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

By Valdez Fish Derbies
Editor Valdez Star 

Halibut derby winners are nabbing large fish

Holiday is great time to grab your reel and hit the water


Scott Widdison of Meridian, Idaho reeled in a 194.2 pound halibut June 22 aboard the "Jaime Lynn" to take the lead in the Valdez Halibut Derby. Jeffrey Gropp of Berlin, Wisconsin is currently in second-place overall with the 170.2 pound flat fish he caught June 15 aboard the "Dan Orion." Daniel Bryant Jr. of Palmer is currently in third place overall with the 150.8 pound halibut he caught June 21 aboard the "Halibut Grove."

Halibut fishing in the sound is picking up with the nicer weather allowing folks to get further out. The ocean entrances are always great places to catch halibut according to a report from Alaska Department of Fish And Game - ADF&G.

"Latouche and southern and northern ends of Montague are good bets..." ADF&G said this week. "If you fish just off the bottom you will decrease bycatch of rockfish and it does not hurt your chances of catching halibut."

The Ling Cod season opened today, July 1, in Prince William Sound.

Shrimping continues to be productive near Whittier and Valdez, but it's generally better and better the farther you get away from ports ADF&G said. The organization suggests moving those pots out a little deeper as summer moves on.

"Once you figure out the depth they are at, start setting parallel sets at that depth and your pots will look a lot better coming up," ADF&G advises.

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Scott Widdison of Meridian, Idaho reeled in a 194.2 pound halibut June 22 from aboard the "Jaime Lynn" to take the lead in the Valdez Halibut Derby.

With the halibut season well underway, anglers are looking forward to salmon returning to Port Valdez. Anglers aboard the "Jaime Lynn" have brought bright shiny silvers into Port already - which has salmon fisherman excited for a much better silver salmon run than 2014. Pink salmon in Valdez should arrive in large numbers before the silvers and kids across the state are excited about that. While pinks can likely be caught this weekend, there's a Kids Pink Salmon Derby in Valdez Saturday, July 18 - when the fish are thick in the Port. Valdez Fisheries Development Association is estimating a return of 15.7 million pink salmon to Port Valdez this year, so there should be plenty to catch.

The Kids Pink Salmon 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.

In addition to great fishing during the 4th of July, the City of Valdez will be hosting a big block party on Saturday with fun events for 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.


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