By From Valdez Fish Derbies
For the Star 

Last week for Valdez Fish Derbies

Competitions is still wide open


Halibut angling continues to be consistent throughout Prince William Sound and charters out of Port Valdez are returning with happy anglers. Donovan Kelly has been working with Lady Luck Charters this year and he said the halibut fishing has been very consistent with lots of halibut between 25 and 35 pounds and generally a couple on each charter between 50 and 70 pounds. Kelly said the lingcod are biting this year and the catch of rockfish has been above average.

“There have been a lot of China rockfish this year.” Kelly said. “At least every boat comes in with at least one or two (China rockfish), and in years past they’re usually a rare fish.”

In addition to China rockfish, Kelly said they are picking up tiger rockfish this year as well. Charters and private boats are heading out to the Gulf, but Kelly said halibut are being found closer to Valdez as well.

Anglers are also heading out in search of silvers, but figuring out where they are and when they are biting is a bit more complex than usual. Silvers have been picked up in the narrows, by Gold Creek and at the Kelsey Dock; Apparently, many cohos apparently didn’t get the memo that school is in session. Most anglers are picking up just one fish at a time and have no idea what is really working well. Boaters on Saturday had a surprise awaiting them when they returned to the Valdez small boat harbor with their scant supply of salmon in the hold. People casting lures lined the banks of the harbor and were bringing in silver salmon with a moderate degree of success.

“We’re here in the harbor because that’s where we heard the fish were,” commented Rachelle Feeler of North Pole. “We have fished here six years in a row, but this is our first time trying at the harbor.”

This Friday, anglers should be out in full force for “Big Prize Friday.” The person catching the largest silver this Friday will win their choice of $500 cash or two round trip tickets between Valdez and Anchorage or Valdez and Fairbanks aboard Era Alaska.

Persistent anglers are taking home daily prizes in the silver derby and the leaders are sizeable in the overall derby. Diana Doodchenko of Canada is still leading the Silver derby with the 17.88 pound silver she caught July 25. Tom Parker of Billings, Montana is currently in second place overall with a 16.70 pound silver; Joel Brown of Valdez is currently in third place overall with a 16.10 pounder he caught August 15. Mike Burke of Henderson, Nevada is leading the halibut derby with the 223 pound halibut he caught August 12. Marvin Knapp of Gravois Mills, Missouri is currently in second place with a 227.6 pounder and Scott Jumgblom is holding onto third place with a 205 pound flatfish. The silver salmon and halibut derbies run through this Sunday. The Silver Salmon and Halibut Derby Awards and truck drawing will be held Sunday, September 2, at 6 p.m. at the Valdez Elks Lodge.

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Antwant Tinsley of Federal Way, Wash. was the weekly winner in the Valdez Halibut Derby with this 176.1 pound flatfish he caught August 25, from aboard the Dan Orion.


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