Idaho Angler Epitomizes The Spirit Of The Valdez Halibut Derby

The following is courtesy of Valdez Fish Derbies:

Leroy Krider (far fight) epitomized the spirt of the Valdez Halibut Derby last week. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

VALDEZ, Alaska – There is a lot of talk down at the Valdez Harbor about catching massive fish and winning prizes in the Valdez Derbies, but for some anglers being in Valdez and the thrill of the fight is what really matters. Leroy Kreider of Orofino, Idaho could not have had a bigger smile on his face last Friday night as he watched his fish being hung beneath the iconic Valdez Harbor sign and his wife rolled his wheelchair into position for pictures with their catch. “ I’ve been in the hospital for so long,” Kreider said. “I hunted and fished all my life and just got this way the last couple of years. It was nice to be able to do it again.” Kreider brought in the largest fish on his boat and when asked whether he had any problems bringing it in he replied with a grin, “Well, yeah but I managed.” Kreider’s wife Mary Ann teared up as her husband spoke and when asked about her day, she said “I just can’t think of anything that would be better. We’ve been trying to do this for almost 50 years”. Kreider’s fish did not make the leader board but did allow the Kreider’s to check off a dream on their bucket list.

Frieda Wiley of Valdez was the weekly winner of the Valdez Halibut Derby with the 133.8-pounder. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)
Michael Olson of North Pole (151.6) moved into third overall.

Michael Olson of North Pole, Alaska fishes often and knows what it’s like to get on the leader board but it was the thrill of the fight that Olson was most excited about when he weighed in his 151.6-pound halibut June 8th and landed in 3rd place overall on the leader board. Olson caught his fish in 62 feet of water in Port Fidalgo on a salmon rod.Frieda Wiley of Valdez wins 1st place for Week #3 in the derby with a 133.8-pound halibut she caught aboard Dan Orion and Zach Gorg of Stacy, Minnesota wins 2nd place for the week with a 120.6-pound halibut caught aboard Alaskan Adventures June 14th.

Summer Ruge, 12, continues to be the overall leader with her 159.4-pounder caught on May 27.

Summer Ruge of Fairbanks is still leading the Valdez Halibut Derby with the 159.4-pound halibut she caught May 27th aboard the Chugach Girl. Kathy Young of Fairbanks is currently in 2nd place overall with a 152.8-pound halibut she caught May 26th aboard Reel Dreams. Alaska Department of Fish and Game said halibut fishing has been good in the outside waters of Prince William Sound, including near Cape Junken, as well as around Montague and Elrington Islands.

The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby is slated to begin July 20th and run through September 1st. In addition to daily prizes in the Silver Salmon Derby, salmon anglers can win big money in the Tagged Fish Contest. There will also be a Women’s Silver Salmon Derby on August 10th.The Valdez Fish Derbies will also be hosting the Kids Pink Salmon Derby Saturday, July 20th. For more information, visit

Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders

1st           Summer Ruge                  Fairbanks, AK                   159.4 lbs.           May 27                 Chugach Girl

2nd               Kathy Young                       Fairbanks, AK                   152.8 lbs.           May 26                 Reel Dreams     

3rd           Michael Olson                 North Pole, AK                  151.6 lbs.           June 8                   Big Fish

Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #2

1st           Frieda Wiley                      Valdez, AK                          133.8 lbs.           June 14                Dan Orion

2nd               Zach Gorg                          Stacy, MN                           120.6 lbs.           June 14                Alaskan Adventures