Action Heating Up During Valdez Fishing Derbies

North Pole’s Louis Silva’s 189-pounder took weekly Valdez Halibut Derby honors. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

The following is courtesy of Valdez Fish Derbies:


VALDEZ, Alaska – Anglers are already catching pink salmon in Port Valdez and young anglers will have a chance to catch them and win prizes this Saturday, July 20th in the Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby. This free one-day kids derby is open to ages 5 to 16 and features 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes in four different age divisions. The Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby started in 2008 and a 10.12 pound pink salmon caught by Alex Plowman in 2017 is the largest caught on record. Last year, Liliana Garcia of Fairbanks had the distinction of winning the largest fish in the 2018 Kids Pink Derby with the 7.80 pounder she caught to win the 8 to 10 year-old 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. Valdez Fish Derbies dates, prizes, rules, winners, pictures and more can be found at

The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby also starts this Saturday and anglers are reporting catches of silvers at Goose Island and beyond. Aksel Hutchinson of Valdez reeled in the largest fish in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby last year. Seven-year-old Hutchison won $10,000 with the 17.28 pound silver he caught August 11th.

Christine Ives of Fairbanks is still leading the Valdez Halibut Derby with the 285.6 pound fish she caught June 6th. Christopher Barnes of Moorhead Minnesota is currently holding onto 2nd place in the overall standings with a 225.6 pound halibut he caught June 24th and Matt Janezic of Duluth, Minnesota is currently in 3rd place overall with a 203.4 pound halibut he caught June 28th.

Halibut fishing has been good for most anglers getting out further, but Alaska Department of Fish and Game suggests you don’t have to travel far. They suggest trying large bait on muddy bottom off a rocky slope in 150 to 300 feet of water. Lingcod season opened July 1st and many trophy size fish have been brought in to Port Valdez.

For those wanting to target rockfish, shrimp flies are a good option. With a little added bait on your hook and dropping down on a rocky pinnacle you shouldn’t have trouble getting into some fish. Black rockfish have been found in large schools along shorelines and rocky pinnacles on the Eastern side of Prince William Sound. ADF&G says fishing crippled herring jigs or shrimp flies in 50 to 100 feet of water will really do the trick for these hard-hitting fish.

Dan Geenen of Sand Point, Michigan (116 pounds, 2 ounces).

Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders

1st        Christine Ives              Fairbanks, AK            285.6 lbs.         June 6              Nunatak
2nd       Christopher Barnes     Moorhead, MN           225.6 lbs.         June 24            Sea Quester
3rd        Matt Janezic                Duluth, MN                 203.4 lbs.         June 28            Bold Eagle

Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – July 7th through July 13th

1st        Louis Silva                  North Pole, AK           189.0 lbs.         July 8th           Nunatak

2nd       Dan Geenen                 Sand Point, ID           116.2 lbs.        July 11th          Hooked Up

For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: