VALDEZ, Alaska – Elias Sturm of Fairbanks had a good feeling before he went fishing last Monday. “I bought a derby ticket before I started fishing because I had a good feeling about the day,” Sturm said. “I didn’t know how big it was until it got to the surface and even then we weren’t sure. It seemed big; you never really know.” Sturm reeled in a 152 pound halibut aboard the Halibut Grove and won the 1st place weekly prize for the 6th week of the Valdez Halibut Derby and was in 3rd place overall until a big fish came in Sunday night that knocked him off the leader board. Jim Rothenbuhler of Salcha is still leading the halibut derby with a 201.2 pounder he caught June 23rd and Kenny Tussey of North Pole is currently in 2nd place with a 193.4 pound halibut. Debbie Coates of Fairbanks grabbed a spot on the leader board with a 164.4 pound fish caught aboard the Billie Sue.
Big hauls of halibut, lingcod, and rockfish are being laid out on the docks at the Valdez Harbor. Ling Cod season opened July 1st and some nice lingcod have been brought to Port Valdez. Incredible weather this past week allowed anglers to get to the fishing grounds toward Montague Strait and Elrington Island. For those fishing closer to Port Valdez, Perry, Naked and Lone Islands have been productive. Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) reports good catches of lingcod toward Seal Rock and Wessel Reef.
King salmon are also swimming around Prince William Sound. ADF&G suggests trolling or mooching in Passage Canal. If fishing by boat, try trolling 20 to 50 feet down with a small to medium sized herring and an oversized flasher.
Pink Salmon are starting to come into the Port of Valdez. More fish should be arriving over the coming weeks. Valdez Fish Derbies is holding a Virtual Kids Pink Salmon Derby Saturday July 25th. Kids age 5 to 16 can get a free hat, fish in Valdez and enter their picture on the valdezfishderbies.com website for a chance to win prizes. There will be a $100 Grand prize winner chosen by random in four different age divisions and eight other lucky kids will win a fishing pole. This is a free event sponsored by Valdez Fish Derbies to get kids involved in fishing. Anywhere from 7 million to almost 22 million pink salmon are forecast to return to the Hatchery in Valdez so there are plenty of pink salmon to catch. Anglers can catch pink salmon trolling the waters but there are also miles of accessible shoreline at Allison Point and anglers need only a fishing pole and a pixie, spinner or vibrax to hook a good one. CLICK HERE for more information about the 2020 Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby.
The Silver Salmon Derby will start July 25th and the Women’s Derby is Saturday, August 8th. Valdez Fish Derbies dates, prizes, rules, winners, pictures and more can be found at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Jim Rothenbuhler Salcha, AK 201.2 lbs. June 23 The Bucketlist
2nd Kenny Tussey North Pole, AK 193.4 lbs. July 5 Dan Orion
3rd Debbie Coates Fairbanks, AK 164.4 lbs. July 5 Billie Sue
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – June 28th through July 4th
1st Elias Sturm Fairbanks, AK 152.0 lbs. June 29 Halibut Grove
2nd Jason Howell Delta, AK 132.0 lbs. July 2 Treemendous