VALDEZ, Alaska – “The main thing we went for is to have fun, enjoy the day and catch some fish,” said James Hixon of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Hixon not only had fun catching fish, but he also caught a fish big enough to win him a daily first-place prize in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby. “I’m gonna tell ya, that thing fought really hard. They don’t land easy”. Hixon’s 11.28-pound silver salmon was the very first fish of the day. “That was the first time I had been salmon fishing in my life and the first salmon I ever caught and hooked in my life”, Hixon said. Bringing in a big fish was exciting, but Hixon was even more impressed with Valdez and Prince William Sound. “We saw seals, we saw otters. Oh my goodness, the things that you see. It was just unbelievable,” Hixon said. Hixon led the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby for exactly four days, but he is more than happy with his daily prize winnings and the experience he had fishing for silver salmon in Valdez.
John Henderson of Pierre, SD is currently leading the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby with a 12.00-pound silver salmon and Casey Walsh of Nevils, GA is currently in second place with an 11.74-pound silver he caught July 27. Kristen Smith is currently in third place overall. The Big Prize Friday Winner is Tyler Amison of North Pole, AK with a 10.32-pound silver salmon. Amison won $500 cash in addition to the daily prize package worth about four hundred dollars.
There are a few reports of silvers being caught in the Port, but most are starting to get picked up outside of Valdez toward Glacier Island. Lots of King Salmon are being brought to Port as well. In the Valdez Halibut Derby, the leading fish is a 170-pound halibut caught by Jeremy Smith of North Pole, Chris Milles of Melbourne, Florida is currently in 2nd with a 150-pound halibut and Kamille Mulcaire of Fairbanks is hanging onto 3rd place overall with a 149.8-pound flatfish she caught June 9. Anglers are also hooking into trophy size lingcod and rockfish. Susie Buck of Shade, OH reeled in a trophy rockfish on July 29. Buck reeled this fish from over 1000 ft using an electric reel.
The silver fishing should be excellent for the Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby August 13. Valdez Fish Derbies will give cash and prizes to the Women catching the three biggest fish. Registration is going on at the Valdez Prospector August 10 through 13. Derby anglers purchase a ticket for the regular derby, in addition to the $20 fee for Women’s Derby, so they will be eligible for prizes in the regular derby as well as the Women’s Derby. The Women’s Derby Grand Prize is $1,000 cash plus Prospector Prizes valued at $1,000. This year’s Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby, will feature a new “Coho Cruise Night Event” that will have women roaming through town Friday night looking for dog tag numbers to win prizes. Door Prizes will also be announced on the Women’s Derby Page of the Valdez Fish Derbies website and Women will get a small gift and can register for one of three prize packages at registration.