VALDEZ, Alaska – With less than two weeks left in the Valdez Halibut and Silver Salmon Derbies, only time will tell if Steve Peichel of Frazee, Minnesota will remain in the lead through September 5th and win the $10,000 1st place prize in the Valdez Halibut Derby. Frazee caught a 246.8-pound halibut aboard the Chugach Girl back on July 31st. When asked how often he checked the valdezfishderbies.com website, Frazee replied “Daily. Everybody at work and around the community always hits me up, how are you doing? Where are you at? It’s a thrill to be a part of this.” When asked what he thought about his odds of winning the $10,000 prize he replied, “It’s a very big prize and if I hang on, I’ll be thrilled but any of the other prizes I would be very thrilled with as well. The experience is what I came for and this is all the extra”.
Maren Russman of Lino Lakes, Minnesota is another angler watching the derby leader board. Russman caught a 214.8-pound halibut on July 21st and stands to win the $3,000 cash if her fish remains in 2nd place. Terrence McCabe of Valdez is currently hanging onto 3rd place in the Valdez Halibut Derby with a 202.0-pound halibut he caught July 5th.
Silver salmon are being caught just off the City Docks and at Allison Point so there will be a lot of opportunities for anglers to catch salmon the last two weeks of the derby. Boat anglers are having success out by the narrows, Gold Creek and in the Port.Penny Skuza of Riverdale, North Dakota is leading the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby with a 14.20-pound silver salmon. Skuza will win 1st place if her fish hangs on through September 5th. Ron Schulz of Grapevine, Texas is currently in 2nd place overall with a 14.10-pound silver salmon and Jackie Kaiser of Albuquerque, New Mexico is currently in 3rd place with a 12.96-pound silver she caught August 17th. In 2017 a 15.62-pound silver caught bey Cole Baxter won the 1st place prize and in 2018 a 17.28-pound silver caught by Aksel Hutchinson won. However, the last two years, the winning fish has been a bit smaller. In 2019 Tom Karlsten won with a 15.32-pound silver and in 2020 it was Alisa MacInnes taking home the top prize with a 14.88-pound fish.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Steve Peichel Frazee, MN 214.8 lbs. July 31 Chugach Girl
2nd Maren Russman Lino Lakes, MN 214.8 lbs. July 21 Nunatak
3rd Terrence McCabe Valdez, AK 202.0 lbs. July 5 Only Fins
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners
1st Mark Miller Palmer, AK 120.0 lbs. Aug 16 Dan Orion
2nd Gary Severtson Palmer, AK 116.0 lbs. Aug 19 Gweneth
Silver Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Penny Skuza Riverdale, ND 14.50 lbs. Aug 16 Penny Jean
2nd Ron Schulz Grapevine, TX 14.10 lbs. Aug 18 Team Tater
3rd Jackie Kaiser Albuquerque, NM 12.96 lbs. Aug 17 Orion