Ariel Adams and mother Chirstine Adams celebrate catching a coho salmon during the Ed Zeine Silver Salmon Kid’s Fishing Derby on Sept. 2, 2023. Photo by Matt Adams

Cordova’s kids enjoyed a clear day for the Ed Zeine Silver Salmon Kid’s Fishing Derby on Sept.  2. The annual derby encourages children ages 2-15 and their families to spend a day on the rivers and shores around Cordova hooking wild coho salmon.  

The Kid’s Fishing Derby was founded by local Cordovan Ed Zeine in 1979. Zeine first came to Cordova to work as the administrator for the hospital and after his retirement served as town mayor while also sitting on a variety of community boards. He passed away in April of 2019.  

Zeine created the Kid’s Fishing Derby to share his love of sport fishing with the younger generation. The original derby was a culmination of a passion project between Zeine and collaborator Tom Kohler.  

In partnership with Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC), the two created a terminal salmon fishery at Fleming Spit Pond. Eggs harvested from wild coho salmon were reared at Elmendorf Hatchery before being returned to Cordova and released near Fleming Spot Pond. The coho salmon that returned three years later helped launch the first year of the Kid’s Derby. Zeine and community volunteers helped continue to run the derby for 22 years. After a brief pause, the derby returned in 2019.  

This year the original event was planned for Aug. 26 but was delayed due to inclement weather. The rescheduled date last weekend — which ran from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. — allowed all derby-goers a more pleasant day of fishing with partly cloudy skies, no rain, and temperatures in the high 50s.  

Participants registered at the booth located in the shipyard where they were able to bring home a brightly colored t-shirt. After a day of fishing, kids and their guardians brought their catch to be weighed at the check-in station.  

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There were 105 children registered for the event and at the end of the day and a total of 41 fish were weighed in.  

Winners this year are: 

Ages 2-5 

  • 1st place – Brinley Troudt 10.4 lbs 
  • 2nd place – Zoey Renner 
  • 3rd place (tie) – Catriona Floret & Joshua Nichols 
  • Neil Schultz Fishing Buddy Award – Zachery Pena 

Ages 6-10 

  • 1st place – Lucas Renner 9.5 lbs 
  • 2nd place (tie) – Samuel Castellano & Levi Rubio 
  • 3rd place – Kaiah Troudt 
  • Neil Schultz Fishing Buddy Award – Maverick Kennedy 

Ages 11-15 

  • 1st place – Kyleen Hernaez 8.35 lbs 
  • 2nd place – Hazer Pena 
  • 3rd place – Kayden Johannesson 
  • Neil Schultz Fishing Buddy Award – Lillian Ervin 
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