PUBLISHED: 4:24 PM on Tuesday, August 8, 2006
New Juneau resident claims prize with 30.8-pound king
60th Golden North Salmon Derby

  Derby Winner 8/6/2006 Ron Repplinger, 74, is the winner of this year's Golden North Salmon Derby with a king salmon of 30.8 pounds. He was fishing with his son-in-law, Carl Mielke, who also had a fish in the top ten.
Some Juneau residents spend years participating in the Golden North Salmon Derby only to come up without ever taking away a prize. Ron Repplinger moved to Juneau just a few weeks ago, and claimed the largest fish of the derby with a 30.8-pound king salmon.

"When I pulled it in I hadn't really thought about it," Repplinger said.

"When they said I was in first place, I was surprised because I didn't think it was that big."

Photo by Rosie Milligan
  Erik Dreisback weighs in a fish Saturday, Aug. 5, at Auke Bay for the 60th annual Golden North Salmon Derby. Ron Repplinger took first place in the derby with a 30.8-pound king salmon.
With the biggest catch of the derby, Repplinger won $15,000 from derby organizers Territorial Sportsmen Inc. and $1,265 in prizes.

"I just bought a house here last week, so I'll have plenty of places to put it," he said.

Fishing in the derby turned out to be a family affair with everyone in the boat taking a place in the derby. Repplinger's son-in-law and owner of the boat Carl Mielke took 10th place while Mielke's father Glen Mielke took 66th place and his son Dylan Mielke took 77th place.

"They got up early and fished hard. They'd earned their fish," said Mari Mielke, Repplinger's daughter and Carl Meilke's wife. "It's just incredible."

She said he decided to move to Juneau after his wife died this summer, and he has been fishing solid for the past few weeks.

"His world would revolve around fishing if it could," Mielke said. "He's been going out and fishing every day, and then we got him in the derby and he won. It's just like a dream."

Mal Linthwaite, a co-chair for the derby caught one of the 12 tagged fish, which is worth $1,000.

Prizes will be awarded Thursday at Centennial Hall.