July 4, 2012 | Vol. 24 Edition 26

Still waiting for the really big one

North Pole man is weekly winner in derby

Ken Roberson of Nevada had his halibut cut up and was loading it into bags when he found out he could have been in the running for a weekly prize in the Valdez halibut derby. Roberson, who lived in Glennallen for 40 years and just recently moved out of state, was familiar with the Valdez Halibut Derby. He had even purchased a ticket in hopes of winning the $15,000 first place prize. He just didn’t realize a halibut weighing a bit over 100 pounds had a chance at winning a weekly prize in the derby.

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies
Mike Hostager of North Pole won the weekly prize in the Valdez Halibut Derby June 30, after reeling in this 135.9 pound flatfish from the Dan Orion

“It’s a nice fish,” commented Roberson as he filleted his catch at the cleaning tables. “Just over 62 inches. I didn’t know about the weekly prize, but it was an awesome day regardless. We caught our limit of halibut, some in the 60 to 70 pound class, half a dozen rockfish and saw killer whales, humpback whales and porpoise.”

It seems the whales are putting on a show for many of the anglers in Prince William Sound and the Stan Stephens crews have reported sightings of the rare fin whale and whales logging, or sleeping, among ice chunks where tourists can get a long look.

Halibut angling has been good to excellent in most areas throughout the Sound according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Nice sized fish continue to be caught most commonly in the gulf or near ocean entrances. The Ling Cod season opened July 1, so Independence Day anglers will have a chance to take home this Valdez favorite.

The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game said in their weekly fishing report to “expect very good fishing in lingcod country.”

There are a lot of activities slated in Valdez for the Fourth of July, including a parade and community bonfire, but it is yet to be determined whether or not the pink salmon will appear in Valdez.

According to the Valdez Hatchery, the pink salmon are a bit late but commercial fisherman have seen them around the entrance so they will be in Port Valdez soon. The Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby is Saturday, July 14 and is open to kids ages five through 16. There will be prizes for kids in four age divisions and a free family barbeque at Dock Point following the close of pink salmon weigh-in at 5 p.m. More information can be found at www.valdezfishderbies.com.

Bonnie Woods is still leading the overall halibut derby with her 179.2 pound halibut. Steven Adams of Valdez is holding onto second place with a 136.1 pounder he caught May 23.

Benjamin Davis was knocked out of third place by Mike Hostager of North Pole who caught a 135.9 pound halibut June 30, aboard the Dan Orion.

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