VALDEZ, Alaska – “This is the best halibut season I have ever seen”, said Freida Wiley of Valdez after returning from an overnight trip in Prince William Sound to halibut fish with friends. Wiley is no stranger to halibut fishing as her husband is the Captain of Dan Orion Charters. “It was so much fun out there. I fished for 13 hours straight. I am so tired”, she exclaimed. When asked what the secret to her fishing was Freida said, “Listen to your Captain”. When asked if that held true at home, she laughed and said “no”.
The Valdez Halibut Derby weigh-in station was busy with anglers weighing in fish for a chance to take home the $1,000 Halibut Hullabaloo prize. Many fish were weighed in just over 100 pounds. At the end of the derby week, the Halibut Hullabaloo winner is Jeffery Group of Berlin, Wisconsin who caught a 170.2 pound halibut aboard the Dan Orion June 15th. Group is currently leading the derby and won a bevy of prizes as the weekly 1st place winner and $1,000 cash for catching the largest halibut during the Halibut Hullabaloo.
Ruby Mitvitnikoff of Valdez took the 2nd place weekly prize and is currently in 3rd place overall with the 144.6 pound halibut she caught June 15th aboard the Jaime Lynn. Daniel Bryant Jr. of Palmer is currently in 2nd Place overall in the Halibut Derby and is currently in 1st place for Week #5 of the derby with the 150.8 pound halibut he caught June 21st aboard the Halibut Grove.
With the pink salmon season just around the corner, organizers are gearing up for the Kids Pink Salmon Derby. The Valdez Fisheries Development Association is permitted to release an average of 219 to 220 million pink salmon fry each year. That guarantees a plentiful return of pink salmon to Port Valdez which makes for lively fishing in Valdez. The pinks generally start running late June and by the first week in July fish will start to settle in around Allison Point. Pinks are a great fish for kids and there are plenty of them to catch. The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is Saturday, July 18th. The Kids Derby is free and the first 200 kids to weigh in a fish get a free t-shirt. The top three fish in four different age divisions will win a prize. There’s a free family BBQ at the end of the Derby. More information on the Kids Derby, Women’s Silver Salmon Derby and other derby activities and events can be found at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
In addition to great fishing during the 4th of July, the City of Valdez will be hosting a big 4th of July Block Party on Saturday, July 4th and fun events for the Pink Salmon Festival Sunday, July 5th. The Block Party will feature old fashioned kids games, a parade, community barbeque and fireworks. The Pink Salmon Festival will include a Pink Salmon Cookoff and community fish fry.