VALDEZ, Alaska – Big hauls of halibut, lingcod, and rockfish are being laid out on the docks at the Valdez Harbor. Ling Cod season opened July 1st and some large fish have been brought to Port Valdez. Incredible weather this past week allowed anglers to get to the fishing grounds past Hinchinbrook Island and the fish were biting. Not just halibut, cod and rockfish, but pink salmon as well. According to fish fileter Pat Olson, anglers have caught a few pink salmon fishing from boats near Allison Point. The majority of the pinks are out past the narrows, and anglers venturing out for pink salmon are coming back to Port with their limit already.
Christine Ives is still leading the Valdez Halibut Derby with the 285.6 pound halibut she caught June 6th aboard the Nunatak. Christopher Barnes is currently in 2nd place overall with the 225.6 pounder he caught June 24th aboard the SeaQuester and Matt Janezic is holding onto 3rd place overall with the 203.4 pounder he caught June 29th aboard the Bold Eagle.
While sport anglers are heading to the halibut grounds, the commercial charter fleet was just past the narrows seining for pink salmon. According to Valdez Fisheries Development Association, VFDA achieved 73 percent of its cost recovery goal by June 2nd. A total harvest of 742,943 pounds was recorded. The percentage of female fish was 31% with an average weight of 3.2 pounds. The anticipated return of pink salmon to Valdez this year is in the neighborhood of 20 million.
The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is July 20th and the biggest pink salmon brought in during the 10 year history of the event is a 10.12 pounder caught by Alex Plowman in 2017. Six of the top 10 fish caught during 2017 Kids Pink Salmon Derby, made the Top 10 list, including all of the top five spots. CLICK HERE for more information about the Kids Pink Salmon Derby. It’s a free event for kids 5 to 16 years of age and includes prizes and a free barbeque. Pink salmon fishing is generally very productive at Allison Point and along the shorelines. Pixies, spinners and Vibrax are all good options.
The Silver Salmon Derby will start July 20th and the Women’s Derby is Saturday, August 10th with an opening ceremony on Friday, August 10th. Valdez Fish Derbies dates, prizes, rules, winners, pictures and more can be found at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Christine Ives Fairbanks, AK 285.6 lbs. June 6 Nunatak
2nd Christopher Barnes Moorhead, MN 225.6 lbs. June 24 Sea Quester
3rd Matt Janezic Duluth, MN 203.4 lbs. June 28 Bold Eagle
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – June 30th through July 6th
1st Josh Hughes Big Lake, AK 182.2 lbs. July 3 The Reflection
2nd Loren Kendall Valdez, AK 149.2 lbs. July 3 Victorious