Valdez Fish Derbies 

Biggest fish of the week competition is fierce

Valdez Halibut Derby sees leaders flip on a daily basis


Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Roger Hage of Tucson, Arizona hauled in the biggest halibut last week.

"It feels incredible! It doesn't even feel real right now", said Christina Ives a couple days after reeling in a 285.6-pound halibut.

Ives won the first-place weekly prize and is currently in first place overall in the derby. If her fish hangs on as the largest through the end of the Valdez Halibut Derby on September 1, she could win $10,000 cash. Ives moved from Wisconsin to Alaska four years ago as a student and is currently working as a Corrections Officer in Fairbanks.

"I'm just trying to live the Alaska Dream, I guess," Ives said.

The competition is heating up for weekly prizes and first and second place in the Valdez Halibut Derby.

On Monday night last week, Edward Wahmann was in third place overall with a 126.2-pound halibut. After Tuesday night's weigh-in, Wahmann was off the board as two big fish were brought in that night. Mike Stitzel of Anchorage, reeled in a 126.8-pound halibut and Roger Hage of Tucson, Arizona brought in a 128.6-pound halibut. Hage took over the thrid place overall spot.

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. While pinks can likely be caught before that weekend, there's a Kids Pink Salmon Derby in Valdez Saturday, July 20, when the fish are thick in the Port. The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is free and the first 300 kids to weigh in a fish get a free t-shirt. The top three fish in four different age divisions will win a prize. There's a free family BBQ at the end of the Derby. For more information about the Kids Pink Salmon Derby and other Valdez fishing events, visit The biggest pink salmon caught in the 2018 Valdez Kids Derby was a 7.80 pounder caught by Liliana Garcia of Fairbanks. The largest fish ever caught in the Kids Derby is a 10.12 pound pink caught by Alex Plowman of Fairbanks.

The silver salmon will be right on their tails, arriving in mid to late July. The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby starts July 20, the same day as the Kids Derby, so anglers wanting a great family trip can fish for both pinks and silvers in the same weekend.

The Women's Silver Salmon Derby is slated for August 10, with an opening ceremony Friday night August 9. The theme of this year's Women's Derby is "Pajama Party" and there will be a group costume contest Friday night as well as live music by singer songwriter Michelle McAfee, who lives in Portland most of the year and spends summers in McCarthy. The Women's Silver Salmon Derby will crown the first-place winner and name them "Queen of the Silver Salmon Sisterhood."

Valdez Fish Derbies also awards prizes for the top 50 on Saturday night. Last year's Silver Salmon Derby first-place winner was Leslie West of Provo, Utah with a 16.48 pound silver salmon.

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Mike Stitzel of Anchorage reeled in a 126.8-pound halibut.


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