Valdez Insider
 
Question ofthe Week
With this winter coming to a close, rank which winter was more memorable:
  Snowmageddon 2011-2012
  The Damalanche 2013-2014
 
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Fishing
VALDEZ HALIBUT & SILVER SALMON DERBIES END, ALASKANS DOMINATE
The silver salmon run was strong from the Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby through the end of the regular silver derby in Valdez. Anglers couldn’t seem to miss with silvers distributed throughout the Sound in large numbers. Fishing from shore at Allison Point was especially good the last weeks of the derby. Pat Olson fillets fish down at the Valdez Harbor and said there was no comparison between the number of fish he filleted in 2013 versus last year. “I only did 1,174 in the whole of last year, and for this year’s Women’s Derby I did a thousand fish. In the one day.”
 
After an exciting week in the Valdez Silver Derby, it was Michael Freerksen of Valdez who took home top honors and the $15,000 first place prize with the 16.92 pound silver he caught Friday aboard the Crista June. Catching his fish on Friday also netted Freerksen the top spot in the Big Prize Friday competition. Freerksen’s fish just edged out former leader Vernon Carlson of Fairbanks, who came in 2nd place and won $5,000 in the silver derby with the 16.72 pound fish he caught August 21st aboard the Tango. Stacey Mitchell, also of Valdez, took home $2,000 cash for 3rd place with the 16.58 pounder she caught aboard the Fog Ducker.
 
In the halibut derby, James Cully of Fairbanks took home $15,000 for the 325.0 pound flatfish he reeled up aboard the Dan Orion on July 21st. Jeff Johnson of North Pole hauled up a 208.6 pounder aboard the Center Shot on June 29th, netting him the $5,000 second place prize, and Beth Reagin of Fairbanks reeled in the $2,000 for third place after pulling up a 178.8 pounder aboard the Halibut Grove on July 25th.
 
The drawing for the 2013 Gem Green Ford F-150 4x4 truck was held at the Elks Lodge Sunday evening during the awards ceremony. Everyone who purchased a derby ticket had a chance to win the truck, but when the ticket was drawn, it was Lesley Rogers of Valdez who drove home the prize.
 
The $500 cash prize for the charter captain taking out the winning halibut angler went to Dave Wiley of the Dan Orion. Wiley also won the $500 prize for selling the ticket to James Culley. Michael Freerksen drove his own boat on Friday, so he won $500 for being the winning captain August 30th. Adam MacDonald of the Prospector won the $500 ticket-seller prize for selling the winning ticket to Freerksen. Next year’s dates, as well as pictures and information about the 2013 winners, can be found at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
 
Halibut Derby – Overall Winners
1st        James Culley               Fairbanks, AK             325.0 lbs.         July 21             Dan Orion
2nd        Jeff Johnson                North Pole, AK           208.6 lbs.         June 29            Center Shot (Private)
3rd        Beth Reagin                Fairbanks, AK             178.8 lbs.         July 25             Halibut Grove
 
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #15
1st        Gordon Taras              Alameda, CA              163.0 lbs.         August 27       Dan Orion
2nd        Sandra Farley              Oxnard, CA                111.6 lbs.         August 30       Dan Orion
 
Silver Derby – Overall Winners
1st        Michael Freerksen       Valdez, AK                 16.92 lbs.         August 30       Crista June
2nd        C. Vernon Carlson      Fairbanks, AK             16.72 lbs.         August 21       Tango
3rd        Stacey Mitchell           Valdez, AK                 16.58 lbs.         August 26       Fog Ducker
SILVER SALMON ABUNDANT FROM JACK BAY ALL THE WAY TO PORT VALDEZ
When you talk with anglers in Valdez these days, they’re more than happy to tell you where they are finding fish. They’re everywhere. Anglers are making their way out to Jack Bay, Sawmill Bay, fishing the Narrows and the shoreline all the way to the City Dock in Valdez and catching them so fast most boats have their limit by early afternoon. Anglers fishing from shore at Allison Point are also picking up silver salmon so the fishing from shore should be hot and heavy toward the end of the silver derby Sunday, September 1st. “There are fish at Jack Bay, Sawmill Bay, the Narrows, Gold Creek, the City Dock and even Allison Point,” commented Joe Prax of Prospector Outfitters. “That means the run isn’t over. There are still lots of fish coming.”

C. Vernon Carlson of Fairbanks, AK caught a 16.72 pound silver salmon on Wednesday aboard the Tango to take the lead in the Silver Salmon Derby. Carrie Little John of Fairbanks dropped down to 2nd place with the 16.18 pound fish she caught August 9th aboard the Lil’ Vixen and Paul J. Lucio of Wasilla is holding onto 3rd place with the 16.10 pound silver he caught August 9th.
This Friday, anglers will have a chance to win an additional $500 during Big Prize Friday. The person who buys a derby ticket and brings in the bigger silver salmon Friday will win $500 in cash in addition to the daily prizes.  The Valdez Halibut and Silver Salmon Derbies end Sunday, September 1st at noon. The raffle for the Ford F-150 Truck will be held that day after the close of the derby. Everyone who purchased a Valdez derby ticket will be entered in that drawing.


In the Valdez Halibut Derby, James Culley is still in line to win the $15,000 first place prize with the 325 pound halibut he caught July 21st aboard the Dan Orion. Jeff Johnson of North Pole is currently in 2nd place overall with a 208.6 pounder, and Beth Reagin of Fairbanks is holding onto third place with a 178.8 pound halibut she caught July 25th aboard the Halibut Grove.

The weekly winners in the halibut derby were Dale Kuly of Whitehorse, Yukon, with the 116.4 lb. pound halibut he caught aboard a private boat August 21st and Josh Hughes of Gakona with a 110.6 pounder caught aboard the Jaime Lynn.
Information, pictures and standings for the Silver Salmon Derby and Halibut Derby can be found on the www.valdezfishderbies.com  website.
 
