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

By Valdez Fish Derbies
For the Star 

Halibut sport fishing is hot as anglers look to hook the big one

Derby is wide-open for halibut but salmon are coming to port next month


Tony Gorman photo

Fishers enjoy showing off their catch at the small boat harbor last week - where the fishing is always good.

Lupe Gonzales of Clint, Texas reeled in a 158 pound halibut on June 20 to get on the leader board in the Valdez Halibut Derby. Gonzales lives in Texas but fished Alaska when he was stationed in Alaska. This is the largest fish Gonzales has ever caught but he said he was afraid he was going to lose it.

"It went around the anchor and my pole was bending and making a u-turn," Gonzales said. "It took 25 minutes to reel it in and this fish was taller than I was ...and I'm six feet tall."

Gonzales is currently in third place in the overall standings and won the second place weekly prize. Gonzales said for him it was all about the experience and thrill of it. Gonzales did have a derby ticket and said getting his name on the leader board meant even more than the prizes.

"If you're going to go out, spend $10 and get a ticket. You're crazy not to," Gonzales said.

Tim Stadtmiller is still on top of the leader board with the 266.6 pound halibut he caught June 19 aboard the "Dan Orion." Daniel Schmitz of Wasilla is currently in second place overall with the 176.6 pound halibut he caught June 12 aboard the "Jamie Lynn."

According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game, halibut angling continues to be productive throughout Prince William Sound. Good weekend weather allowed anglers to get to the fishing grounds this past week. Rockfish angling is productive will small jigs near rocks reefs. Lingcod season will open July 1.

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Daniel Schmitz of Wasilla was still in second place Tuesday morning with the 176.6 pound halibut he caught June 12 from aboard the "Jamie Lynn."

Pink Salmon are expected to be available by the 4th of July weekend and should be in the Port of Valdez for the Annual Kids Pink Salmon Derby later next month. The anticipated return of Pink Salmon to Port Valdez is 17.8 million.

In addition to the great fishing expected on Independence Day, the City of Valdez will be hosting a 4th of July Celebration this Tuesday, featuring old fashioned kids games, a parade, community barbeque, live music and community s'mores roast. Most of the activities are free and open to the public.

The silver salmon will be right on their tails, arriving in mid to late July. The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby starts July 22.

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


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