For the Star 

Cook-off kicks off salmon season as anglers wait for pinks

Halibut fishing remains great while lingcod season opened on July 1


A Pink Salmon Festival - complete with games, cooking competition and community barbeque - kicked off the Fourth of July weekend in Valdez last Saturday.

Construction crews have been working in downtown Valdez, but work was halted for the Pink Salmon Festival Saturday and the Fourth of July festivities on Monday. While some chose to visit the many events put on by the City of Valdez around town, it was a busy weekend for fishing as well. Halibut angling was productive and anglers were excited about the opening of the lingcod season July 1, however pink salmon fishing looks to be a bit slow getting started.

Several charter captains have seen pink salmon, but they are past the narrows. With an estimated 17.1 million pink salmon return to Port Valdez, captains are confident they will be readily available to catch close to Valdez for the Kids Pink Salmon Derby slated for Saturday, July 23.

According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game, shrimping continued to be productive throughout the Sound. Anglers are reporting successful pulls at depths ranging from 350 to 650 feet.

Blueberry Lake and Ruth Pond were both stocked with catchable size rainbow trout last week by Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Blueberry Lake is 24 miles north of Thompson Pass and Ruth Pond is just upland from the Kelsey Dock in town.

The Women's Silver Salmon Derby is slated for August 13 with an opening ceremony Friday night August 12. The theme of this year's Women's Derby is "Country Western" and there will be a group costume contest Friday night as well as live music and awards for the top 50 on Saturday night.

David Jamison of Fairbanks is still leading the Valdez Halibut Derby with the 253 pound halibut he caught May 29 on the "Nanatuk." Jeff Leaverton of Madisonville, Louisiana is currently in second place overall with a 174.4 pound halibut he caught June 16 from the "Dan Orion." Donald Horrell of Anchorage is currently in third place with the 169.6 pound halibut he caught July 2, also from aboard the "Dan Orion."

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Donald Horrell of Anchorage was in third place Tuesday morning with this 169.6 pound halibut he caught Sunday aboard the "Dan Orion."


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