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        James Culley               Fairbanks, AK             325.0 lbs.         July 21             Dan Orion
2nd        Jeff Johnson                North Pole, AK           208.6 lbs.         June 29            Center Shot (Private)
3rd            Beth Reagin                Fairbanks, AK             178.8 lbs.         July 25             Halibut Grove

Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #13
1st        Dale Kuly                    Whitehorse, YT           116.4 lbs.         August 21       Private
2nd        Josh Hughes                Gakona, AK                110.6 lbs.         August 24       Jaime Lynn
 
Silver Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        C. Vernon Carlson      Fairbanks, AK             16.72 lbs.         Aug 21st          Tango
2nd        Carrie Little John        Fairbanks, AK             16.18 lbs.         Aug 9th           Lil’ Vixen
3rd        Paul J. Lucio               Wasilla, AK                16.10 lbs.         Aug 9th                        Private

 

TOP 3 SILVERS ALL WEIGH IN AT SIXTEEN PLUS POUNDS
Carrie Little John of Fairbanks is still leading the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby despite the fact that hundreds of fish are being weighed in for a chance to get on the leader board. The daily 1st and 2nd place winners in the Silver Salmon Derby have been in the 14 and 15 pound range, but no one has broken the 17 pound mark. It has been more than 20 years since a fish in the 16 pound range took home top honors in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby. With anglers bringing in their limit of silvers, there is still plenty of time for a bigger fish to hit the scales. The Valdez Halibut Derby and Silver Salmon Derby end Sunday, September 1st at noon.
In the Valdez Halibut Derby, James Culley is still in line to win the $15,000 first place prize with the 325 pound halibut he caught July 21st aboard the Dan Orion. Jeff Johnson of North Pole is currently in 2nd place overall and Beth Reagin of Fairbanks is holding onto third place with a 178.8 pound halibut she caught July 25th aboard the Halibut Grove. Bigger fish have been caught according to the Fish Derbies Weigh-In station, but the anglers did not have a derby ticket. According to Bonnie Woods, the anglers without tickets did not have their halibut weighed officially, but took length measurements that placed their fish weights at 234 and 265 pounds.  

The weekly winners in the halibut derby were Tom Swafford of Fairbanks with the 169 pound halibut he caught aboard the Magic Dragon and Dave Wiley’s 161.4 pounder caught aboard the Dan Orion.
Silver Salmon are thick in the narrows by Middle Rock and are available all the way into Port Valdez. Anglers are trolling with down riggers and cut herring all along the shoreline and a few silver salmon have been picked up at Allison Point. Rockfish angling has been quite productive with small jigs near rocky reefs according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game. It has been a great year for Lingcod fishing in Prince William Sound. Anglers are still catching large lingcod near Montague. Large jigs fished 10 feet off the bottom near and on top of steep rocky ridges and reefs work quite well for lingcod.
The Valdez Fish Derbies will have the final Big Prize Friday August 30th and the angler catching the largest silver salmon will take home $500 in addition to the daily prizes. The raffle for the Ford F-150 Truck will be held Sunday, September 1st after the close of the derby. Everyone who has purchased a Valdez derby ticket will be entered in that drawing.
Information, pictures and standings for the Silver Salmon Derby and Halibut Derby can be found on the www.valdezfishderbies.com  website.
 
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        James Culley               Fairbanks, AK             325.0 lbs.         July 21             Dan Orion
2nd        Jeff Johnson                North Pole, AK           208.6 lbs.         June 29            Center Shot (Private)
3rd            Beth Reagin                Fairbanks, AK             178.8 lbs.         July 25             Halibut Grove


Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #13
1st        Tom Swafford                        Fairbanks, AK             169.0 lbs.         August 17       Magic Dragon
2nd        Dave Wiley                 Valdez, AK                 161.4 lbs.         August 15       Dan Orion
Silver Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        Carrie Little John        Fairbanks, AK             16.18 lbs.         Aug 9th           Lil’ Vixen
2nd        Paul J. Lucio               Wasilla, AK                16.10 lbs.         Aug 9th                        Private
3rd        Charles Flint                Fairbanks, AK             16.02 lbs.         Aug 15th          Private
 


 

YEAR NINE OF VALDEZ WOMEN’S SILVER SALMON DERBY BRINGS FAMILIES AND FRIENDS TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE

 In 2011, it was Lenore Groundwater who stole the spotlight at the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby. The spry 93-year-old Groundwater from Green Valley, Arizona went fishing with her son Lance and daughter-in-law Paula two years ago for the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby and reeled in a 16.58 pound silver that took top honors and made her Queen of the Silver Salmon Sisterhood. When asked her age on stage at the Civic Center two years ago, Groundwater quipped, “I’m 39 backward.”
Groundwater stole the stage at the Civic Center in front of hundreds of women. A video of her being crowned and interviewed at the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby was picked up by Alaska news media and shared countless times through FaceBook by anglers and on pages like GoFishN that have a quarter million likes. Stories of Groundwater surfaced in the Phoenix New Times, Anchorage Daily News, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and various news outlets.
Valdez Fish Derbies organizers paid tribute to the Queens of the Silver Salmon Sisterhood from 2005 through 2012 before crowning Regina Blood this year’s winner with a 15.68 pound silver. When emcee Laurie Prax announced 2011 Queen Lenore Groundwater, many in the crowd stood in tribute. One of those was Groundwater’s daughter-in-law Paula. Prax told the crowd that Lenore was the “most gracious and classy queen of them all.” She told the audience how Lenore had written a beautiful thank you letter to the volunteers of the Valdez Fish Derbies organization and how she had gone to the Totem Inn for breakfast the Sunday following the Women’s Derby wearing her tiara and soaking in the notoriety that being the queen in the small town of Valdez brings. Paula Groundwater stood and cried amidst a sea of Alaskan women as Prax told the crowd that Lenore Groundwater passed away the previous year and was buried wearing her Valdez Women’s Derby tiara.

Lenore’s son Lance, who was captain of the boat when she caught the derby-winning fish, called Prax a few days before the Women’s Derby and said his wife would be bringing in a big one and would hopefully become queen. Paula did not catch a big enough fish to become the Queen this year, but she did place 5th out of the 700+ women who entered.

When Paula came up to the stage to receive her prize for catching the 5th largest fish in this year’s Women’s Silver Salmon Derby, she asked if she could have a moment to address the crowd. She told the crowd that Shannon Major had brought flowers on the boat as a tribute to Lenore this year. “We tossed them out for my mother-in-law Lenore,” Paula said. “Immediately after we tossed out the roses, we got a triple. All three of us had a fish on and that was Lenore talking to us. I told her, ‘You know, I would like a big fish …and she delivered’.” The crowd responded with thunderous applause and the Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby became much more than a contest about catching fish. It became a beautiful memory, just like Lenore.

