2023 Valdez Fish Derby Rules – In order to qualify for the Derbies, please read carefully. These rules pertain to the Valdez Fish Derbies and the Tagged Salmon contest, sponsored by Valdez Fish Derbies, Inc., and its board of directors. The Valdez Fish Derbies consist of five events: Halibut Derby, Silver Salmon Derby, Halibut Hullabaloo Derby, Kids’ Pink Salmon Derby and the Women’s Silver Salmon Sisterhood® Derby. The rules hereinafter are consistent for all Derbies sponsored by the Valdez Fish Derbies, Inc., unless a rule is defined as pertaining to a specific Derby, e.g. Halibut Derby.
COVID-19 Health Measures
The Valdez Fish Derbies will observe guidelines and protocols to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus and promote the health and safety of the public while conducting derby operations. As such, we are asking all derby participants to observe CDC guidelines, which include the practicing of social distancing, and the wearing of recommended PPE when this cannot be accomplished. In addition, please observe our weigh in procedures to reduce contact and interaction when weighing fish and purchasing tickets or items at the weigh in trailer.
Rules and Regulations
The rules of the Derbies hereinafter described shall be considered final and binding on both contestants and sponsors and serving for the duration of the Derbies. Judges may, at their discretion, meet such emergencies as they arise, with additions to, or amendments of, these rules. The Derbies’ Judges have the power to make decisions in the matters pertaining to the Derbies, including eligibility, time limits, weights, and questions relative to participation and conduct of the Derbies; and their decisions shall be final and conclusive on all issues.
Waiver of Liability
All entrants shall recognize that their signature on a Derby ticket (or registration form in the case of The Kids’ Pink Salmon Derby), is a waiver of liability, absolving Valdez Fish Derbies, Inc., its officers and directors, volunteers and any sponsors of the Derbies, of any and all damages or liability growing out of the contest by entering or otherwise participating in the Derbies.
Eligibility to Enter
Any man, woman or child, regardless of age, wishing to enter the Derby and who has complied with the rules of the Derbies, shall be eligible, except that only those entrants who are eligible for one of the age groups in the Kids’ Pink Salmon Derby may enter that Derby. The Kids’ Pink Salmon Derby is open to entrants in four age groups: 5 yrs. to 7 yrs., 8 yrs. to 10 yrs., 11 yrs. to 13 yrs., and 14 yrs. to 16 yrs. Prizes will be awarded for the largest three fish entered in each age group. Those entrants in any of the Derbies who are 16 yrs. of age, or older, must have a valid Alaska State fishing license. Each applicant for entry shall be subject to approval of, or rejection by, the Judges.
Contestants wishing to take part in the Derbies shall qualify as follows:
1. Derby Tickets: Any person wishing to enter into competition for the prizes shall purchase a ticket, either a daily ticket or a season ticket, except that participants in The Kids’ Pink Salmon Derby do not require tickets as they register at weigh-in. All daily tickets must be valid for the day of fishing. Season tickets are valid the day of purchase through the end of the Derby season (species specific). If the name on a Derby ticket is not legible, Valdez Fish Derbies, Inc. reserves the right to withhold any associated prize and/or to award such prize to another participant.
2. Tackle: Fishing in the Derbies must be done with sport fishing gear. All fish must be caught on rod and reel. Entrants must fish only one rod at a time. Any hand-lines, commercial long-line gear or commercial nets found on board the boat will disqualify that boat and all contestants on board.
3. Conduct of Contestants: Failure to live up to any of the prescribed requirements or failure of a contestant to conduct him or herself as a sportsperson during the Derbies shall automatically disqualify the contestant from the Derby and from eligibility for prizes. If any two contestants observe and file a written complaint against any other contestant for un-sportsmanlike conduct, the accused contestant must apply for reinstatement by written application to the judges of the Derbies.
4. Non-Entrants Fishing with Entrants in Boat: Non-entrants may NOT fish in the same boat with entrants with the following exceptions:
Entrants may fish alongside non-entrants while on board a charter boat which is engaged in a passenger-for-hire service. The charter boat’s captain must pre-register with the Valdez Fish Derbies to act as a contestant witness.
All entrants (including children) must have a valid Derby ticket to participate in, and to act as a witness in, the Halibut, Silver Salmon, Halibut Hullabaloo and Women’s Silver Salmon Sisterhood® Derbies. In all other cases, non-entrants may go along for the enjoyment of the outing; however, non-entrants’ participation in fishing will disqualify the boat.
5. Boats: All vessels fishing in the Derby must leave from and return to Port Valdez to be eligible.
6. Fishing from Shore: Fishing is allowed from shore. All contestants must comply with State of Alaska fishing regulations. No fishing is allowed within 300 feet of the Solomon Gulch Hatchery.
