By Valdez Fish Derbies
For the Star 

Derby season brings bounty of seafood to the dinner table this year

Halibut and salmon fishing is grand, but there is more than one fish in the sea


Huge hauls of halibut, lingcod, rockfish and even silver salmon are being laid out on the docks at the Valdez harbor.

Fair weather this past week allowed anglers to get to the fishing grounds past Hinchinbrook Island and the fish seemed to be biting.

According to Charter Captain Josh Hughes of the "Jamie Lynn," the silver salmon are still out quite a ways out, but are a nice pick up for clients when fishing for halibut.

Tim Stadtmiller of Fairbanks is still leading the Valdez Halibut Derby 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 pounder he caught June 12 aboard the "Jamie Lynn" and Lupe Gonzales is holding onto third place overall with the 158 pounder he caught June 20 aboard "Halibut Grove."

Lingcod season opened July 1 and anglers are doing well - getting their limits of lingcod and halibut. The daily limit for lingcod is two per day, two in possession. Alaska Department of Fish and Game rules say that to keep lingcod, it needs to be a minimum of 35 inches long with head attached or 28 inches with head removed.

While sport anglers are heading to the halibut grounds, the commercial charter fleet was just past the narrows seining for pink salmon. According to Valdez Fisheries Development Association, VFDA, reached 94.5 percent of their cost recovery harvest for pink salmon on Sunday. VFDA says a 400 fish sample taken at Entrance Point resulted in 33.6 percent female and had an average weight of 4.4 pounds. The anticipated return of pink salmon in Valdez is 18.7 million.

The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is July 22 and the biggest pink salmon brought in during the eight-year history of the event was an 8.08 pounder caught last year by Christian Wingert of Fairbanks. It's a free event for kids 5 to 16 years of age and includes prizes and a free barbeque.

Pink salmon fishing at has been very productive at Allison Point. Pixies, spinners and Vibrax are all good options.

The Silver Salmon Derby will start July 22 and the Women's Derby is Saturday, August 12, with an opening ceremony on Friday, August 11.

Valdez Fish Derbies dates, prizes, rules, winners, pictures and more can be found at

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Jim Rothenbuhler of Salcha was last week's derby winner with this 130 pound halibut he caught July 3, from aboard the "Bucket List."


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