CLICK HERE to see video of Paula’s tribute

CLICK HERE to see video of Lenore Groundwater being crowned in 2011

 

FIVE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN FISH WEIGHED IN FOR
VALDEZ WOMEN’S SILVER SALMON DERBY SATURDAY

 “Soaked to the bone and covered in silver slime, it was an awesome day” is what Corrie Kossow Garrison posted on the Valdez Fish Derbies Facebook page the day after fishing in the 2013 Women’s Silver Salmon Derby. Last year the silver salmon were few and far between but the sun was shining. This Saturday the rain never stopped for the 9th Annual Women’s Silver Salmon Derby, but the fishing was tremendous.
Just over 700 women joined the ranks of the Silver Salmon Sisterhood on Saturday and five hundred and eleven women weighed in their top fish to see if they were in contention for one of the Top 50 prizes. At the end of the day, Regina Blood of Valdez took home the title of Queen of the Silver Salmon Sisterhood with the 15.68 pound silver she reeled in while fishing with friends. Sitting upon the throne set at center  stage at the Valdez Civic Center, decked out her in pink Women’s Derby bathrobe and tiara, Blood remarked, “This tiara and robe go pretty well with my Xtra Tuffs.” While Blood was willing to comment on fashion, she wasn’t telling the crowd where she caught the big one. “A lady doesn’t give up her secrets.”

When asked when she knew her fish was a big one, Blood responded, “Honestly, not until it broke the surface of the water. We really didn’t know that I was even pulling in a fish until it got really close. Then we realized it was a really big one.” When asked if it was a fighter, Blood responded, “ It was big, fat and didn’t have any energy.” sSounds like the Queen’s fish didn’t have plans, but Blood said her plans included smoking the big winner.
Jamie Arciniega of Valdez reeled in a 14.96 pound fish that gave her a big fight to take 2nd place in the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby and Denise Carter of Fairbanks took 3rd place with a 14.92 pound silver salmon. Blood took home $1,000 in merchandise and an additional $1,000 gift card from Prospector for her efforts. Her fish was just ounces shy of making it into the Top 3 overall standings. On Friday, Carrie Little John of Fairbanks took the lead in the overall derby with a 16.18 pounder. Paul J. Lucio of Wasilla is currently in 2nd place with a 16.10 pound silver, and Brenda Reichenberg of Fairbanks is currently in 3rd place with the 15.80 pound silver she caught Friday. Both Little John and Reichenberg were fishing aboard the Lil’ Vixen.
The standings in the Valdez Halibut Derby remain the same with James Cully leading the way with the 325 pound halibut he caught July 21st aboard the Dan Orion. Jeff Johnson of North Pole is currently in 2nd place with the 208.6 pound halibut he caught June 29th aboard the Center Shot and Beth Reagin of Fairbanks is currently in 3rd place with the 178.8 pounder she caught July 29th aboard the Halibut Grove.
Information, pictures and standings for the Women’s Derby, Silver Salmon Derby and Halibut Derby, can be found on the www.valdezfishderbies.com  website.
 
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        James Culley               Fairbanks, AK             325.0 lbs.         July 21             Dan Orion
2nd        Jeff Johnson                North Pole, AK           208.6 lbs.         June 29            Center Shot (Private)
3rd            Beth Reagin                Fairbanks, AK             178.8 lbs.         July 25             Halibut Grove
 
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #12
1st        Brian Anderson           Milwaukie, OR           124.8 lbs.         August 11       Dan Orion
2nd        No 2nd Place
Silver Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        Carrie Little John        Fairbanks, AK             16.18 lbs.         Aug 9th           Lil’ Vixen
2nd        Paul J. Lucio               Wasilla, AK                16.10 lbs.         Aug 9th                        Private
3rd        Brenda Reichenberg   Fairbanks, AK             15.80 lbs.         Aug 9th            Lil’ Vixen
Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby
Saturday, August 10th
Top 50

 
1 Regina Blood Valdez AK 15.68
2 Jamie Arciniega Valdez AK 14.96
3 Denise Carter Fairbanks AK 14.92
4 Susan Clifton Fairbanks AK 14.28
5 Paula Groundwater Wasilla AK 14.22
6 Evelyn Eames Anchorage AK 14.06
7 Barb Amundsen Valdez AK 13.92
8 Shannon Keithley Valdez AK 13.92
9 Marcia Cassino North Pole AK 13.88
10 Cynthia Unger Valdez AK 13.84
11 Whitney Turner Anchorage AK 13.82
12 Rowan Miller Valdez AK 13.74
13 Janice Vanderheiden Fairbanks AK 13.58
14 Wanda Lindsoe North Pole AK 13.56
15 Julie Queen Fairbanks AK 13.54
16 Nevada Rae Walton Fairbanks AK 13.40
17 Lori Day Valdez AK 13.38
18 Cori Cunningham Wasilla AK 13.30
19 Margaret Benzo Valdez AK 13.22
20 Bonnie Hinkle Salcha AK 13.20
21 Judy Winney Green Bay WI 13.20
22 Laurie Prax Valdez AK 13.16
23 Barbara Laweth North Pole AK 13.16
24 Kaidern Meyers Cottonwood AZ 13.06
25 Joanie Olson Bigfork MN 13.00
26 Stephanie Robinson Anchorage AK 12.98
27 Terri Trudeau Wasilla AK 12.98
28 Doreen Straight Fairbanks AK 12.94
29 Jennifer Liepa Anchorage AK 12.92
30 Melissa Meyers Cottonwood AZ 12.88
31 Sonya Simon Tok AK 12.76
32 Viola Amberg Fairbanks AK 12.76
33 Cortni Yorba-Moore Cottonwood AZ 12.74
34 Amanda Hatton Valdez AK 12.74
35 Laura Jolicoeur Valdez AK 12.74
36 Hanna Rowe Valdez AK 12.72
37 Bonnie Cavanaugh Wasilla AK 12.70
38 Emily Vincent Eagle River AK 12.70
39 Betty McIntosh Valdez AK 12.68
40 June Smith Fairbanks AK 12.66
41 Dezi Wiley Valdez AK 12.64
42 Brandy Putnam North Pole AK 12.62
43 Clover Tiffany Ester AK 12.60
44 Ashley Wiley Valdez AK 12.60
45 Bonnie Woods Valdez AK 12.60
46 Cassandra Pinkel Fairbanks AK 12.60
47 Denette Buehler Valdez AK 12.60
48 Christina Passard Palmer AK 12.58
49 Marilou Woteriman North Pole AK 12.58
50 Bonnie Ganatta North Pole AK
WOMEN’S DERBY APPROACHING, SILVERS ARE IN
 The silver salmon have returned to Valdez! Last year’s silver haul was disappointing at best, but this season is already looking up. Fish cleaner Pat Olson is down at the docks most days in the summer. When asked about the silver fishing for this year, Olson replied, “(It’s) a lot better; it sucked last year.” He went on to say that last year he cleaned 1,174 fish for the entire month of August, but that he’s already surpassed that number for this year. When asked where silvers are being caught, he said, “I hear they’re in the Narrows, I hear they’re in Galena, I hear they’re at Gold Creek, Anderson Bay, Shoup Bay.” He predicted Shoup Bay to be the best bet for women hoping to catch some nice silvers during the Women’s Derby this coming Saturday.
 