7. Witness of Catch: Valdez Fish Derbies participant shall have a valid Derby ticket for the species caught, on the date caught, to be eligible for entering and registering a fish. One witness to the actual catching and landing of the fish is required. The witness must be a valid participant of the Valdez Fish Derbies for the same species and on the same date of catch for which said participant is acting as a witness, or the operator of a charter boat, provided the charter boat is in fact engaged in passenger-for-hire and the captain is previously registered as a witness with Valdez Fish Derbies, Inc.
Participants fishing on shore shall be within 100 feet of each other while fishing, to comply with the witness requirement of Rule #7A.
A person engaged in the Derby, fishing alone in a boat, may have their catch witnessed by an adjoining boat as long as the boat is fishing in the same species Derby and has visual contact with the person engaged in Derby fishing, sufficient to confirm that all Derby rules were complied with and the witnessing boat is in compliance with all Derby rules.
8. Time: Derby fishing time shall be 24 hours per day. Derby day begins at 8:01 PM and ends at 8:00 PM. Except for the start and end days of each derby as noted in #14. Check individual derby rules for any additional exceptions. Regardless of fishing hours, fish can be weighed in only during weigh-in station hours and in accordance with weigh-in rules at the Valdez Fish Derbies Weigh-In Station for Silver Salmon, and at the fish hanging racks at the base of E or J ramps for Halibut. Anyone catching a Derby fish on the valid day listed on his or her Derby ticket may weigh-in a fish that day. See also Rule #16 on delayed weighing.
9. Weighing of Fish: The following rules must be complied with for a fish to be entered in the Derby:
All fish entered in the Derby will be weighed in the “round” and in the presence of the contestant and the Derby official(s) or fish weigh-in contractor. All fish placed on or hung from the scales will be allowed to rest for fifteen seconds prior to the weight being recorded.
Any line and/or equipment used to hang the fish during weigh-in will be independently weighed and subtracted from the total scale weight.
At the time the fish is weighed, the contestant must have one qualified witness who observed the fish being caught and the tackle used, and who complies with the witness requirements in Rule #7.
Leading fish may be cut open in the presence of the Derby Official or fish weigh-in contractor immediately after weighing. Opening of the fish may be performed by the contestant, Derby official, or fish weigh-in contractor. The contestant must witness the opening and inspection of the fish. Any evidence of fish tampering will result in permanent disqualification of the contestant from the current Derby as well as any and all future Derbies sponsored by Valdez Fish Derbies, Inc.
An entrant and the witness must show valid same species Derby tickets at the time their fish is being weighed.
Halibut must be hung by the tail for weigh-in purposes.
10. Prizes: No one contestant may win more than one of the top three season prizes for each Derby. No one contestant in the Silver Salmon Derby may win any more than four daily Derby prizes during each Derby.
Salmon: The contestant who catches the heaviest salmon by round weight and presents that fish to the weigh-in station within the prescribed period, and who has complied with all Derby rules as applicable, shall be judged the winner. OVERALL: 1st, 2nd, 3rd: The three heaviest salmon weighed in during the entire season will be awarded the top three overall prizes in order of ranking by weight.
Tagged Salmon: Tagged Salmon: The tagged salmon contest offers a chance at one of twenty prizes, three of which are of cash value. The number printed on each tag will be redeemable only for the corresponding numbered prize offered for the derby. Contestants who catch a tagged salmon, with the numbered Valdez Fish Derbies tag, must present the tag to the weigh-in station within the prescribed period. Tags must be legible and fully intact to redeem a prize. All derby rules apply to this contest.
Halibut: The contestant who catches the heaviest halibut by round weight and presents that fish to the weigh-in station within the prescribed period, and who has complied with all Derby rules applicable, shall be judged the winner. OVERALL: 1st, 2nd, 3rd: The three heaviest halibut weighed in during the entire season will be awarded the top three overall prizes in order of ranking by weight.
Protests: Protests of any nature must be made in writing to the Derby Judges’ Committee within 72 hours of the event being protested.
In the case of ties, the first logged fish weighed will be awarded the higher prize.
All prizes must be claimed in Valdez within thirty (30) days after the prize list is made public. No merchandise may be redeemed for cash. No prizes will be exchanged. The final prize list is binding.
Any taxes on cash or other prizes are the sole responsibility of the accepting individual winners. Certain prize winners will be asked to provide a tax identification number and will be subject to the withholding of income tax under IRS regulations. Winning contestants reserve the right to refuse any prizes of their choice. Reported dollar value will reflect the actual value of the prize received.
