VALDEZ, Alaska – “Put the time in. If you’re willing to be patient, most of the time you’ll end up with nice fish,” said Jim Rothenbuhler shortly after catching the 201.2 pound halibut that puts him in the lead in the Valdez Halibut Derby. “Fishing is one of those things. You can hit it real hot one time one year and you think you have it figured out; and the next year you go back and you might as well of stayed in bed. I think that that’s the magic of fishing is that you never know. It’s always a challenge. It’s always a challenge to try and figure it out or at least be successful at it. That’s what it’s all about really,” said Rothenbuhler.
Rothenbuhler is from Salcha, Alaska and has been fishing Valdez for years aboard his own boat, the “Bucket List”. He won the 1st place weekly prize in the Valdez Halibut Derby and is currently leading the overall derby and stands to win $5,000 cash if his fish stays in the lead through the Sunday of Labor Day. Sometimes it doesn’t take a huge fish to take home a weekly prize. Just ask Debbie Peters of Valdez. Her 108.6 pound halibut took the 2nd place weekly prize. Jeff Saxe is currently in 2nd place in the Halibut Derby with a 157 pound halibut and Charles Young of Fairbanks is holding on to 3rd place with the 128.8 pound halibut he caught May 24th.
Rockfish and halibut are the favorites to catch in Prince William Sound and lingcod season opens July 1st. According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game, halibut fishing has been good when weather permits getting out further. Montague Strait and Elrington Island have been producing steady catches of halibut. When you can’t get out further, ADF&G suggests anglers try around Perry, Naked, and Lone islands.
Valdez Fish Derbies is hosting a free Kids Pink Salmon Derby on Saturday, July 25th. The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby starts July 25thso there will be a few weeks where anglers can catch both pink and silver salmon in Valdez. There will be four grand prizes of $100 cash awarded in the Kids Derby. Eight kids will also win fishing poles. The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is open to kids age 5 to 16 and this year anglers will enter pictures via the Valdez Fish Derbies website for a chance to win prizes. CLICK HERE for information on the Kids Pink Salmon Derby.
The Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is slated for August 8th. There are a few changes for the 2020 Women’s Derby. CLICK HERE for details on the Women’s Derby. The Valdez Convention & Visitors Bureau has put together a webpage with lodging, tours and tourism discounts in Valdez. CLICK HERE to check out the page.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Jim Rothenbuhler Salcha, AK 201.2 lbs. June 23 The Bucketlist 2nd Jeff Saxe Valdez, AK 157.0 lbs. May 30 Go Get Her 3rd Charles Young Fairbanks, AK 128.8 lbs. May 24 Reel Dream
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – June 21st through 27th
1st Jim Rothenbuhler Salcha, AK 201.2 lbs. June 23 The Bucketlist 2nd Debbie Peters Valdez, AK 108.6 lbs. June 27 Final One