, 29.5 lbs

3. Kenny Gray, 28.5 lbs

4. Adam Olsen, 26.5 lbs

5. Neil Akana, 25 lbs

6. Jared Nelson, 24.5 lbs

7. Rebecca Olsen, 24.5 lbs

8. Caleb Gray, 24 lbs.

9. Jake Peterson, 22.5 lbs

10. Calvin Boord, 22.1 lbs

11. Victor Littlefield, 22 lbs

12. Parker White, 22 lbs

Kenny and Caleb Gray (Photo Provided)

Derby organizers described the first three days as relatively slow, but 276 kings were turned in by 94 participants.

Marsha Lysons, SSA fish statistician, said the weather was probably the worst she’s seen for a derby, “but the ones that went still seemed to be enjoying their time on the water and with friends and family.”

Caleb was out fishing with dad Kenny Gray of Sitka, and grandpa Keith Gray, who flew in from Kodiak to participate for the first weekend. The three had good luck in a spot south of town, which they’re keeping under wraps for now.

Caleb caught two fish a day on Saturday and Sunday, including a 24-pound king on Sunday. He described the weather as “rough and wavy and nice” throughout the weekend, with the two Grays turning in their limit of fish to the F/V Partisan at the Goddard weigh-in station Saturday and Sunday.

The first big surprise of Monday was when Kenny caught a 28.5-pound fish in a kelp bed, to place himself on the leader board in the morning, He remains at third place.

But the bigger surprise was yet to come, around noon on Monday. Caleb said he didn’t know how big the fish was when he felt the king bite, but was able to re-enact for the Sentinel the sound of the line paying out as the fish ran about 100 feet two times before the seven-and-a-half year old successfully landed it.

When Caleb was asked if he knew his fish was big he said he thought it might be “bigger than Riley’s.” He was referring to his teammate, Sitka High School rising sophomore Riley Bernhardt, the derby leader at the time with a 29.5-pounder. (The team competition is new this year.)

Monday’s fish were all turned in at the Crescent Harbor weigh-in station, which organizers call “Salmon Central.”

Caleb said he enjoyed “fighting” with the fish, and is looking forward to next weekend, when he and Kenny will be joined by mom Keri, a Sitka High math teacher; and baby sister Chloe, who is a month old. They’ll be fishing on the same boat, the family’s 29-foot North River aluminum vessel which doesn’t yet have a name.

New this year in the competition is the Chuck McGraw Jr. memorial contest, a team-fishing challenge that will reward those who enter the greatest daily poundage of fish.

Also on Caleb and Kenny’s team are Riley and Gary Bernhardt, who are fishing on another boat.

The leaders in the total pounds category:

1. Caleb Gray, 125.9 lbs, 6 fish

2. Riley Bernhardt, 115 lbs, 6 fish

3. Kenny Gray, 100.2 lbs., 6 fish

4. Erin Kitka, 93.4 lbs’, with 6 fish

5. Jack Haley, 86.9 lbs., 6 fish

6. Jared Nelson, 85.4 lbs.

7. Morgan Enfiejian, 78 lbs., 6 fish

8. Neil Akana, 73.5 lbs., 5 fish

9. Lola Haley, 73.2 lbs., 6 fish

10. Gary Bernhardt, 68.7 lbs., 5 fish

11. Charles Clement, 68.3 lbs., 6 fish

Fish entered in the derby are sold to Sitka Sound Seafoods, with proceeds going toward operating the next year’s derby and funding scholarships.

Derby fish are weighed in the round. The prize for the biggest fish is a pair of Alaska Airlines vouchers worth up to $2,500 along with $10,000 cash. Second place wins $5,000, while third is a power hauler. There also are many other prizes that are based on the ranking by weight of fish entered.

Last year’s derby winner was Savanah Plank, with her 40.2 pound Chinook.

Looking ahead to next weekend, John McCrehin, SSA president and derby chair, said the forecast is calling for nicer weather with less wind.


You have no rights to post comments

Login Form




At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






September 2003

Sitka Tribe of Alaska is “upset and disturbed” about the Senate appropriations bill that cuts spending for Alaska tribal courts, STA Vice Chairman Gil Truitt said today. He was referring to Sen. Ted Stevens’ move to divert Department of Justice grants from tribal courts and tribal police officers to fund the Village Public Safety Officer program.



September 1973

Photo caption: Receiving service pins at a Carpenters Union Local 466 dinner meeting at the Kiksadi Club were, from left, Arthur Littlefield, Alvin Helm, Harley Finch, Dave Gibson, Gerald Hughes, Fred Nelson, Walter Moy, Edward Nelson, William Sutton and Don Stromme.


No Images


No Images


No Images