Lenore Groundwater, 93, of Green Valley, Reels in Big One To Win Valdez Women's Silver Salmon Derby in Alaska

A 93-year-old great-grandma from Green Valley reeled in a 16.58-pound fish last Saturday to become queen for a day in Alaska's famed Valdez Silver Salmon Derby.

Lenore Groundwater beat out 797 other competitors to win the women's one-day Derby, and her catch may yet finish first in the overall Silver Salmon Derby, which ends September 4.

True, the fish wasn't anywhere near the size of the salmon shark caught in Alaska two years ago by Joe Pinto of Scottsdale, but Groundwater's victory also made headlines in the Great North, where fishing is serious business. And it's worth repeating that this awesome fisherchick is 93.

When asked in an interview posted on YouTube, see below, how she liked the attention, the frail-looking oldtimer replied, "It's probably not helping my high blood pressure."

She received $1,000 and a silver tiara for her win.

The Green Valley woman often travels to Alaska in the summer to visit her son, a pipeline worker. The whole family's big on the reel life: Groundwater's daughter-in-law, Paula, won the overall Valdez Silver Salmon Derby in 2006 by hooking an 18.42-pound fish.

Lenore Groundwater attributed her success to luck.

"That's the same thing about living so old," she was quoted as saying.

The filleted fish would be shipped to Arizona, presumably for the celebratory feast.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.