VALDEZ, Alaska – James Sayre of Valdez, Alaska made his way to the Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in station Saturday to weigh-in the first silver salmon in the Valdez Derby. When asked what the secret to landing this solid silver salmon was, Sayre responded: “Actually I tried mooching for the first time out at Knowles Head. He hooked up, brought him in. Pretty good fish!” Saturday was also the Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby day but Sayre didn’t have to wade through a sea of kids this year to weigh his fish as the Kids Derby was virtual. Kids fished in Valdez but to eliminate crowds at weigh in, kids posted their pictures on the Fish Derbies website for a chance to win prizes. Sayre reeled in a nice 11.48 pound silver salmon aboard a Valdez Outfitter rental boat to win the daily 1st place prize and take first place on the overall Silver Salmon Derby leader board. “You gotta have a derby ticket, said Sayre. “Gotta be in it to win it!”
Travis Garren of JBER, Alaska took the 2nd place daily prize with a 9.28 pound silver salmon caught aboard the Josie Whales. Crista Anderson, who won the 1st place daily prize on the first day of the Silver Salmon Derby last year, caught a 6.42 pound silver Saturday and is currently in 3rd place on the leader board.
The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby runs through September 6th and has daily 1st and 2nd place prizes, as well as a $5,000 Grand prize for the largest fish caught during the season. The cost of a daily derby ticket is $10 and a season ticket is $50.
The Valdez Halibut Derby is going strong and boats are still returning to Port Valdez with nice catches of halibut, lingcod and other bottom fish. Now that silver season has started many charters are picking up silver salmon also on their way back to town. John Axhelm of North Pole won the weekly 1st place price in the halibut derby with a 153.4 pound halibut he caught aboard the Fish Whacker. Glenn McDowell of Kalamazoo, MI took 2nd place for the week with a 139.8 pound halibut. Glenn McDowell was very excited to real in his sizeable fish: “There’s a good chance of winning the weekly so that’s exciting and I sure hope that works out. It’s just fun being out there fishing.” Jim Rothenbuhler of Salcha, Alaska is still in the lead in the Valdez Halibut Derby with a 201.2 pound fish he caught June 23rd.
Valdez Fish Derbies is now gearing up for Silver Salmon Big Prize Friday and the 2020 Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby. Big Prize Friday is July 31st and the angler catching the largest silver salmon that day will win $250 in addition to the regular prizes. The Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is Saturday, August 8th The Women’s Silver Salmon Derby Page on the Valdez Fish Derbies website has all the information.
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 Andy Eiman Valdez, AK 180.4 lbs. July 18 Crista June
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners
1st John Axhelm North Pole, AK 153.4 lbs. July 25 Fish Whacker
2nd Glenn McDowell Kalamazoo, MI 139.8 lbs. July 21 Arctic Warrior
Silver Salmon Derby – Overall Leaders
1st James Sayre Valdez, AK 11.48 lbs. July 25 Rental VO
2nd Travis Garren JBER, AK 9.28 lbs. July 25 Josie Whales
3rd Crista Anderson Valdez, AK 6.42 lbs. July 25 Crista June