Donovan, another fish cutter who’s a regular down on the docks, added, “Right now, the trolling is doing really good, but if you’re not catching them that way try mooching and try a little B2 squid jig. It works real well. They’re definitely hitting real good; all the charter boats I cut for have been coming back with full limits.”
The Silver Derby standings are changing regularly. Michael Weiss of Ione, WA remains in first place on the leaderboard with a 15.50 pounder he caught July 25th. Diane Murphy of Texhoma, OK reeled in a 14.74 pound silver August 4th aboard the Tango, and Leslie Yamamoto of Fairbanks has dropped down to third place with her 14.70 pounder she caught August 3rd aboard On the Fly.
Silvers are being caught within Port Valdez as well as the Narrows and Arm, and they’re getting closer to town every day. Last year, Californian Renee Canavan won the Women’s Derby and was crowned Queen of the Silver Salmon Sisterhood when she reeled in a 15.22 pound silver. Registration is currently underway for the Women’s Derby which includes an opening ceremony Friday night and a closing on Saturday. The theme this year is Alaskan Woman and there will be a costume contest Friday. Live music is planned for Saturday and derby organizers are expecting another exciting year. CLICK HERE to visit the Women’s Derby registration page at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
The standings remain the same in the Valdez Halibut Derby, with James Culley of Fairbanks in the lead with a 325 pound halibut caught July 21st.
 
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        James Culley               Fairbanks, AK             325.0 lbs.         July 21             Dan Orion
2nd        Jeff Johnson                North Pole, AK           208.6 lbs.         June 29            Center Shot (Private)
3rd            Beth Reagin                Fairbanks, AK             178.8 lbs.         July 25             Halibut Grove
 
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #11
1st        DL Morrison               Gainville, TX              164.8 lbs.         July 29             Private
2nd        Orlin Rohde                Eielson AFB               114.4 lbs.         July 28             Dawn Treader
 
Silver Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        Michael Weiss             Ione, WA                    15.5 lbs.           July 25             Go Get Her
2nd        Diane Murphy             Texhoma, OK             14.74 lbs.         August 4         Tango
3rd        Leslie Yamamoto        Fairbanks, AK             14.70 lbs.         August 3         On The Fly
For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com


 

WOMEN’S DERBY IS COMING AUGUST 10th
The Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is coming up on August 10th. This year’s theme is Alaskan Woman. Women’s Derby events are ONLY open to women with a 2013 Women’s Derby dog tag; unfortunately, admittance to these events is not guaranteed due to space constraints. Women’s Derby registration costs $50, plus a daily Silver Salmon Derby ticket ($10). CLICK HERE for more information about the Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby!
SILVERS ARE IN, BIG PRIZE FRIDAY WON BY LAVONNE KENNEDY

VALDEZ, Alaska – The silver salmon have returned to Valdez and on Big Prize Friday, 23 anglers weighed in a silver hoping to win the $500 cash prize and another $508 in prizes for the largest fish of the day. Lavonne Kennedy of Valdez reeled in the winning fish, a 13.34 pound silver aboard the Lady Lavonne. Steve Geraghty of Fairbanks landed a 13.18 pound silver to take the 2nd place daily prize. Geraghty went fishing with Captain Dave Rental and when the captain asked for their fishing licenses, another passenger asked if they had derby tickets. The passenger explained that it was Big Prize Friday and also that they could win $15,000 for the biggest silver in the derby and possibly win a truck just for buying a ticket. After hearing about the prizes, Geraghty asked Captain Dave if he had time to run and get a derby ticket. Steve raced and purchased tickets for himself and his wife. The daily ticket was $10. His 2nd place prize netted him $275 worth of prizes. According to Derby Weigh-In coordinator Bonnie Woods, anglers are catching their limit of silvers and the fishing is awesome. She said she has also seen a nice king salmon caught in the Sound.

While silver fishing has definitely heated up, another leader snuck into the standings in the halibut derby. Beth Reagin of Fairbanks brought in a 178.8 pound halibut aboard Halibut Grove to take the 2nd place weekly prize and 3rd place in the overall standings. Reagin’s fish was 73 inches long. James Culley of Fairbanks won the 1st place weekly prize and holds top honors on the leader board with the 325.0 pound halibut he caught last Sunday aboard the Dan Orion. Jeff Johnson of North Pole is holding onto the 2nd place spot with the 208.6 pounder he caught back in late June. Nice ling cod are being brought back to Port Valdez. Patricia Smillie of Whitehorse brought in a 65.5 pound ling cod on July 27th.
The Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby should bring in some bigger fish, and a lot of lady anglers. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday, August 9th and a closing awards ceremony on Saturday, August 10th. The theme of this year’s Women’s Derby is “Alaskan Woman” and there will be a costume contest Friday. Live music is planned for Saturday and derby organizers are expecting another exciting year. CLICK HERE to visit the Women’s Derby registration page at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
 
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        James Culley               Fairbanks, AK             325.0 lbs.         July 21             Dan Orion
2nd        Jeff Johnson                North Pole, AK           208.6 lbs.         June 29            Center Shot (Private)
3rd            Beth Reagin                Fairbanks, AK             178.8 lbs.         July 25             Halibut Grove
 
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #10
1st        James Cully                 Fairbanks, AK             325.0 lbs.         July 21             Dan Orion
2nd        Beth Reagin                Fairbanks, AK             178.8 lbs.         July 25             Dawn Treader
 
Silver Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        Michael Weiss             Ione, WA                    15.5 lbs.           July 25             Go Get Her
2nd        Jonathan Klauke         Holmen, WI                14.50 lbs.         July 27             Swifty 5
3rd        Lavonne Kennedy      Valdez, AK                 13.34 lbs.         July 26             Lady Lavonne
For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com

JIM CULLEY CATCHES 325 POUND HALIBUT


CULLEY CATCHES 325 POUND HALIBUT TO TAKE LEAD IN VALDEZ DERBY
VALDEZ, Alaska – Nearly 300 kids converged on Valdez for the 6th Annual Kids Pink Salmon Derby on Saturday and the largest fish brought in was a 5.38 pound pink caught by Kyle Eames of Anchorage.  

