VALDEZ, Alaska – And the winner of the Valdez Halibut Hullabaloo is Jordan Thomas of Palmer, AK with a 132 pound halibut caught aboard the Jaime Lynn on 6/9/18. The Halibut Hullabaloo is a 10 day tournament within the Valdez Halibut Derby. There are no additional rules or tickets to buy. The person catching the largest fish within the 10 day window wins a $1,000 cash prizes in addition to other prizes in the regular derby.
Last year, it was Tim Stadtmiller of Fairbanks who won the Halibut Hullabaloo and he won it with a 266.6 pound halibut. Stadtmiller’s fish held the lead in the overall derby from June 19th through August 5th. On August 6th, Frieda Wiley of Valdez reeled in a 374.0 pound halibut to win the derby and set a record for the largest halibut ever caught in the Valdez Halibut Derby. The Halibut Hullabaloo winner isn’t always a huge fish. In the 2016 Valdez Halibut Derby, it was Jeff Leaverton of Madisonville, Louisiana who picked up a 174.4 pound halibut.
According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game, halibut angling continues to be productive throughout Prince William Sound. The Lingcod season will be open July 1st and rockfish angling has been quite productive with small jigs near rocky reefs.
Those looking to dip net in the Copper River will have to put their plans on hold as the Copper River personal use dip net salmon fishing is closed until further notice. The Copper River personal use fishery is managed under direction of the Copper River Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishery Management Plan (5 AAC 77.591). The plan establishes the season from June 7 through September 30, and directs the department to establish weekly periods based on Miles Lake sonar counts.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports the 2018 sockeye salmon run to the Copper River appears to be much weaker than expected and is the 8th lowest count for this date since 1978. As of June 12, a total of 178,693 salmon were counted past the Miles Lake sonar. The preseason projection for this date was 276,899 salmon, which is 98,206 salmon or 35% fewer than expected. According to ADF&G, daily sonar counts continue to lag behind projected passage and it is unlikely that the lower bound Copper River sockeye salmon escapement goal would be achieved without closing the personal use fishery.
The department will continue to monitor the run closely, and if sonar passage improves, they say they may reopen the fishery if the escapement goal will be achieved and surplus salmon are available for harvest. Regardless of sonar passage, the Chitina Sub district personal use fishery will reopen by regulation beginning September 1st.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Clayson Wiley North Pole, AK 148.4 lbs. May 26 Dan Orion
2nd Jordan Thomas Palmer, AK 132.0 lbs. June 9 Jamie Lynn
3rd Jim Beach Palmer, AK 119.6 lbs. May 30 Jamie Lynn
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #4
1st Landi Beck Valdez, AK 99.0 lbs. June 14 Private Boat
2nd Jack Wyatt Wasilla, AK 97.0 lbs. June 14 Jaime Lynn