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

By Valdez Fish Derbies
For the Star 

The fishing is top notch as halibut, coho and lingcod take the bait

Silver salmon derby begins Saturday along with one-day derby for youngsters


Photo courtesy Bonnie Wood

Bonnie Woods of Valdez caught this lingcod July 4, while fishing with her son, Craig Woods. The lingcod weighed 52.25 pounds - just 2.75 pounds short of trophy-fish status.

Tim Stadtmiller of Fairbanks is still leading the Valdez Halibut Derby with the 266.6 pound fish he caught June 19 aboard the "Dan Orion."

Daniel Schmitz of Wasilla is currently holding onto second place in the overall standings with a 176.6 pound halibut he caught June 12 aboard the "Jamie Lynn" and Hali Lombardi of Valdez just missed second place and is currently third in the overall standings with a 176.4 pound halibut she caught July 11 aboard the "Amanda Rose."

The weekly first place winner in the Halibut Derby was Hali Lombardi of Valdez. Lombardi is in the Coast Guard and works at the small boat station. While Lombardi missed second place overall by two tenths of a pound, she was happy with her catch. In fact, the whole boat did well with rockfish, lingcod and even had a 146 pound halibut on the line at the same time she caught her 176.4 pound halibut.

When asked if having two big fish on at the same time was crazy, she responded, "Chaos is an understatement. We were harpooning the 176er and Jacob was trying to keep the 146 pounder out of the way until we could get the deck situated and ready to take that one on. It got kind of crazy, but it was fun."

Everyone on board had a derby ticket. When asked what her rationale was for buying a ticket before fishing she said, "Ten bucks. Why not? I have a chance of winning 10 grand, 15 grand. Why would you waste that opportunity? We rolled these ones up last second. You never know when a monster is going to hit."

In addition to the Valdez Halibut Derby Grand prize of $15,000 cash, a second-place prize of $5,000 and third-place prize of $2,000 cash, there are weekly first and second place prizes. Some of the prize packages include charters, overnight stays, glacier tours and Valdez Fish Derbies apparel in addition to gift certificates.

The second place weekly winner in the halibut derby was Michael Rengel of Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Rengel brought in a 160.2 pound halibut on July 10, while fishing on the "Sea Quester."

The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby starts this Saturday and anglers are already bringing silvers to port.

The Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby is also this Saturday, July 22. The Kids Derby is open to children age 5 to 16 and there is no fee to enter. Kids just need to weigh-in a pink salmon at the Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in station to get a t-shirt and have a chance of winning one of the top three spots in their age division. A free family barbeque and awards will follow the day of fishing. The first 300 kids to stop by the weigh-in will get a free t-shirt courtesy of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and the Valdez Fish Derbies. Valdez Fish Derbies dates, prizes, rules, winners, pictures and more can be found online.


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