The Valdez Halibut Derby features a $15,000 cash Grand Prize for the largest halibut, $5,000 cash for 2nd place and $2,000 for 3rd place. In addition to weekly prizes, all anglers who purchase a derby ticket have a chance to win a 4x4 F-150 Truck from Seekins Ford. It all starts with a derby ticket and you can find out where to get one by visiting our Tickets page.
The halibut charter season starts in May and runs into September. During May and June, halibut charters head to the icy waters of Prince William Sound in search of halibut and rockfish, but once it hits July charters also target lingcod. Halibut are found throughout Prince William Sound waters, on or near the bottom over mud, sand or gravel banks and below steep drop offs.
Anglers will catch halibut near Valdez in the Narrows and along the coastlines of the islands in Prince William Sound. Some of the closer popular fishing spots include Knowles Head and Red Head, Galena Bay, and Sawmill Bay. Further out, halibut can be found on the outside of Hinchinbrook entrance and the edge of the Gulf of Alaska. The preferred method for fishing halibut is anchoring and using bait. There are 32 species of rockfish that live in the Gulf of Alaska and lingcod up to 30 pounds are caught regularly. Fishing for salmon sharks out of Prince William Sound has also become quite popular, although there is not yet a shark derby.
The average halibut is in the 30 to 35 pound range, but several over 300 pounds have been brought back to Port Valdez. The limit for halibut remains at two for the 2012 season. The Valdez Small Boat Harbor has numerous fish cleaning stations available that feature high pressure hoses and disposal chutes.
While fishing in Valdez and Prince William Sound, anglers can expect to see majestic mountains, eagles, many species of birds, seals, sea lions and sea otters. Dall porpoise and humpback whales are also residents of Prince William Sound likely to make an appearance.