Marco Harran of Tok said his first saltwater fishing experience in Valdez was in a 9-foot dinghy with a 2.5 horsepower motor. He had such a good time he bought a boat and made his way back to Valdez this year where he caught a 14.80-pound silver salmon during the last week of the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby. The Valdez Silver Derby ended Sunday and Harron’s fish won him $10,000 cash. What will Harran do with the money? At the top of his list is a new boat motor and possibly a nice halibut pole and reel. Harran said he knew he had a big fish on the line and was happy to get it in the boat. “It put up a really big fight,” Harran said. “It started jumping out of the water. My drag was tightened all the way and it was still pulling it. It was barely on the hook, so I was happy that I got it on the boat”.
Harran’s silver salmon won the $10,000 cash prize for 2022, but it was a relatively small fish for the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby. Last year Penny Skuza of Riverdale, North Dakota caught a 14.50-pound silver, but Harran’s fish is the 2nd smallest winner in recorded derby history. CLICK HERE to see a list of previous winners. Deanna Cox of Valdez took 2nd place in the Silver Salmon Derby with the fish she caught during the Women’s Derby and won $3,000 cash. George Levasseur of Valdez reeled in a 14.28-pound silver and won the 3rd place prize of $1,500.
Jeremy Smith of North Pole set the record for the smallest halibut to ever win the Valdez Halibut Derby this year with the 170-pound halibut he caught back on June 23rd aboard the Chugach Girl. His fish might be small, but it still takes home the $10,000 cash prize. CLICK HERE to see a list of previous halibut derby winners. Second place and $3,000 cash went to Al White of Wasilla who reeled in a 166.8-pound halibut August 5th aboard the Dan Orion. Chris Milles of Melbourne, Florida took 3rd place and won $1,500 with a 150-pound halibut he caught May 28th aboard the Halibut Grove.
In addition to the top three cash prizes, the Valdez Fish Derbies awarded 20 anglers weekly prizes in the halibut derby, gave away more than 40 silver derby daily prizes, awarded two anglers $500 for “Big Prize Friday”, awarded Halibut Hullabaloo tournament winner Kamille Mulcaire $1,000, gave away cash and prizes to 12 winners in the Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby and crowned Deanna Cox the Queen of the Silver Salmon Sisterhood during the Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby. A list of all the 2022 winners the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby, Halibut Derby, Women’s Derby, Big Prize Friday, and Tagged Fish Contest can be found at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
The Valdez Fish Derbies are run by a non-profit committee of seven individuals that live and work in Valdez. This year’s Derby Coordinator Dana Morales was instrumental in soliciting sponsors, managing weigh-in, handling office derbies and putting on events. Ricky Colapietro was MVP of website updates and both Paulette Harper and Larry Kepplar were dynamo’s at the weigh-in station. Sponsors came through with support and tremendous prizes for 2022. Valdez Fish Derbies generates funds through ticket sales, sponsorships and event and merchandise sales. Revenues go toward cash prizes, operations and marketing Valdez as a fishing destination.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Jeremy Smith North Pole, AK 170.0 lbs. June 23 Chugach Girl
2nd Al White Wasilla, AK 166.8 lbs. August 5 Dan Orion
3rd Chris Milles Melbourne, FL 150.0 lbs. May 28 Halibut Grove
Silver Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Deanna Cox Valdez, AK 14.42 lbs. Aug 13 Orion
2nd George Levasseur Valdez, AK 14.28 lbs. Aug 23 Lisa Michelle
3rd Robert Roll Flower Mound, TX 13.90 lbs. Aug 23 Lisa Michell