While the kids were slaying the pink salmon Saturday, halibut fishing in Valdez hit a high point on Sunday when Jim Culley of Fairbanks brought in a 325 pound halibut. Culley said he has been halibut fishing several times, but the largest he had ever caught was a 60 pounder. “Today I caught an 80 pounder, then a 325.” Culley was fishing out by Hinchinbrook Lighthouse and gave credit to Captain Dave Wiley for putting him on the fish. “There’s no secret, just hang on and grind,” he said. Culley had caught several small halibut in Valdez but said he could tell the difference between the small ones he had pulled in and the mammoth fish he pulled in Sunday. “You can definitely tell the difference,” Culley said. “The whole way they run. The way they pull, the way they feel.”

There is still a lot of time to fish between now and the end of the halibut derby September 2nd. When asked about his chances, Culley responded “It’s a nice fish, but you never know. I mean, there are big fish out there. The record here is 400 out of Dutch harbor. No reason it can’t happen here. It’s the same ocean.” When asked what he would do if his halibut hung on to win the $15,000 grand prize in the Valdez Halibut Derby, Culley replied “I haven’t thought that far. I’m going to have to ask my wife.”

The silver salmon derby started Saturday, and among the string of pink salmon caught by anglers young and old were bright silver salmon. Michael Freerksen of Valdez won the 1st place daily prize on the first day of the derby with a 12.12 pound silver he caught aboard a private boat. Freerksen is currently in the lead for the overall derby. Crista Anderson of Valdez won the 2nd place daily prize with a 8.02 pound silver she caught on Saturday.

On July 15th, Julie White of Wasilla broke into the halibut derby standings when she caught a 169.4 pound halibut aboard the Dan Orion. White is currently in 3rd place overall behind Jeff Johnson of North Pole who caught a 208.6 pound halibut back on June 29th. Laurie Deakin of Arizona was knocked off the board entirely when Jim Culley caught his 325 pounder.

Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        Jim Culley                   Fairbanks, AK             325.0 lbs.     July 21      Dan Orion
2nd        Jeff Johnson             North Pole, AK            208.6 lbs.     June 29    Center Shot (Pvt)
3rd        Julie White                  Wasilla, AK                169.4 lbs.      July 15       Dan Orion
 
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #9
1st        Julie White                  Wasilla, AK                169.4 lbs.     July 15       Dan Orion
2nd        Victoria Stockton       Fairbanks, AK            127.8 lbs.     July 18       Dawn Treader
 
Silver Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        Michael Freerksen       Valdez, AK                 12.12 lbs.   July 20       Private
2nd        Raj Balasundaram       Los Angeles, CA        9.08 lbs.    July 21       Martie Kay
3rd        Natalia Wingert           Los Angeles, CA        8.84 lbs.      uly 21         Martie Kay
 
For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com

KIDS DERBY WINNERS


Jace Branshaw - 1st Place winner in 5-7 age division with 5.10 pound pink

KYLE EAMES WINS TOP HONOR IN VALDEZ KIDS PINK SALMON DERBY

VALDEZ, Alaska – Nearly 300 kids converged on Valdez for the 6th Annual Kids Pink Salmon Derby. More fish were weighed in this year than last but the fish were not as big as the large pinks brought in during the 2012 derby. To get in the Top 10 for Pink Salmon ever caught in the Kids Derby, the fish would have to weigh at least 6.91 pounds. This year’s top fish tipped the scales at 5.38 pounds.

Kyle Eames of Anchorage brought in the 5.38 pound pink salmon to take top honors and win the 1st place prize in the 11 to 13 age division. Jace Branshaw of Valdez won the 5 to 7 year age division with a 5.1 pound pink. Penelope Porres of Palmer took top honors in the 8 to 10 year age division and Jeni Wolter of Fairbanks garnered 1st place in the 14 to 16 age division with a 4.94 pound pink salmon. All the 1st place winners took home a Longboard skateboard from Bahama Hawks. The 2nd place winners got a skateboard from Bahama Hawks and the 3rd place winners took home a fishing pole from the Prospector.
 
Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby – 2013 Winners

5 to 7 Age Division
1st        Jace Branshaw                       Valdez, AK                 5.1 lbs.
2nd        Warren Davis                          Wasilla, AK                3.8 lbs.
3rd        Will Crater                                Valdez, AK                 3.8 lbs.

8 to 10 Age Division
1st        Penelope Porres                       Palmer, AK                 5.0 lbs.
2nd        Bryce Sowin                           Wasilla, AK                4.14 lbs.
3rd        Evan Brown                            Eielson AFB, AK         3.96 lbs.
 
11 to 13 Age Division
1st        Kyle Eames                             Anchorage, AK           5.38 lbs.
2nd        Jordyn Redd                           Fairbanks, AK             4.76 lbs.
3rd        Kalynn Pina                            Los Angeles, CA          4.3 lbs.
 
