VALDEZ, Alaska – One young angler from the interior is dominating the Valdez Fish Derbies leaderboard in the early stages of the Valdez Halibut Derby. Clayson Wiley of North Pole, Alaska is currently in first place overall with a 148.4 pound halibut he caught aboard the Dan Orion May 26th. Jim Beach of Palmer, AK is currently in 2nd place with a 119.6 pound halibut caught May 30th aboard the Jaime Lynn and Brian Auvil of Fairbanks, AK is currently in 3rd place with a 107.4 pound halibut caught May 27th aboard the Dan Orion.
The investment to compete in the Valdez Halibut Derby and have the chance to win the $10,000 first place prize is $10 for a daily ticket. Those who fish a lot can pick up a halibut season ticket for $50. The 2nd place prize in the Halibut Derby is $3,000 and 3rd place prize is $1,500.
Those with a halibut derby ticket are eligible to participate in the Halibut Hullabaloo tournament for no additional cost. The angler catching the largest halibut in the derby between June 8th and 17th will win $1,000 cash in addition to the regular derby prizes.
A huge bonus for anglers hitting the waters early this year is the opportunity to see whales and wildlife in the Port Valdez and throughout Prince William Sound. Stan Stephens Cruises operates a glacier and wildlife cruise out of Valdez and this past week alone have reported sightings of humpback whales, Dall’s porpoise, Stellar Sea Lions, mountain goats, black bear as well as shorebirds such as the surf scoter, puffins and oystercatchers.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports that halibut fishing has been great. One does not have to fish deep to catch a halibut reports ADF&G. They suggest trying to fish away from drop offs where food would be settling. According to KVAK angler reports, most halibut are being caught far out in Prince William Sound. Several anglers have been successful around Hinchinbrook. Rockfish can be caught year-round in Prince William Sound. Something important to remember is that the bag limit and possession limit is now only ONE non-pelagic rockfish in Prince William Sound. The requirement to retain the first non-pelagic rockfish is no longer in effect.
The Valdez Fish Derbies will be hosting the Kids Pink Salmon Derby Saturday, July 21st. There will be a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prize for four different age divisions. The Kids Derby is free and open to kids five to 16 years of age. Valdez Fish Derbies tickets are available at the weigh-in shack down by the harbor and at various locations throughout town. For more information visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com.For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Clayson Wiley North Pole, AK 148.4 lbs. May 26 Dan Orion
2nd Jim Beach Palmer, AK 119.6 lbs. May 30 Jaime Lynn
3rd Brian Auvil Brian Auvil, AK 107.4 lbs. May 30 Dan Orion
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #2
1st Jim Beach Palmer, AK 119.6 lbs. May 30 Jaime Lynn
2nd Brian Auvil Fairbanks, AK 107.4 lbs. May 27 Dan Orion