VALDEZ, Alaska – You never know when a big halibut will bite the hook of a derby angler. Last year, Tim Stadtmiller of Fairbanks reeled in a 266.6 pound halibut June 18th and held on to win 2nd place overall in the Valdez Halibut Derby.
A quick review of halibut winners through the past few years illustrates that predicting when the derby winner will be caught is a tough proposition. Last year, Frieda Wiley caught the biggest derby fish on record August 6th. Wiley’s fish weighed in at 376.0 pounds. In 2016 David Jamison of Fairbanks caught his 253.0 pound derby winning fish on May 29th. In 2015, Fred Hyder of Willow, Alaska caught his derby winning 253.8 pound halibut on July 25th. In 2014 Scott Hebig of Wasilla, Alaska caught a 203.6 pound halibut June 20th to win the derby. James Culley of Fairbanks caught his derby winning 325.0 pound halibut July 21st, 2013 and a big derby fish, a 343.6 pounder, was caught August 5th, 2006 by Kevin Lincoln of North Pole, Alaska. A complete listing of Valdez Halibut Derby winners can be found on “Previous Winners” page at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
If history repeats itself, the Valdez Halibut Derby weigh-in station should busy the next two weekends for the Valdez Halibut Hullabaloo. This is a 10-day tournament that runs during the regular derby. The person catching the largest fish between June 8th and 17th will take home $1,000 cash in addition to the regular derby prizes. There is no additional ticket or registration for this tournament. Anyone fishing with a regular daily or season ticket during the Halibut Hullabaloo is eligible for the bonus prize of $1,000.
Lingcod fishing is closed until July 1st but Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports anglers are picking up nice catches of rockfish. Pacific cod have also been caught while halibut fishing. These fish will bite on the same bait and lures that you use for halibut and rockfish.
With the pink salmon season just around the corner, organizers are gearing up for the Kids Pink Salmon Derby. The pinks generally start running late June and by the first week in July fish will start to settle in around Allison Point. The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is Saturday, July 21st. The Kids Derby is free and the first 200 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. More information on the Kids Derby, Women’s Silver Salmon Derby and other derby activities and events can be found at www.valdezfishderbies.com.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Clayson Wiley North Pole, AK 148.4 lbs. May 26 Dan Orion
2nd Jordan Thomas Palmer, AK 132.0 lbs. June 9 Jaime Lynn
3rd Jim Beach Palmer, AK 119.6 lbs. May 30 Jaime Lynn
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #3
1st Jordan Thomas Palmer, AK 132.0 lbs. June 9 Jaime Lynn
2nd Mike Minyard Soldotna, AK 105.4 lbs. June 4 Dan Orion
For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: www.valdezfishderbies.com