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

By Valdez Fish Derbies
For the Star 

Best halibut season ever some insiders say

Wisconsin man wins $1,000 in the Valdez halibut hullabaloo


Halibut fishing in Valdez is hot.

"This is the best halibut season I have ever seen," Freida Wiley said after returning from an overnight fishing trip in Prince William Sound.

Wiley is no stranger to halibut fishing as her husband is the Captain of Dan Orion Charters.

"It was so much fun out there. I fished for 13 hours straight. I am so tired", she exclaimed. When asked the secret to successful fishing, Freida said, "Listen to your Captain."

When asked if that held true at home, she laughed and said "no."

Any way you slice it, the fish coming into port are weighing in bigger each week.

At the end of the derby week, the Halibut Hullabaloo winner was Jeffery Group of Berlin, Wisconsin. He caught a 170.2 pound halibut aboard the "Dan Orion" June 15. Group is also currently leading the derby and won a bevy of prizes as the weekly first-place winner in addition to winning the $1,000 cash for catching the largest halibut during the Halibut Hullabaloo.

Ruby Mitvitnikoff of Valdez took second place last week and is currently in third place overall. She caught a 144.6 pound halibut June 15 from aboard the "Jaime Lynn." Daniel Bryant Jr. of Palmer is currently in second place overall in the Halibut Derby. He is also currently in first place for week five of the derby with the 150.8 pound halibut he caught June 21 aboard the "Halibut Grove."

Independence Day weekend is coming up and what better way to celebrate than fishing?

The City of Valdez will be hosting a big 4th of July Block Party on Saturday, July 4. It features fun events including the Pink Salmon Festival Sunday, July 5. The Block Party will feature old fashioned kids games, a parade, community barbeque and fireworks. The Pink Salmon Festival will include a Pink Salmon Cookoff and community fish fry.

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Jeffery Group of Berlin, Wisconsin won a grand in the halibut hullabaloo and is the current derby leader with this 170.02 pounder he caught aboard the "Dan Orion" June 15.

With the pink salmon season opening, organizers are gearing up for the Kids Pink Salmon Derby. The Valdez Fisheries Development Association is permitted to release an average of 219 to 220 million pink salmon fry each year. That guarantees a plentiful return of pink salmon to Port Valdez, which makes for lively fishing in Valdez. The pinks generally start running late June and by the first week in July fish will start to settle in around Allison Point. Pinks are a great fish for kids and it is anticipated that there will be plenty to catch. The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is Saturday, July 18. The Kids Derby is free and the first 200 kids to weigh in a fish get a free t-shirt. The top three fish in four different age divisions will win a prize. There's a free family BBQ at the end of the Derby. More information on the Kids Derby, Women's Silver Salmon Derby and other derby activities and events can be found at


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