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

By Valdez Fish Derbies
For the Star 

Record set in kids pink salmon derby as race for silver salmon begins

Halibut fishing is still hot as 266 pounder holds down the lead spot - so far


Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Weston Branshaw of Valdez took the lead in the Silver Salmon Derby last week with this 12.42 pound Coho he caught aboard the "High Mark."

The Valdez Silver Salmon derby began Saturday and the largest fish weighed as of Monday morning was a 12.42 pound silver salmon caught by Weston Branshaw of Valdez aboard the "High Mark."

Amid the chaos of hundreds of kids weighing in pink salmon for the Kids Pink Salmon Derby, one young lady brought a silver salmon to the weigh-in. Sadly, she did not have a derby ticket and her fish weighed in at more than 16 pounds. The young lady declined an interview, but did say she caught her big fish by Goose Island.

There are daily first and second place prizes in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby as well as a $15,000 first place prize - the same as it's sister halibut derby.

Branshaw took first place for opening day and Kim Keller took second place for the day with a 12.04 pound silver she caught aboard the "Alaskai."

The fish are not yet to the narrows but are expected to make an appearance soon.

In the Valdez Halibut Derby, Tim Stadtmiller of Fairbanks is still leading the way with the 266.6 pound halibut caught June 19.

Weekly winners were Trent Gustafson of Fairbanks with a 152.4 pound halibut and Angel Seafler of Eagle River with a 141.2 pound halibut.

Halibut anglers are doing well. Charters have been able to reach the fishing grounds and have been bringing back numerous rock fish and lingcod in addition to their halibut.

Lots of pink salmon are being caught in Valdez. The biggest pink salmon caught in the Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby this past Saturday was the biggest on record for the kids derby since it started in 2008.

Alex Plowman of Fairbanks reeled in a 10.12 pound pink salmon to win his age division and make the record books.

Plowman said he knew the fish he caught was a big one, but he had no idea it would set a record.

A detailed list of Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby Winners, Top 10 history and pictures can be found at the derby website.

The Valdez Kids Pink Salmon started in 2008 and the record prior to fishing Saturday was an 8.08 pound pink salmon caught by Christian Wingert of Fairbanks. After the derby closed on Saturday night, Wingert dropped to sixth place in the overall standings as the top five fish ever caught in the derby were caught this year.

Plowman won a longboard skateboard as the first-place winner in the 8 to 10 year old age division. Bryndi Beck of Valdez took top honors in the 5 to 7 year age division with a 10.08 pound pink salmon. Andrew Hayse of Wasilla took first place in the 11 to 13 age division with a 8.20 pound pink salmon and Fred Sinnok of Shishmaref took top honors in the 14 to 16 age division with a 7.66 pound pink salmon.

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Fairbanks youth Alex Plowman reeled in this 10.12 pound pink salmon Saturday to win the 8 to 10 year old age division in the Kids Pink Salmon Derby - a record for the event.

The first place winner in each division won a longboard skateboard courtesy of Bahama Hawks and Valdez Fish Derbies. The second-place winners in each division received a fishing pole from Prospector and the third-place winners in each division received fishing gear from Prospector. All of the winners won a free subscription to Fish Alaska Magazine.

The pinks will be around awhile for everyone to catch, but there are also some trout fisheries that have been fun for kids. Ruth Pond and Blueberry Lake were recently stocked with catchable size rainbow trout.

Valdez Fish Derbies is now gearing up for Silver Salmon Big Prize Friday and the 2017 Valdez Women's Silver Salmon Derby. Big Prize Friday is July 28 and the angler catching the largest silver salmon that day will win $500 in addition to the regular prizes. The Women's Silver Salmon Derby is Saturday, August 12.

The theme of this year's Women's Derby is "Adventures on the High Seas."


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