VALDEZ, Alaska – It was a good week in Valdez for Minnesota anglers Christopher Barnes and Matt Janezic who both reeled in fish over the 200 pound mark. Christopher Barnes of Moorhead, Minnesota reeled in a 225.6 pound halibut June 14th aboard the SeaQuester. His fish won him the 1st place weekly prize and he is currently in 2nd place overall. Matt Janezic of Duluth Minnesota reeled in a 203.4 pound halibut June 28th aboard the Bold Eagle to take home the 2nd place weekly prize and drop into 3rd place in the overall standings. Christine Ives of Fairbanks, Alaska is still leading the Valdez Halibut Derby with the 285.6 pound halibut she caught June 6th aboard the Nunatak.
Valdez Fishing Report interviewer Laurie Prax said she talked to a huge number of Minnesotans this week and many of them were travelling with friends and family who live in Fairbanks. “With the sunny weather and clear skies we have been having in Valdez, anglers were just as happy to get out of the smoke in Fairbanks and the Anchorage area as they were to catch fish”, said Prax.
Prax caught up with Matt Janezic at the Valdez Dock and found out that he has been fishing in Valdez for the last 12 years and won a weekly prize in the Valdez Halibut Derby a few years ago. When asked why he kept coming back to Valdez, Janezic responded, “We love a lot of things. The scenery is second to none. The fish variety is great. We have fished out of a lot of other ports in Alaska and Valdez in particular it seems we get a larger size and quality of fish”. While Janezic has always picked up halibut and rockfish when fishing out of Valdez, on Saturday he got an extra bonus as they caught a King salmon as well.
Halibut anglers have been quite successful catching their limit of halibut and are bringing in good catches of rockfish. Lingcod season opened officially July 1st and halibut charter captains are seeing lots of pink salmon. According to the Valdez Fisheries Development Association website, the anticipated return of pink salmon to Port Valdez is 20 million this summer.
Valdez Fish Derbies is hosting a free Kids Pink Salmon Derby on Saturday, July 20th. The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby starts July 20th so there will be a few weeks where anglers can catch both pink and silver salmon in Valdez.
The Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is slated for August 10th with an opening ceremony Friday night. The theme of this year’s Women’s Derby is “Pajama Party” and there will be a group costume contest Friday night as well as live music and awards for the top 50 on Saturday night. CLICK HERE for details on the Women’s Derby.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Christine Ives Fairbanks, AK 285.6 lbs. June 6 Nunatak
2nd Christopher Barnes Moorhead, MN 225.6 lbs. June 24 Sea Quester
3rd Matt Janezic Duluth, MN 203.4 lbs. June 28 Bold Eagle
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – June 24th through 30th
1st Christopher Barnes Moorhead, MN 225.6 lbs. June 24 Sea Quester
2nd Matt Janezic Duluth, MN 203.4 lbs. June 28 Bold Eagle