VALDEZ, Alaska – The silver salmon are returning to Valdez. After a weak silver salmon season last summer, anglers are delighted to be finding silvers at the end of their line this year. Isaac Watson caught the biggest silver salmon on Big Prize Friday to win the $500 cash prize. Watson’s 12.32 pound fish also won him the daily 1st place prize worth hundreds of dollars, however it didn’t place him in the top 3 spots on the Silver Salmon Derby overall leader board.
The overall standings for the Silver Salmon Derby are as follows: Currently in 1st place is Pam Chapman-Holloway of Rapid City, SD with 13.32lbs caught on July 25th. In the halibut derby, Fred Hyder of Willow, Ak is currently in 1st place with a 253.8 lbs Halibut he caught aboard the Jaime Lynn on July 10th.
It has been a terrific season of fishing for halibut, but it has been an incredibly good season for ling cod and rock fish as well. In fact, Bonnie Woods at the Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in station said they are issuing certificates for trophy ling cod on a daily basis. Woods said they have also weighed in several trophy rock fish. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Trophy Fish program has been going since the 1960’s and gives special recognition to anglers taking fish that meet a minimum weight within a species. The minimum weight to have a trophy lingcod is 55 pounds. The largest lingcod on record in Alaska is a 81 pound, six ounce monster caught by Charles Curny out of Monty Island in 2001. A rockfish needs to tip the scales at 18 pounds to be considered a trophy fish. Henry Liebman reeled in a 39 pound, one ounce rockfish in 2013 and currently holds the record for largest trophy rockfish. The trophy weight for halibut is 250 pounds so Fred Hyder of Willow, Alaska made the grade when he caught his 253.8 pound halibut. To be considered a trophy fish, entries must be weighed in the presence of witnesses and be weight by a trophy fish official on a scale with current certification by the Division of Weights and Measures. The Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in station is certified to weigh Trophy Fish and has certificates on hand for qualifying fish and their anglers.
The Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby should bring in some bigger fish, and a lot of lady anglers. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday, August 7th and a closing awards ceremony on Saturday, August 8th. The theme of this year’s Women’s Derby is “Super Heroes” and there will be a costume contest Friday. Live music and awards are planned for Saturday and derby organizers are expecting another exciting year. CLICK HERE to visit the Women’s Derby registration page at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
Overall Halibut Derby Leaders
Overall Silver Derby Leaders