Lenore Groundwater, from Green Valley, Arizona, reeled in the a winning 16.5 pound silver salmon.
She won $1,000 plus other prizes including the silver tiara annually awarded to the winner of the popular just-for-women derby, now in its seventh year.
Everyone at the Valdez Civic Center was laughing, cheering and applauding at the awards ceremony when Groundwater was crowned queen of the derby on Saturday night.
Standing on the throne in front of nearly 500 people, emcee Laurie Prax of KVAK Radio interviewed her. Asked if she was enjoying the attention, she replied, “Well, it’s probably not helping my high blood pressure.”
Groundwater has plenty of fishing experience in Port Valdez. Her son, Lance Groundwater, has been an Alaskan since 1975. Lenore’s summertime visits always include a couple fishing trips aboard Lance’s boat Walrus.
Lenore said the winning fish is filleted and ready to be shipped to Arizona, and the $1,000 cash prize is headed for the piggy banks of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.