The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By From Valdez Fish Derbies
For the Star 

Halibut Hullabaloo tournament is in full swing

Cautionary (fish) tail on the perils of fishing without a derby ticket


Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Jim Larcom of Valdez was in the lead in the Valdez Halibut Derby at press time Tuesday morning.

Jason Rood of North Pole is currently leading the Halibut Hullabaloo with a 123. 4 pound fish he caught June 13 from aboard the "Jaime Lynn."

However, Rood might not have been in the lead if Paul Richards of Bend, Oregon had purchased a derby ticket. Richards reeled in a fish that measured 164 inches – which might have weighed more than Rood's.

"According to the computer, the fish would have translated to 135 pounds," Richards said. He did not weigh in the fish because he did not have a derby ticket.

Richards is now wiser and has a word for the wise when it comes to halibut fishing in Valdez.

"Get a good captain, buy a (derby) ticket and get some big fish," he now says.

The Halibut Hullabaloo, a special tournament within the Halibut Derby, runs June 12-21. The person catching the largest halibut during that time period will win $1,000 cash in addition to the regular derby prizes.

Jim Larcom of Valdez is currently in the lead of the regular derby.

Larcom caught his 124.6 pound flat fish one day before the Halibut Hullabaloo began. In addition to catching some nice fish June 11, Jim and his wife enjoyed seeing whales and soaking in the sunshine from aboard the "Dan Orion." Larcom's fish knocked Josh Hughes' 123.6 pound halibut into second place overall. Hughes caught his fish May 27, aboard the "Jaime Lynn."

For those looking forward to catching salmon in Valdez waters, the Valdez Fisheries Development Association (VFDA) Solomon Gulch Hatchery has good news.

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Jason Rood of North Pole is in second place in the regular halibut derby and current leader in the halibut hullabaloo.

This private non-profit salmon hatchery in Valdez has been investigating the weak return of Silver Salmon to the region and say by looking at historical release data they are hopeful there will be a good return this year. It takes three years for a silver salmon to mature and return where it was hatched. A review of the historic record shows the release weight of the silver salmon smolt for the 2011 brood year was only 13.5 grams. Typically the hatchery tries to release fish that are at least 18 to 20 grams. Looking at the historic marine survival rates, the lowest release weights recorded by the hatchery show there could be some relationship between low weight and overall survival.

VFDA hatchery manager Rob Unger said the fish release weight for brood year 2012 (2015 return year) was in the neighborhood of 18 grams.

Don't forget, pink salmon are also a great catch.

The Valdez Fish Derbies will be hosting a Kids Pink Salmon Derby Saturday, July 18. There will be first through third place prizes in four different age divisions. The Kids Derby is free and open to kids ages five to 16.

Valdez Fish Derbies tickets are available at the weigh-in shack down by the harbor and at various locations.


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