14 to 16 Age Division
1st        Jeni Wolter                              Fairbanks, .AK            4.94 lbs.
2nd        Christian Williams                   Anchorage, AK           4.86 lbs.
3rd        Steven Cordes                         Palmer, AK                 4.8 lbs.
For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com
HALIBUT, LINGCOD, YELLOW EYE ROCKFISH, AND PINKS ARE IN
VALDEZ KIDS PINK SALMON DERBY IS THIS SATURDAY, SILVER DERBY STARTS SATURDAY
 Halibut fishing has been good in Valdez, but anglers are thrilled with the trophy size lingcod and bottom fish they have been pulling in. The Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in station took pictures of Austin and Mark with their 59.6 pound and 61.8 pound trophy lingcod. Their friend Gina caught a 22.6 pound yellow eye on the same trip. While we don’t have record of their last name or where they are from, we do have proof they caught the big one. Jeff Johnson of North Pole is still leading the Valdez Halibut Derby with the 208.6 pound fish he caught June 29th, Laurie Deakin is currently in 2nd place with the 158 pound halibut she caught May 26th and Randy Clendaniel broke into the standings at 3rd place with the 154 pound halibut he caught July 10th.
Place    Name  Age  Year  Weight  City  State 
1   Theron Lee  2012  14-16 yrs  7.92 lbs.  Winfield  AL 
2   Janaea Koch  2010  8-10 yrs  7.78 lbs.  Valdez AK
3   Janissa Arzie  2010  14-16 yrs  7.60 lbs.  Chugiak  AK
4   Kailey Fowlkes  2012  11-13 yrs  7.53 lbs.  North Pole  AK 
5   Jonathan Dupee  2012  5-7 yrs  7.46 lbs.  Fairbanks  AK 
6   Riley King  2012  8-10 yrs  7.36 lbs.  Valdez  AK 
7   Brynn Illingworth  2012  8-10 yrs  7.32 lbs.  North Pole  AK 
8   Clayton Hill  2012  8-10 yrs  7.00 lbs.  Palmer  AK 
9   Canyon McAllister  2010  11-13 yrs  6.92 lbs.  Valdez  AK 
10   Megan Chase  2012  11-13 yrs  6.91 lbs.  Valdez AK 

The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is this Saturday, July 20th. There is no registration for this free event that's open to kids age 5 to 16, but kids will need to weigh in their fish at the derby weigh-in station by 5pm to be eligible for prizes.
There are four age divisions, each with a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prize. Last year the pinks were huge, knocking all but three fish off overall biggest fish in the Kids Derby list. Theron Lee of Winfield, Alabama took top honors last year and caught the biggest pink ever in the Kids Pink Salmon Derby, a 7.92 pound salmon.
To participate, kids simply need to go fishing and weigh in their fish at the Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in station located right next to the Harbormaster's Office at the Valdez Harbor. The weigh-in station will be open from 10am to 5pm. The deadline to weigh in fish is 5pm. Participants and their family and friends are invited to a free barbeque at Dock Point immediately following the closing of the weigh in station. There are t-shirts available to kids who fish in the derby at the weigh-in station while supplies last. The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby starts this Saturday.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        Jeff Johnson                North Pole, AK           208.6 lbs.         June 29            Center Shot (Private Boat)
2nd        Laurie Deakin             Litchfield Park, AZ    158.0 lbs.         May 26            Dan Orion
3rd        Randy Clendaniel       North Pole, AK           154.0 lbs.         July 10             Sea Quester
 
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #6
1st        Randy Clendaniel       North Pole, AK           154.0 lbs.         July 10             Sea Quester
2nd        Isaiah Ahnee               Kaneohe, HI               126.6 lbs.         July 8               Lady Luck
For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com


 

MICHIGAN MAN BREAKS INTO HALIBUT STANDINGS, THE PINKS ARE IN
VALDEZ, Alaska – Two out of state anglers hit the record books during the 4th of July weekend, winning the 1st and 2nd place weekly prizes in the Valdez halibut derby. Richard Hanson of Haslett, Michigan reeled in a 145.6 pound halibut aboard the Dawn Treader to win himself a Valdez Fish Derbies winner jacket and t-shirt, a night’s stay at Eagle’s Rest cabins and a fishing charter from Aurora Charters. Joseph Adamy of Roslyn, Washington won the 2nd place weekly prize in the halibut derby with a 126 pound halibut he caught July 1st aboard the Bold Eagle. Adamy took home a prize package that included a Valdez Fish Derbies winners vest and t-shirt as well as certificates from four Valdez Fish Derbies sponsors. Prizes for each week of the derby can be found at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
In addition to winning the weekly first place prize, Hanson’s 145.6 pound halibut is also in 3rd place in the overall standings for the halibut derby behind Laurie Deakin’s 158 pound halibut and the leading 208.6 pound fish caught by Jeff Johnson of North Pole.
According the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, halibut angling has been good to excellent in most areas throughout the Sound. Anglers have been consistently limiting out on small-medium fish by heading to the southern regions of the sound between Knight, LaTouche, and Montague. Lingcod fishing opened last week and many anglers reported good catches throughout the Sound. Large jigs fished 10 feet off the bottom near and on top of steep rocky ridges and reefs work quite well for lingcod. Some hatchery king salmon have been seen near the Old Town site in Valdez.
Pink salmon should be trickling into the Allison Point vicinity. Look for this fishery to ramp up over the next few weeks.
 
The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is set for Saturday, July 20th. The Kids Derby is open to children age 5 to 16 and there is no fee to enter. Kids just need to weigh-in a pink salmon at the Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in station Saturday, July 20th to get a t-shirt and have a chance of winning one of the top three spots in their age division. A free family barbeque and awards will follow the day of fishing. The first 300 kids to stop by the weigh-in will get a free t-shirt courtesy of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and the Valdez Fish Derbies. The Silver Salmon Derby will start July 20th and the Women’s Derby is August 9th and 10th.
 

Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        Jeff Johnson                North Pole, AK           208.6 lbs.         June 29            Center Shot (Private Boat)
2nd        Laurie Deakin             Litchfield Park, AZ    158.0 lbs.         May 26            Dan Orion
3rd        Richard Hanson          Haslett, MI                  145.6 lbs.         July 3               Dawn Treader
 
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #6
1st        Richard Hanson          Haslett, MI                  145.6 lbs.         July 3               Dawn Treader
2nd        Joseph Adamy                        Roslyn, WA                126.0 lbs.         July 1               Bold Eagle
For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com
NORTH POLE MAN TAKES LEADS IN DERBY WITH 208.6 POUND HALIBUT

The Valdez Halibut Derby has a new forerunner on the leaderboard. Jeff Johnson of North Pole reeled in a 208.6 pound halibut June 29th aboard the Center Shot, placing him firmly in the lead of the Derby. Johnson said he woke up from a nap and took his turn on the pole when a large fish struck the line. “When I got him to the top the Captain tried to harpoon him, he flexed and snapped the pole but luckily the fish had the harpoon in it so we didn’t lose it.” Johnson said he was happy he had purchased a derby ticket and hoped he would stay on the leader board. His fish landed him the weekly 1st prize in the derby and is currently in 1st place overall. 
Laurie Deakin’s 158 pound halibut was knocked down to 2nd place on the board and there’s a new 3rd place contender on the board from Anchorage. Robert Lamberty pulled in a 140.6 lbs. flatfish aboard the Circus-Circus on Sunday, June 29th.
Plentiful catches of bottom fish have been reported throughout the Sound. Walter Anderson of Michigan said he decided at the last minute to hop on a charter and was pleasantly surprised when he reeled in a trophy size yellow eye rockfish aboard the Chinook weighing in at 19 pounds. Ling Cod are eligible for trophy requirements if they top 25 pounds. Anderson pointed to seven yellow eye and 19 black sea bass hanging on the rack at the harbor and said the group had caught all of the bottom fish in 30 minutes. “It was an unbelievable day of fishing”, remarked Anderson. July 1st is the first day anglers can keep ling cod they reel in.
According the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, halibut angling has been good to excellent in most areas throughout the Sound. Most folks are limiting out by going down toward La Touche and to the southeastern side of Hinchinbrook. People have had luck with rockfish by using small jigs near rocky reefs.
 
