OLYMPIA – Adam Stewart, a 19-year-old angler from Arlington, has set a new state record for the largest pink salmon caught in state waters, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed today.
Stewart caught the 15.4-pound salmon Oct. 11 on the lower Stillaguamish River in Snohomish County, and immediately had its weight certified at a grocery store in Arlington.
The fish was 31 inches long, with a girth of 24.75 inches, said Don Rothaus, a WDFW fish biologist. In certifying the catch, Rothaus noted the “huge” hump on its back, characteristic of male pink salmon returning to spawn.
“At first, I thought I had a coho on the line,” said Stewart, a metal and glass cutter, who was fishing with spinning gear and 10-pound test line. “Then that huge hump caught the current broadside and just starting peeling line off my rod.
“I didn’t really know what I had until I got it to the beach,” he said.
The previous state record was a 14.86-pound pink salmon caught in the Skykomish River in 2001. That fish currently holds the world record as determined by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), which also may put Stewart’s pink salmon in line for that title.
“I know Adam has been in touch with the IGFA,” said Keith Underwood, WDFW gamefish records coordinator.
While Stewart’s 15.4-pound fish claimed the state record for a pink salmon caught in freshwater, an 11.56-pound fish caught off Possession Point in 2001 still holds the state title for the largest pink salmon caught in saltwater.
Pink salmon, which generally weigh three to five pounds, are the smallest and most abundant of the Pacific salmon. Also known as “humpies,” most pink salmon return to Washington waters in odd-numbered years. Nearly 3.3 million pink salmon are expected to return to rivers and stream in the Puget Sound area this year.
Record pink salmon photos: