VALDEZ – North Pole angler Jeremy Smith reeled in a 170.0-pound halibut on June 23rd aboard the Chugach Girl to take the lead in the Valdez Halibut Derby. Smith’s fish also won him the 1st place weekly prize in the Valdez Halibut Derby. “We got out there early so we put our lines in and ended up catching the 170-pounder on a jig” Smith said. “It was one hell of a fight, but he came up pretty smooth”.
Chris Milles of Melbourne, Florida drops to 2nd place overall with the 150.0-pound fish he caught May 28th aboard Halibut Grove. Kamille Mulcaire of Fairbanks is hanging onto 3rd place overall with the 149.8-pound halibut she caught June 9th aboard the Six Gun. The overall leaders are big, but fish weighing just over 100 pounds have been big enough to take home weekly prizes the last couple weeks. Week four of the Halibut Derby, Jason Waller of Fairbanks won the 1st place weekly prize with a 136.8-pound halibut and the 2nd place weekly winner was a fish weighing 106-pounds.
When going out for halibut, the importance of putting out a chum bag and getting scent in the water was emphasized by Ester Hughes, who deckhands for the charter boat Reflection. In an interview she gave at the harbor last week, she was surrounded by an astounding catch of halibut, rockfish, and happy clients.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game said that king salmon are getting picked up out by Cape Cleare and Montague Island for those venturing out further and spending time trolling. ADF&G also reported that Blueberry and Thompson Lakes and Ruth Pond have been stocked. Ruth Pond is an easy access location for kids to catch rainbow trout and Thompson Lake is a good spot to target Arctic grayling with a small-sized fly or spinner. Salmon season is just around the corner. Some pink salmon have been spotted out in the Sound and should be into Valdez well in advance of the Kids Pink Salmon Derby.
Valdez Fish Derbies is hosting a free Kids Pink Salmon Derby Saturday, July 23rd. The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby also starts July 23rd so there will be a few weeks where anglers can catch both pink and silver salmon in Valdez. There will be four grand prizes of $100 cash awarded in the Kids Derby. Eight kids will also win fishing poles. The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is open to kids aged 5 to 16 and anglers will enter pictures via the Valdez Fish Derbies website for a chance to win prizes. CLICK HERE for information on the Kids Pink Salmon Derby. The Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is slated for Saturday, August 13th.