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Introducing Soldotna

Soldotna, at the junction of the Sterling and Kenai Spur Hwys, would be just another ugly, overcommercialized roadside-service center, interchangeable with a zillion other American towns, save for one fact: a river runs through it, filled to bursting with the biggest salmon on the planet. Indeed, the world's largest sport-caught king salmon was reeled in right here - a 97.2lb behemoth, hooked by local resident Les Anderson in 1985. Biologists believe genetics and the fact that Kenai River salmon often spend an extra year at sea account for their gargantuan size. A trophy salmon elsewhere in Alaska is a 50lb fish, while here, anglers don't get too excited until a king salmon tops 75lbs. Most experts agree it's only a matter of time before the first 100lb king is landed. Until that day, and probably long after it, fast-growing Soldotna will be the most fish-crazy place in Alaska.