ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Here's a handy back-to-school reminder for you kids:
Don't trust Wikipedia.
According to the online "encyclopedia," the world-record king salmon is no longer the 97-pound, 4-ounce chinook pulled from the Kenai River by Les Anderson in May 1985.
That record was surpassed in April of this year by a fisherman named Andrew Glasson, who landed a 102.5-pounder while fishing British Columbia's Skeena River.
At least that's what Wikipedia says in an unsourced portion of its entry on "Chinook salmon." Several other websites have since picked up the same information.
Like the Kenai, the Skeena is a well-known producer of monster kings. But a little research--using tools more reliable than Wikipedia--indicates that Anderson and the Kenai still reign as kings of the kings.
The International Game Fish Association in Florida, which keeps track of world sport-fishing records, said Thursday it hasn't received any reports of a record king catch. "For right now we haven't heard a peep," said conservation director Jason Schratwieser.
There's a 60-day time limit for reporting the majority of potential world records, but there is no time limit for the reporting of a potential all-tackle record like Anderson's, Schratwieser said. So maybe Andrew Gasson simply hasn't yet produced the necessary evidence--photos of his catch, an application form, a sample of the line used to make the catch.
Yet even if that's the case, surely folks who work and fish along the Skeena River would have heard about the mega-fish.
Noel Gyger, a 63-year-old guide who was born in northwest British Columbia and has been fishing and guiding on the rivers there for decades, hadn't heard about the alleged 102.5-pounder.
Neither had the folks at the Kalum River Lodge in Terrace, B.C. A guide at Nicolas Dean Lodge in Terrace said he had heard rumors of a big fish, but doubted their veracity.
"One thing I will say is that it would be HIGHLY unlikely that it was caught in April," guide Chad Black of the Nicolas Dean Lodge said in an e-mail. "There are some Chinook that migrate up the Skeena and into the Kalum watershed in April and May, but most of these fish are in the 15 to 40 lb range, with a 50 or 60 lb fish being a large one then.
"However, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if there was a fish that size caught on the mainstem Skeena or lower Kalum in July or early August, as there are some monster fish around then. I did actually hear a rumour about a fish that was 102 lbs, but I have not yet seen a photo of it or heard much evidence to support it."
Jack Erickson, sportfish research coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Anchorage, said he's unaware of such a catch. The Fish and Game office in Soldotna hasn't heard a word about a potential new record either, and you'd think news about a 102-pound king would reverberate on the Kenai Peninsula.
The year after Anderson's record catch, the Soldotna office was bombarded with phone calls when the Peninsula Clarion ran a story saying a 101-pound king had been caught on the Kenai River by a fisherman from Korea named Loo Flir Pa.
The story ran April 1. If that doesn't tell you what you need to know, read the fisherman's name backward.