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

For the Star 

Derby actions gets hot as August action brings Cohos to Valdez

Valdez woman takes all in Big Prize Friday competition for silver salmon


August 2, 2017

The Silver Salmon Derby is in high gear - and people from Valdez are leading the charge.

In addition to winning the first place daily prize and being the new third-overall leader, Crista Andersen of Valdez won Big Prize Friday -and took home $500 cash in addition to her daily prizes.

Cole Baxter of Fayetteville, Georgia caught a nice fish Wednesday to put him at the top of the leader board in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby. Baxter weighed in his 15.62 pound catch from Shark Tooth Charters. Weston Branshaw of Valdez was in second place as of Wednesday, after he caught a 12.42 pound silver on July 22 aboard the "High Mark." Currently in third place, Crista Andersen of Valdez, reeled in a 12.18 pound silver July 28 from aboard the "Crista June."

As the silvers return to Port Valdez in larger numbers during the coming weeks, expect the size of daily winners to increase. The largest fish on record to win the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby was a 22.14 pound fish, but doesn't always take a huge fish to win the Valdez derbies. dating back to 1971 is

Jim Burzinski of Valdez reeled in a 15.11 silver to win back in 1971-the smallest silver salmon to win the derby according to records.

Visit the Valdez Fish Derbies Silver Salmon Derby "Previous Winners" page for complete list of winners and weights.

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Cole Baxter of Fayetteville, Georgia caught a nice fish to put him at the top of the leader board in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby.

There have been several trophy size lingcod and rockfish brought to Port Valdez. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Trophy Fish program has been going since the 1960's and gives special recognition to anglers taking fish that meet a minimum weight within a species. The minimum weight to have a trophy lingcod is 55 pounds. The largest lingcod on record in Alaska is a 81 pound, six ounce monster caught in 2001 by Charles Curny out of Monty Island. A rockfish needs to tip the scales at 18 pounds to be considered a trophy fish. Henry Liebman reeled in a 39 pound, one ounce rockfish in 2013 and currently holds the record for largest trophy rockfish.

The trophy weight for halibut is 250 pounds, so Tim Stadtmiller of Fairbanks made the grade when he caught his 266.6 pound halibut earlier this year. Stadtmiller caught his trophy winning halibut June 19 - and is still leading the Valdez Halibut Derby.

The Valdez Women's Silver Salmon Derby should bring in some bigger fish, and a lot of women with rods. The opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday, August 11 and a closing awards ceremony on Saturday, August 12. The theme of this year's Women's Derby is "Adventures on The High Seas" and there will be a group costume contest Friday. Live music and awards are planned for Saturday and derby organizers are expecting another exciting year.


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