VALDEZ, Alaska – Diane Jewkes of North Pole won the 1st place weekly prize in the Valdez Halibut Derby with a 117.2 pound fish she caught June 17th aboard the Moscato Myst. Bonnie Saxum of Valdez took 2nd place weekly with a halibut weighing in at 111 pounds. Saxum has made it into the top 10 for the Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby on two occasions but had never made it on the Valdez Halibut Derby leader board. Saxum caught her fish aboard the Nunatak out in the Gulf June 16th and said she didn’t really realize it was a big fish until the Captain started getting excited. Jeff Saxe of Valdez is leading the overall derby with a 157 pound halibut.
While halibut is the prize catch in Valdez this time of year, anglers are doing quite well with rockfish and other fish as well. Matt Kraska of Fairbanks picked up a nice 45.8 pound king salmon this past Saturday out by Hinchinbrook. “Today we got kind of lucky and we caught ourselves a nice big saltwater king,” said Kraska. “Boy did that thing fight; wow was that a kick in the pants! It took easily 200 to 250 yards of line. It picked up the bait at about 80 feet and it was gone”.
Out in Prince William Sound, rockfish are a bonus catch for many charters. Rockfish limits year-round are four fish per day, eight in possession of which only one per day, one in possession, may be a nonpelagic rockfish. Some nice size yellow eye rockfish have been brought into Port Valdez so catching a few can make for lots of tasty rockfish tacos.
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 25th 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 25th 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 some great Valdez discounts can be found at www.valdezalaska.org
The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby starts July 25th, 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 8th. There will be some changes for 2020, so check out Derby page at https://www.valdezfishderbies.com/womens-derby/.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Jeff Saxe Valdez, AK 157.0 lbs. May 30 Go Get Her
2nd Charles Young Fairbanks, AK 128.8 lbs. May 24 Reel Dream
3rd Cody Buchanan Hamlin, TX 127.0 lbs. June 7 Jamie Lynn
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners
1st Diane Jewkes North Pole, AK 117.2 lbs. June 17 Moscato Myst
2nd Bonnie Saxum Valdez, AK 111.0 lbs. June 16 Nunatak