VALDEZ, Alaska – With just an hour left in the Halibut Hullabaloo tournament, a hefty halibut was weighed in for the Valdez Halibut derby. Tim Stadtmiller of Fairbanks, Alaska reeled in a 266.6 pound halibut Sunday, June 18th aboard the Dan Orion to win the 10 day tournament and take the lead in the regular derby. Stadtmiller wins the $1,000 cash prize and is in the running for the grand prize of $15,000 in the Valdez Halibut derby if his fish remains the largest through the end of the derby. A video interview with Stadtmiller can be found at: https://youtu.be/XWSnSt4TUuQ
Daniel Schmitz of Wasilla, who caught a 176.6 pound halibut June 12, drops to 2nd place in the overall standings but he did win the weekly 1st place prize as the derby week ends Saturday night and Stadtmiller’s fish was caught on Sunday. Stadtmiller is now in the lead for the weekly 1st place prize for week number five in the derby.
Last year, it was Jeff Leaverton of Madisonville, Louisiana who won the Halibut Hullabaloo and he won it with a 174.4 pound halibut. In the 2016 Valdez Halibut Derby, it was David Jamison who picked up a 253 pound halibut and the 1st place overall prize. Kim Steiger reeled in a 211 pounder in 2016 to take 2nd place and Leaverton took home 3rd place with that 174.4 pounder he caught during Halibut Hullabaloo.
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.
Pink salmon in Valdez should arrive in large numbers before the silvers and kids across the state are excited about that. While pinks can likely be caught July 4th weekend, there’s a Kids Pink Salmon Derby in Valdez Saturday, July 22nd when the fish are thick in the Port. Valdez Fisheries Development Association is estimating a return of 17.8 million pink salmon to Port Valdez this year, so there should be plenty to catch. The Kids Pink Salmon 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 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 several events around town on Tuesday, the 4th of July. A Block Party downtown will feature old fashioned kid’s games, a parade, and community barbeque.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Tim Stadtmiller Fairbanks, AK 266.6 lbs. June 19 Dan Orion
2nd Daniel Schmitz Wasilla, AK 176.6 lbs. June 12 Jamie Lynn
3rd Eli Ludwig Fairbanks, AK 143.4 lbs. June 9 Dan Orion
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #4
1st Daniel Schmitz Wasilla, AK 176.6 lbs. June 12 Jamie Lynn
2nd Jack Wyatt Wasilla, AK 121.4 lbs. June 12 Dan Orion