VALDEZ, Alaska – Carl Tilton of Fairbanks, Alaska went out on a two-day halibut charter and was glad he had a derby ticket when he landed a 95.6-pound halibut last Tuesday. He was glad he had tickets for both days he fished in the Sound on his overnight charter. A one-day Valdez Halibut Derby ticket is purchased and dated for one day, so anglers wanting to go overnight typically buy two daily tickets to make sure they are eligible to win. There is also a Halibut Derby season ticket that costs $50 and allows anglers to weigh in some halibut for a chance to win prizes for the entire length of the halibut derby.
Tilton was not the only angler who had a productive day out on the water aboard the charter boat Reflection. Luke Lovejoy reeled in an 89.0-pound halibut on the same charter, and everyone caught rockfish in addition to their limit of halibut. Tilton and Lovejoy both got on the leaderboard and their boatload of fish drew a crowd at Valdez Harbor. When Tilton was asked about his fight with the 95.6-pound halibut, he responded: “Pretty good struggle. My forearms were about worn by the time we got it in, [it’s a] big fish.”
In the Valdez Halibut Derby Troy Dolge of Copper Center, Alaska is on top of the leader board and currently first in line to win the $10,000 grand prize with a 203.0-pound halibut caught June 4th. Erin Cruz of Wasilla is currently in 2nd place overall with a 147.2-pound halibut caught June 2nd and Matthew Peterson of New Castle, Colorado is currently in 3rd place in the Valdez Halibut Derby with a 125.4-pound halibut he caught June 10th. The winner of the 1st place weekly prize is Kenneth Jordan of Fairbanks with the 102.2-pound halibut he caught June 18, and the 2nd place weekly winner was Carl Tilton of Fairbanks who caught a 95.6-pound halibut.
Pink Salmon are expected to be available by 4th of July weekend and should be in Port of Valdez for the Annual Kids Pink Salmon Derby. While pinks can likely be caught on July 4th weekend, there’s a Kids Pink Salmon Derby in Valdez Saturday, July 22nd when the fish are heavier in the Port.
Valdez Fish Derbies will be giving away free hats for kids aged 5 to 16 between 6am and 10am Saturday morning, July 22nd. To enter the Kids Pink Salmon Derby, kids just need to get a hat, take a picture that includes a pink salmon, one child and the hat (either on the kid or the fish!) and upload it to valdezfishderbies.com. Winners will be chosen at random for one of four $100 cash prizes or one of eight fishing poles. Visit https://www.valdezfishderbies.com/kids-derby/ for more information. The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is free and there will be a live radio show on KVAK 93.3FM and 1230AM Saturday, July 22nd from 5pm to 6pm to announce the winners. KVAK Kids Broadcasting Camp participants will be emceeing the Kids Derby Radio Show and there will be giveaways exclusively for kids 5 to 16. The big radio prize is 10 pounds of jelly bellies. The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby starts July 22nd, the same day as the Kids Derby, so anglers wanting a great family trip can fish for both pinks and silvers in the same weekend.