Published DateLACONIA — "'I knew it would be on the leader board, but I didn't know it was going to win,'' said 17-year-old Dakota Wright of his 3.7 pound, 22.5 inch long landlocked salmon, which won the 31st annual Winni Derby over the weekend.
Wright, a junior at Bishop Brady High School in Concord, was fishing with his dad, Mark, near Welch Island in Gilford bright and early Saturday morning (around 6:30 a.m.) when he felt the tell-tale tug on his line that told him he had hooked a good-sized fish.
After a 15-minute battle, he brought the salmon on board, and now all he has to do is pass a lie detector test to claim the $12,500 grand prize for the derby, which for the first-time ever is invoking a rule which requires the winning angler and the eyewitness to the submit to such a test.
Wright says that he isn't worried about the test, which derby officials say will take place later this week and was instituted due to concerns which surfaced on many fishing blogs that some winning fish in recent derbies weren't actually caught in Lake Winnipesaukee.
He said that he and his dad, who is a carpenter, have been fishing together in the Winni Derby for the last 10 years.
Mark Wright said that he was ''really proud'' that his son had won and said that he has always enjoyed fishing with Dakota, who skipped his high school prom in order to take part in the derby.
Dakota said that he plans to buy himself a new pickup truck and pay for the insurance on the truck with his prize money.
Wright wasn't the only winner over the weekend in the Derby, which is now run by the Laconia Rotary Club and handed out about $50,000 in cash and prizes over the weekend.
First prize winner in the lake trout division was Raymond Combs of West Halifax, Vt., who took home $5,000, while Christopher Gelinas, 11, of Loudon, won the junior salmon division and won a 14-foot motor boat with a trailer.
About 1,400 fishermen took part in this year's Derby according to Rotary Club President John Moriarity, who said that was an increase of about 150 over last year.
Derby Chairman DianeLaBrie said that fishing was slow on the first two days of the derby but picked up on Sunday when the weather turned cloudy.
Mark Wright of Laconia (left) hugs his son, Dakota, winner of the 2013 Winni Deby with a 3.7 pound salmon he landed Saturday near Welch Island on Lake Winnipesaukee. (Roger Amsden/ for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Laconia Rotary Club president Diane LaBrie congratulates Dakota Wright, 17, of Laconia, winner of the 2013 Winni Deby with a 3.7 pound salmon he landed Saturday near Welch Island on Lake Winnipesaukee. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)
Laconia Rotary Club president Diane LaBrie congratulates Junior Salmon Angler Division winner 11-year-old Christopher Gelinas of Loudon, who won a 14-foot Alumacraft boat and a trailer. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)