VALDEZ, Alaska – Jeff Steenhoven of Salcha had a derby ticket when he went out fishing last Tuesday, so when he measured his fish and it was 73 inches, he was excited. According to the halibut length to weight chart he referenced, his fish should have weighed 205 pounds when he got to the dock. Apparently his fish was a bit on the skinny side because it weighed just 143.4 pounds, but it was heavy enough to win the weekly 1st place prize in the Valdez Halibut Derby. “Looks like a lot of nice fish coming in early in the year, so it’s been really good,” Steenhoven said.
Steenhoven wasn’t the only angler to catch a big fish on Tuesday. Dana Morales, who was working the Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in Tuesday night said she recorded more than five fish weighing in at 100 pounds plus. Jessica Buchholz of Fairbanks reeled in a 142.4 pound halibut on Tuesday and her large flatfish won her the 2nd place weekly prize and has her in 2nd place overall on the leader board. Gary Gardner, who was leading the derby last week, dropped to 3rd place overall.
Pink Salmon are expected to be available by the 4th of July weekend and should be in the Port of Valdez for the Annual Kids Pink Salmon Derby. While pinks can likely be caught July 4th weekend, there’s a Kids Pink Salmon Derby in Valdez Saturday, July 24th when the fish are thick in the Port. The Kids Derby barbeque will not be happening this year, but kids can still go fishing in Valdez and enter their catch virtually for a chance to win prizes.
Valdez Fish Derbies will be giving away hats Saturday morning, July 24th and kids age 5 to 16 need to submit a picture of themselves with the hat and a fish for a chance to win. Winners will be chosen at random for one of four $100 cash prizes or one of eight fishing poles. Visit https://www.valdezfishderbies.com/kids-derby/ for more information. The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is free and there will be a live radio show on KVAK 93.3FM and 1230AM Saturday, July 24th from 5pm to 6pm to announce the winners. Information and winners will be posted on www.valdezfishderbies.com
The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby starts July 24th, the same day as the Kids Derby, so anglers wanting a great family trip can fish for both pinks and silvers in the same weekend. The Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is slated for August 14th.