Ken Roberson of Nevada had his halibut cut up and was loading it into bags when he found out he could have been in the running for a weekly prize in the Valdez Halibut Derby. Roberson, who lived in Glennallen, Alaska for 40 years and just recently moved out of state, was familiar with the Valdez Halibut Derby and purchased a ticket in hopes of winning the $15,000 first place prize. He didn't realize a halibut weighing a bit over 100 pounds had a chance at winning a weekly prize in the derby. "It's a nice fish," commented Roberson as he filleted his catch at the cleaning tables. "Just over 62 inches. I didn't know about the weekly prize, but it was an awesome day regardless. We caught our limit of halibut, some in the 60 to 70 pound class, half a dozen rockfish and saw killer whales, humpback whales and porpoise."
It seems the whales are putting on a show for many of the anglers in Prince William Sound and the Stan Stephens crews have reported sightings of the rare fin whale and whales logging, or sleeping, among ice chunks where tourists can get a long look.
Halibut angling has been good to excellent in most areas throughout the Sound according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Nice sized fish continue to be caught most commonly in the gulf or near ocean entrances. The Ling Cod season opens July 1st so Independence Day anglers will have a chance to take home this Valdez favorite. ADF&G said in their weekly fishing report to "expect very good fishing in lingcod country."
There are a lot of activities slated in Valdez for the 4th of July including a parade and community bonfire, but it is yet to be determined whether or not the pink salmon will appear in Valdez. According to the Valdez Hatchery, the pink salmon are a bit late, but commercial fishermen have seen them around the entrance so they will be in Port Valdez soon. The Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby is Saturday, July 14th in Valdez and is open to kids ages 5 through 16. There will be prizes for kids in four age divisions and a free family barbeque at Dock Point following the close of pink salmon weigh-in at 5pm.
Bonnie Woods is still leading the overall halibut derby with the 179.2 pound halibut. Steven Adams of Valdez is holding onto 2nd place with a 136.1 pound halibut he caught May 23rd and Benjamin Davis was knocked out of 3rd place by Mike Hostager who caught a 135.9 pound halibut June 30th aboard the Dan Orion.