Story last updated at 4:13 p.m. Thursday, July 25, 2002

Sitka police investigate fish tale
In a twist on an old adage, a big fish caught last week in Sitka later became the one that got away.

A king salmon caught on commercial troll gear by Paul Olson on the F/V Valiant Hunter was stolen from Seafood Producers Co-op hours after it was weighed in and sold.

While investigators can only guess at the motivation behind the crime, it might have something to do with the fish's size.

Dressed out at 82 pounds, the fish was estimated to have weighed about 10 pounds more when it was caught, making it an enormous salmon for Southeast.

"This is the biggest fish that I've ever heard of being caught on commercial gear," said Pattie Skannes, an Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist.

After being weighed and photographed, the fish was placed in one of SPC's freezers until it could be mounted, said Plant Manager Craig Shoemaker.

But shortly after midnight the police received a call from a night worker at the plant saying he'd seen two men in hooded sweatshirts leaving the warehouse freezer area.

The fish was the only one missing.

"As far as where that rascal went, I can't tell," Shoemaker said.

Police said they will continue to investigate the incident by following up on any leads they receive about the fish.

-- The Daily Sitka Sentinel