The values shown on the prize list are set by the donors. Valdez Fish Derbies, Inc. will not be responsible should any prize prove to be of less value than shown in the donor’s estimates.
Valdez Fish Derbies, Inc. reserves the right to use any entrant’s name and/or photo in any advertising and/or promotion of future Derbies without compensation.
Contestants need not be present to win. Contestant’s correct name, mailing address and telephone number must be on the Derby ticket. Legibility of name and address are important for expeditious awards; illegibility may cause loss of prizes.
Weekly prizes are awarded based on a week consisting of Saturday 8:01 PM to Saturday 8:00PM. Except for the start and end days of each derby as noted in #14. All weekly prizes will be awarded the following Monday. The first and last week of the Derbies may be adjusted by one day more or less to accommodate the weekends.
Daily prizes are awarded based on a day consisting of 8:01 PM to 8:00PM. Except for the start and end days of each derby as noted in #14. All daily prizes will be awarded the following day.
Tagged salmon prizes are awarded daily during the prescribed period, except for the top three cash prizes, which will be awarded at the End of Year Awards Ceremony.
11. Fish Species: All fish entered in the Derbies must be of the species defined by the Derby entry ticket and judged as to its species. Any questionable entry shall be reviewed by the Derby Judges’ Committee or Derby Official within 48 hours of notification to determine eligibility or disqualification. Decisions as to the authenticity of the species by the Derby Official or Judge will be final and binding.
12. Fishing Boundaries:
Halibut: The waters of Prince William Sound and the North Gulf Coast.
Salmon: The waters of Prince William Sound and the North Gulf Coast.
13. Entry Fees: Each contestant must pay a fee for each of the derbies as follows:
Daily Derby Ticket: $10.00 per species
Seasonal Derby Ticket: $50.00 per species
Kids’ Pink Salmon Derby: NO FEE
Women’s Silver Salmon Sisterhood ® Ticket: $50, plus the cost of a valid Silver Salmon Derby ticket: $10.00 for that day.
14. Starting and Ending Dates/Times of the Derbies:
Halibut: May 27th – 12:01 am to Sept 3rd – NOON
Salmon: July 22nd – 12:01 am to Sept 3rd – NOON
Kids’ Pink Salmon Derby: Saturday, July 22nd
Women’s Silver Salmon Sisterhood® Derby: Saturday, August 12th
For special events such as the Kids Derby and the Women’s derby, please check the Valdez Fish Derbies website for updates.
15. Weigh-In Station Times and Locations:
Halibut: All halibut weigh-ins will take place at the floats in the small boat harbor. Fish hanging locations are provided between D & E floats and between I & J floats.
May 27th to July 21st: 4:00pm – 8:00pm; CALL IN ONLY
July 22nd to Sept 2nd: 1:00pm – 8:00pm;
Sept 3rd: 8:00am – 12:00pm.
Salmon: All salmon weigh-ins will take place at the Derby weigh-in trailer across from the Harbormaster on Chitina Street.
July 22nd to Sept 2nd: 1:00pm – 8:00pm;
Sept 3rd: 8:00am – 12:00pm.
Tagged Salmon: Tagged salmon weigh-ins will take place at the Derby weigh-in trailer across from the Harbormaster on Chitina Street.
August 11th to Sept 2nd: 1:00pm – 8:00pm;
Sept 3rd: 8:00am – 12:00pm.
Overall Weigh-In Hours:
May 27th to July 21st: 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. CALL IN ONLY
July 22nd to Sept 2nd: 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
July 22nd: Kids’ Pink Salmon Derby: 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM (Hat distribution)
Aug 12th: Women’s Silver Salmon Sisterhood® Derby: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sept 3rd FINAL DAY: 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
16. Overnight Charters and delayed weigh-in:
Derby participants must have a valid Derby ticket for each separate day of fishing, whether from a boat, from shore, or on an overnight charter.
The day the fish is weighed is the day it is counted for the Derby, even if it was caught the prior day.
Derby participants must have a valid Derby ticket for the day that they weigh their fish. Derby participants can weigh a fish the day after it’s caught, but only during weigh-in hours and subject to ‘A’ above.
A derby participant needs to have a derby ticket for the day a fish is caught and the day it is weighed in.
Example: A fish that is caught at 4pm on July 24th and not returned to the dock for weigh-in until 8:01 pm on July 24th is not eligible for July 24th. The fish may be weighed-in on July 25th during regular weigh-in hours if the person catching the fish has valid derby ticket for both July 24th and July 25th. Both July 24th and July 25th tickets must be purchased before fishing starts on July 24th to be valid in this case.