VALDEZ, Alaska – Jason Rood of North Pole is currently leading the Halibut Hullabaloo with a 123. 4 pound halibut he caught June 13th aboard the Jaime Lynn. Rood might not be in the lead if Paul Richards of Bend, Oregon had purchased a derby ticket. Richards reeled in a fish that measured 164 inches. “According to the computer, the fish would have translated to 135 pounds”. Richards did not weigh in the fish because he did not have a derby ticket. When asked for a fishing tip, Richards, “Get a good captain, buy a (derby) ticket and get some big fish”. The Halibut Hullabaloo June 12th through 21st. The person catching the largest halibut during that time period will win $1,000 cash in addition to the regular derby prizes.
The person in the lead for the Valdez Halibut Derby is Jim Larcom of Valdez who caught his fish one day before the Halibut Hullabaloo began. In addition to catching some nice fish, Jim and his wife enjoyed seeing whales and soaking in the sunshine. Larcom picked up a 124.6 pound halibut aboard the Dan Orion. Larcom’s fish knocked Josh Hughes’ 123.6 pound flatfish into 2nd place overall. Hughes caught his fish May 27th aboard the Jaime Lynn. Jason Rood of North Pole is currently in 3rd place overall. Larcom won the 1st place weekly prize and Rood took 2nd place for Week #3 in the derby.
For those looking forward to catching salmon in Valdez, the Valdez Fisheries Development Association (VFDA) Solomon Gulch Hatchery has some good news. This private non-profit salmon hatchery in Valdez has been investigating the weak return of Silver Salmon to the region and say by looking at historical release data they are hopefully there will be a good return this year. It takes three years for a silver salmon to mature and return where it was hatched. A review of the historic record shows the release weight of the Silver Salmon Smolt for Brood Year 2011 was only 13.50 grams. Typically the hatchery tries to release fish that are at least 18 to 20 grams. Looking at the historic marine survival rates for the lowest release weights recorded by the hatchery shows there could be some relationship between low weight and overall survival.
VFDA hatchery manager Rob Unger said the fish release weight for brood year 2012 (2015 return year) was in the neighborhood of 18 grams.
The Valdez Fish Derbies will be hosting the Kids Pink Salmon Derby Saturday, July 18th. 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