Commercial fisherman are bringing in large hauls of pink salmon and say the run looks very strong this year. Charters are reporting seeing jumpers in the Sound and expect them heavy in the Port in the coming weeks. It might be possible to catch a pink salmon during the 4th of July and the City will be hopping with a 4th of July block party Thursday and a Pink Salmon Festival on Saturday, July 6th.
 
The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is set for Saturday, July 20th. The Kids Derby is open to children age 5 to 16 and there is no fee to enter. Kids just need to weigh-in a pink salmon at the Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in station Saturday, July 20th to get a t-shirt and have a chance of winning one of the top three spots in their age division. A free family barbeque and awards will follow the day of fishing. The first 300 kids to stop by the weigh-in will get a free t-shirt courtesy of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and the Valdez Fish Derbies. The Silver Salmon Derby will start July 20th and the Women’s Derby is August 9th and 10th.

Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        Jeff Johnson                North Pole, AK           208.6 lbs.         June 29            Center Shot (Private Boat)
2nd        Laurie Deakin             Litchfield Park, AZ    158.0 lbs.         May 26            Dan Orion
3rd        Robert Lamberty         Anchorage, AK           140.6 lbs.         June 29            Circus-Circus
 
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #6
1st        Jeff Johnson                North Pole, AK           208.6 lbs.         June 29            Center Shot
2nd        Robert Lamberty         Anchorage, AK           140.6 lbs.         June 29            Circus-Circus
For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com


 

 TEXAN WINS HALIBUT HULLABALOO WITH 138.6 POUND FLATFISH
 With bluebird skies and record high temperatures in Valdez much of last week, the Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in shack was busy weighing in fish for anglers happy to hang out in the sunshine after returning to port. Several fish were weighed in near the 100 pound mark, including a 170 pounder that would have taken the lead in the derby, if the angler had had a derby ticket. The winner of the first place weekly prize was Joe Westbrook of La Rue, TX. Westbrook reeled in a 138.6 pound flatfish June 16th aboard the Chinook. The 2nd place weekly prize went to Ken Born of North Pole, who caught a 134.8 pounder June 21st aboard the Aleashia.
 
In addition to netting him the weekly prizes, it was Westbrook’s 138.6 pounder that won $1,000 cash in the 10 day Halibut Hullabaloo tournament, and put him firmly in second place on the overall leaderboard. Laurie Deakin of Arizona is still leading the Valdez Halibut Derby with her 158 pounder, and third place is currently held by Ken Born with his 134.8 pound flatfish.
 
Even children are getting in on the halibut action; 9 year old Emma Koldeway of Anchorage brought up a flatfish estimated at between 105 and 115 lbs. When asked about her reaction to catching the largest fish on her boat, she replied, “I was pretty excited and I couldn’t believe how big it was and I didn’t think that I could pull it up…but I did!”

Sunshine and calm seas seemed to be the perfect recipe for wildlife viewing in Valdez as many anglers reported seeing multiple whales and other wildlife. Tour boats on the sound have reported seeing orcas and humpbacks nearly every day, and on one day last week, even a fin whale was sighted. Fin whales are second only to blue whales in size and don’t often make the foray into Prince William Sound.

With Ling cod opening July 1st and a big celebration on the 4th of July, Valdez should be hopping while the pink salmon make their way into Port Valdez. The 4th of July celebration will feature a block party, community bonfire and fireworks. On Saturday, July 6th, Valdez will put on the Pink Salmon Festival with a pink salmon cookoff, community fish fry and other events. The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is set for Saturday, July 20th. The Kids Derby is open to children age 5 to 16 and there is no fee to enter. Kids just need to weigh-in a pink salmon at the Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in station Saturday, July 20th to get a t-shirt and have a chance of winning one of the top three spots in their age division. A free family barbeque and awards will follow the day of fishing. The first 300 kids to stop by the weigh-in will get a free t-shirt courtesy of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and the Valdez Fish Derbies. The Silver Salmon Derby will start July 20th and the Women’s Derby is August 9th and 10th.
 
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        Laurie Deakin             Litchfield Park, AZ    158.0 lbs.         May 26            Dan Orion
2nd        Joe Westbrook                        La Rue, TX                 138.6 lbs.         June 16            Chinook
3rd        Ken Born                    North Pole, AK           134.8 lbs.         June 21            Aleashia
 
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #5
1st        Joe Westbrook                        La Rue, TX                 138.6 lbs.         June 16            Chinook
2nd        Ken Born                    North Pole, AK           134.8 lbs.         June 21            Aleashia
 
For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com


  
 

 WOMEN DOMINATE IN VALDEZ HALIBUT DERBY

 The Valdez Halibut Derby weigh-in station weighed in 18 halibut this week, all vying for a spot on the leader board and a chance to win the $1,000 Halibut Hullabaloo prize. At the end of the derby week, the derby leader board was completely dominated by women anglers. Kathy Young of Fairbanks reeled in a 134 pound halibut Saturday night to take the lead in the Halibut Hullabaloo and win the weekly 1st place prize. Young caught her fish aboard Reel Dreams. Hillary Schaeffer of Ester, Alaska slid into the standings just behind Young with a 131.2 pound Halibut she caught Saturday aboard the Halibut Grove.

