VALDEZ, Alaska – In addition to winning the 1st place daily prize and being the new 3rd overall leader, Crista Andersen of Valdez won Big Prize Friday and took home $500 cash in addition to her daily prizes. Cole Baxter of Fayetteville, GA caught a nice fish Wednesday to put him at the top of the leader board in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby. Baxter weighed in his 15.62 pound catch aboard Shark Tooth Charters. Currently in 2nd place in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby is Weston Branshaw of Valdez who caught a 12.42 pound silver on July 22nd aboard the High Mark. Currently in 3rd place is Crista Andersen of Valdez, Alaska who reeled in 12.18 pound silver July 28th aboard the Crista June.
As the silvers return to Port Valdez in larger numbers during the coming weeks, expect the size of daily winners to increase. The largest fish on record to win the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby was a 22.14 pound fish. It doesn’t always take a huge fish to win the Valdez Derbies. The smallest silver salmon to win the derby according to records dating back to 1971 is Jim Burzinski of Valdez who reeled in a 15.11 silver to win back in 1971. Visit the Valdez Fish Derbies Silver Salmon Derby “Previous Winners” page for complete list of winners and weights.
There have been several trophy size lingcod and rockfish brought to Port Valdez. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Trophy Fish program has been going since the 1960’s and gives special recognition to anglers taking fish that meet a minimum weight within a species. The minimum weight to have a trophy lingcod is 55 pounds. The largest lingcod on record in Alaska is a 81 pound, six ounce monster caught by Charles Curny out of Monty Island in 2001. A rockfish needs to tip the scales at 18 pounds to be considered a trophy fish. Henry Liebman reeled in a 39 pound, one ounce rockfish in 2013 and currently holds the record for largest trophy rockfish.
The trophy weight for halibut is 250 pounds so Tim Stadtmiller of Fairbanks, Alaska made the grade when he caught his 266.6 pound halibut earlier this year. Stadtmiller caught his 266.6 pound halibut June 19th and is still leading the Valdez Halibut Derby.
The Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby should bring in some bigger fish, and a lot of lady anglers. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday, August 11th and a closing awards ceremony on Saturday, August 12th. The theme of this year’s Women’s Derby is “Adventures on The High Seas” and there will be a group costume contest Friday. Live music and awards are planned for Saturday and derby organizers are expecting another exciting year. CLICK HERE to visit the Women’s Derby registration page at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Tim Stadtmiller Fairbanks, AK 266.6 lbs. June 19 Dan Orion
2nd Daniel Schmitz Wasilla, AK 176.6 lbs. June 12 Jamie Lynn
3rd Hali Lombardi Valdez, AK 176.4 lbs. July 11 Amanda Rose
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners
1st Thomas O’Leary Manhattan, MT 167.0 lbs. July 28 Sea Quester
2nd Jim Miland Boyd, WI 152.0 lbs. July 23 Dan Orion
Silver Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Cole Baxter Fayetteville, GA 15.62 lbs. July 26 Shark Tooth Charters
2nd Weston Branshaw Valdez, AK 12.42 lbs. July 22 High Mark
3rd Crista Andersen Valdez, AK 12.18 lbs. July 28 Crista June