Fish derbies strong as clock ticks on this season
Salmon and halibut plentiful while rockfish also filling freezers
The leader board hasn't changed much this past week in either the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby or the Valdez Halibut Derby, but lots of halibut and silver salmon are coming into Port Valdez.
The silvers seem to be running a bit small this year, but it's a great year for catching pinks, silvers and halibut - all in one trip. Silvers are being caught from Allison Point, but fish cutter Pat Olson reports the bigger fish are coming from outside the narrows, which has anglers excited about a strong run of silvers and bigger fish closer to port through the end of the derby.
A late run of pink salmon means the pinks are still bright and in good shape for catching. Couple that with an emergency order from Alaska Department of Fish and Game allowing a limit of 12 pink salmon, with 12 in possession: anglers catching their limit of silvers and pinks can take home 18 salmon in a day. Throw in a couple halibut and a few rockfish and the family is fed for the winter.
One wouldn't think a 16.28 pound silver salmon would hang on to win the $15,000 first place prize in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby, but the 16.28 pound silver caught by Chris Thoma August 7 is the only fish that's entered in the derby so far that weighs over 16 pounds. There have been five fish over the 15 pound mark. With just under two weeks left in the derby, one thing is certain.
"There's a bigger fish out there," fish cutter Pat Olson said. "Someone's just got to catch it."
Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies
Andy Lowe of Crestwood, Kentucky was last week's winner for week 12 of the Valdez Halibut Derby. His 205 pound winner was caught last Thursday from aboard the "Lena Claire."
Some large halibut were brought in this past week, but were just shy of making the leaderboard. Andy Lowe of Crestwood, Kentucky reeled in a 75 inch-long halibut August 13 aboard the Lena Clair. Lowe's fish weighed in at 205 pounds to took the weekly first-place prize in the Halibut Derby. David Hook of North Pole took second place with a 131.2 pound halibut.
The weigh-in station reports four halibut over 200 pounds have been weighed in for 2015.
On the first and last Friday of the Silver Salmon Derby, there's a bonus prize for the angler catching the largest fish for the day. In addition to daily prizes, the derby angler catching the largest silver will win $500 cash. The final Big Prize Friday is this Friday, August 28. The end of the derby is Sunday, September 7.
Every derby ticket purchased in Valdez is a chance to win $10,000 cash from Valdez Fish Derbies. The drawing for $10,000 will be held at the close of the derbies.