VALDEZ, Alaska – Last season, Jeremy Smith of North Pole Alaska took home the Valdez Halibut Derby 1st place prize of $10,000 with a halibut weighing in at only 170-pounds. Right now, Troy Dolge of Copper Center is leading the derby with a 203-pound halibut he caught June 4th, but whether it stays in the lead is anyone’s guess.
In 2021, the fish taking the $10,000 prize was caught by Steve Peichel of Frazee, Minnesota with a 246.8-pound halibut he caught July 31st. In 2021 all three top fish winning overall cash prizes in the halibut derby tipped the scales at over 200 pounds. The largest fish caught on record in the Valdez Halibut Derby was Frieda Wiley’s 374-Pound Halibut caught back in 2017.
According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game, halibut fishing has picked up and they say most anglers are picking up bigger fish further out near the entrances into Prince William Sound including Montague Strait, Hinchinbrook Entrance and other passages. Halibut are still getting picked up in shallow waters (60 to 90 feet) in various bays through Prince William Sound. In addition to halibut, anglers are picking up rockfish and pacific cod.
Valdez Halibut Derby anglers added lingcod to the list of fish they can catch when lingcod season opened July 1st. Generally rocky pinnacles are a good place to target lingcod and Alaska Department of Fish and Game suggests fishing a few feet off the bottom to avoid excess rockfish catches.
Between the dates of May 5th and May 29th, approximately 261 million pink salmon fry were released from the net pens at the Solomon Gulch Hatchery. The fry averaged 0.47 grams and the port had a good population of zooplankton to feed on. That’s good news for Pink Salmon and anglers wanting to catch lots of pink salmon out of Valdez.
Valdez Fish Derbies is holding the Annual Kids Pink Salmon Derby Saturday July 22nd. Kids age 5 to 16 can get a free hat, fish in Valdez and enter their picture on the valdezfishderbies.com website for a chance to win prizes. There will be four $100 Grand prize winners chosen by random and eight other lucky kids will win a fishing pole. This is a free event sponsored by Valdez Fish Derbies to get kids involved in fishing. Anglers can catch pink salmon trolling the waters but there are also miles of accessible shoreline at Allison Point and anglers need only a fishing pole and a pixie, spinner or vibrax to hook a good one. CLICK HERE for more information about the Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby. The Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is slated for Saturday, August 12th with an opening Pirate Treasure Hunt event on Friday, August 11th.