New Leader In Valdez Halibut Hullabaloo Event

The following is courtesy of Valdez Fish Derbies:


Valdez local Jared Van Putten caught a 123-pounder to take the lead in the 10-day Valdez Halibut Hullaboo event. The fish also ranks second in the Valdez Halibut Derby. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

VALDEZ, Alaska – Jared Van Putten of Valdez reeled in a 123.2 pound halibut Saturday to take the lead in the Valdez Halibut Hullabaloo tournament. If his halibut remains the largest caught between June 5th and 14th, he will take home $1,000 cash in addition to the regular derby prizes. Even if Van Putten’s fish does not hang on to win the Halibut Hullabaloo, he won the 1st Place Weekly prize which included a charter, a Valdez Fish Derbies Jacket, and other prizes.  

Gary Littlewood of Boise, Idaho won the 2nd place weekly prize with the 106.0 pound halibut he caught June 3rd. Littlewood is an 80-year-old angler who has fished Alaska for years but said this is the first time he has participated in a fish derby. Littlewood’s ten-dollar investment in the derby paid off as he reeled in a Stan Stephens Meares Glacier Cruise, a vest, t-shirt, and fish processing certificate. 

Rick Fleming of Palmer is still leading the overall Halibut Derby with a 128.9 pound halibut he caught on May 24th. With better weather, anglers were able to access fishing grounds further out this past weekend. Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) said, “many anglers are reporting the success of catching some decent halibut with bigger fish getting caught out toward Montague”. Many rockfish are being brought into Port Valdez as well. 

Rockfish limits are four fish per day, eight in possession of which only one can be a nonpelagic rockfish. With 10-to-30-pound rockfish being brought in this year, four rockfish can provide a fair amount of fish for the freezer. ADF&G also reported this week that it is a good time to start looking for king salmon milling around out toward Montague Island. 

While halibut derby anglers are competing hard for the Halibut Hullabaloo prize and an opportunity to get on the overall leader board, salmon anglers are writing dates on their calendar. The Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby is scheduled for Saturday, July 24th. Silver salmon derby charters are gearing up for a big season in Valdez.

The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby is slated to begin July 24th and run through September 5th. In addition to daily prizes in the Silver Salmon Derby, there will be a chance for salmon anglers to win big money in the Tagged Fish Contest. There will also be a Women’s Silver Salmon Derby August 14th. To find out more about events, check weigh-in hours, and find ticket vendor locations, visit

Tim Ellis (top) and Rick Fleming remain third and first, respectively, in the overall standings. Fleming’s 128-9-pounder still paces the field. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders

1st           Rick Fleming               Palmer, AK         128.9 lbs.         May 24    Reflection

2nd                     Jared Van Putten     Valdez, AK         123.2 lbs.         June 5     Bob     

3rd           Tim Ellis               Valdez, AK         116.4 lbs.         May 27    Lena Claire

Halibut Derby – Weekly Leaders – Week #1

1st           Jared Van Putten     Valdez, AK         123.2 lbs.         June 5     Bob

2nd                     Gary Littlewood          Boise, ID               106.0 lbs.         June 3                          Reflection