Young’s catch puts her in 2nd place in the overall standings behind Laurie Deakin of Litchfield Park, Arizona, whose 158 pound halibut is still leading the derby. Schaeffer is currently in 3rd place overall. The Valdez Fish Derbies 10-day tournament called the Halibut Hullabaloo is underway and ends Sunday, June 23rd. The largest fish caught between June 14th and June 23rd will win $1,000 cash in addition to the weekly prizes. Young is hoping her fish hangs on to win the extra cash, but Weigh-In Coordinator Bonnie Woods said it could have easily been someone else. “Apparently there was a 170 pounder caught on the 14th, with no derby ticket,” Woods remarked.

The weather has been astounding in Valdez with record high temperatures and the fishing is becoming more productive. Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports, “Halibut angling has been fairly good throughout the Sound. More success has been seen South East of Perry Island and in Southern regions by Montague.” Rockfish angling has also been quite productive.  

This coming weekend will bring the end of the Halibut Hullabaloo tournament, but the Valdez Halibut Derby runs through September 2nd. The City of Valdez will be hosting a Kite Festival in Valdez Saturday, July 29th, a big 4th of July Block Party on Thursday, July 4th and fun events for the Pink Salmon Festival July 6th.


The pink salmon should be returning to Port Valdez in a couple weeks and plans are underway for the Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby. Mike Wells of Valdez Fisheries Development Association said the expected return of Pink Salmon to Port Valdez is 13.8 million. The Kids Derby is held at the peak of the run. This year, the event will take place Saturday, July 20th. The Kids Derby is free and the first 300 kids to weigh in a fish will get a free t-shirt. The top three fish in four different age divisions will win prizes. There’s a free family BBQ at the end of the Kids Derby.
 
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        Laurie Deakin             Litchfield Park, AZ    158.0 lbs.         May 26            Dan Orion
2nd        Kathy Young              Fairbanks, AK             134.0 lbs.         June 15            Reel Dreams
3rd        Hillary Schaeffer         Ester, AK                    131.2 lbs.         June 15            Halibut Grove
 
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #4
1st        Kathy Young              Fairbanks, AK             158.0 lbs.         June 15            Reel Dreams
2nd        Hillary Schaeffer         Ester, AK                    131.2 lbs.         June15             Halibut Grove
For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com


  
 

VALDEZ FISH DERBIES UPDATE
OVERALL LEADERS
1st PLACE: Laurie Deakin- 158.0 lb halibut
2nd PLACE: David Flynn- 114.0 lb halibut
3rd PLACE: Martin Snyder 106.0 lb halibut
WEEKLY WINNERS
1st PLACE: Brandon Systo- 105.0 lb halibut
2nd PLACE: Jonathon Yinger- 95.2 lb halibut
 Eight big halibut were weighed in the first day of week three in the derby, but none of the fish weighed in this week were big enough to break into the overall standings. The first place weekly prize included a Valdez Fish Derbies winner jacket, t-shirt, $100 gift basket from Totem Inn, $50 to Easy Freeze, $25 to Prospector, $20 to South Central Hardware and gifts from Subway. To view the weekly prize list, CLICK HERE.

 

DERBY UPDATE

Laurie Deakin of Litchfield Park, Arizona leads the overall Derby standings with a 158.0 pound halibut caught on Sunday, May 26th.
Martin Snyder won the week one 1st place prize with the 106.0 pound halibut, followed by Justin Hoppe of Valdez won 2nd place in the weekly standings with a 97.0 pound halibut he caught May 19th. For more Derby standings tune into KVAK for daily fishing report updates or visit www.valdezfishderbies.com.

97 POUND HALIBUT LEADS DERBY AFTER FIRST WEEKEND

VALDEZ, Alaska – Several feet of snow still stand on the lawns and gardens of Valdez, but a little bit of late snow did not deter anglers in the Valdez Halibut Derby. Justin Hoppe of Valdez hit Prince William Sound aboard Dan Orion charters and returned with a 97 pound halibut on Sunday to take an early lead in the derby. Shawn Shipman of Whitehorse was also aboard the Dan Orion on Sunday and picked up a 70.4 pound halibut. Hoppe and Shipman are currently leading the derby and are in line to win the weekly first and second place prizes in the Halibut Derby if their fish stay atop the leaderboard until the derby week closes Saturday. 

Greg Davis of Westminster, Colorado weighed in the first halibut in the Valdez Derbies on Saturday. “He was visiting from Colorado and really excited about his fish”, commented Derby Weigh-In Coordinator Bonnie Woods.

Charter Captains in Valdez are preparing for a busy season as anglers have high hopes of being the winner of the $15,000 first place prize in the Valdez Halibut Derby. A ticket costs $10 for the day or $50 for the season and must be purchased before heading out on the water. Ticket sale locations can be found at www.valdezfishderbies.com. The limit for halibut in Prince William Sound is still two per person and weigh-in for the derby is open 3pm until 8pm at the derby shack located kitty corner from the Harbormasters office.

In addition to the grand prize of $15,000, 2nd place prize of $5,000 and 3rd place of $2,000 for catching the largest three fish, halibut derby anglers can also win weekly 1st and 2nd place prizes in the derby. Again, this year the Valdez Fish Derbies will award a 4x4 F-150 truck to one lucky participant of the derby. Every $10 spent on a ticket is an entry to win the truck regardless of whether anglers catch a fish or not (season ticket is five entries).

The Halibut Hullaballoo fishing dates have been set for June14th through the 23rd and the angler catching the largest halibut during that time period will win $1,000 cash in addition to the weekly prizes and any overall prizes they might qualify for.

The Kids Pink Salmon Derby has been set for July 20th and the event has gotten bigger each year. The Silver Salmon Derby in Valdez will again boast a $15,000 first place prize and daily prizes. The Annual Valdez Women’s Derby is slated for Saturday, August 10th with an opening ceremony Friday, August 9th and the closing ceremony Saturday night.
 
There will be a $500 prize for the vendor and operator selling the winning derby ticket in both derbies. Every derby ticket purchased for either the halibut or silver salmon derbies is entered for a chance to win a truck from Seekins Ford that will be on display in Valdez.
For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st        Justin Hoppe               Valdez, AK                 97.0 lbs.           May 19            Dan Orion
2nd        Shawn Shipman          Whitehorse, YT           70.4 lbs.           May 19            Dan Orion
3rd        Greg Davis                  Westminster, CO        25.0 lbs.           May 18            Private Boat
 
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #1
1st        Justin Hoppe               Valdez, AK                 97.0 lbs.           May 19            Dan Orion
2nd        Shawn Shipman          Whitehorse, YT           70.4 lbs.           May 19            Dan Orion
 

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