Valdez Halibut Derby Set To Open On Saturday

The following press release is courtesy of Valdez Fish Derbies:


Pictures of 2023 1st place winners Paul Casey & LaVonne Baysinger

VALDEZ, Alaska – Last year Paul Casey of Shelbyville, Tennessee won $10,000 in the Valdez Halibut Derby when he hooked a 316.8-pound halibut aboard the Dawn Treader. In 2022, it was a 170-pound halibut caught by Jeremy Smith of North Pole that won the $10,000 first place prize. This year, Valdez Fish Derbies is again offering a $10,000 prize to the person catching the largest halibut in the popular derby. In order to be eligible, anglers will have to purchase a Valdez Halibut Derby ticket which costs $10 for a day of fishing or $50 for a season ticket. The Valdez Halibut Derby features a $3,000 2nd place prize and a 1,5003rd place prize as well as weekly 1st and 2nd place prizes. 

Paul Casey of Shelbyville, Tennessee was the 2023 Valdez Halibut Derby winner with a 316.8-pound fish. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

Back in 2017, Frieda Wiley set the record for the largest halibut caught in the Valdez Derbies with a mammoth 374-pound fish. The Halibut Hullabaloo Tournament will run June 7th through 16th this year and the angler catching the largest halibut during the 10-day period will win $1,000 cash in addition to overall or weekly prizes. In 2023, Troy Dolge of Copper Center took home the Halibut Hullabaloo cash with a 203-pound halibut he caught June 4th aboard the Reflection. There is no additional cost to participate in the Halibut Hullabaloo. Anglers just need to purchase a regular derby ticket and catch the largest fish June 7th through 16th to win a bonus of $1,000 cash.

In addition to the top three over cash prizes in the Valdez Halibut Derby, the Valdez Fish Derbies will award more than 20 weekly prizes in the halibut derby and give away more than 40 silver derby daily prizes. The Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby is slated for July 20th, the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby will begin July 20th, the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is August 10th and the Silver Salmon tagged fish contest is August 10th through September 1st. There will be 20 fish tagged and released in the waters around Valdez and one of them will be worth $10,000. More information on the derby and events can be found at

The Valdez Fish Derbies are run by a non-profit committee of seven individuals that live and work in Valdez. This year’s Derby Coordinator is Dana Morales, and she will be coordinating weigh-in employees and volunteers to cover what looks to be a busy summer season. From May 25th to July 20th the weigh-in is call-in only from 4pm to 8pm. Starting July 20th the derby weigh-in hours will be 1pm to 8pm daily. List of top three winners in 2023 Halibut Derby and Silver Salmon Derby are below. Media inquiries can be directed to

2023 Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders

1st           Paul Casey                        Shelbyville, TN                 316.8 lbs.           Aug 20                  Dawn Treader
2nd          Jim Jack                               Lacey, WA                          252.0 lbs.           July 28                  
3rd           Troy Dolge                          Copper Center, AK         203.0 lbs.           June 4                   Reflection

LaVonne Baysinger of Fairbanks won the 2023 Silver Salmon Derby (14.54 pounds).

2023 Silver Derby – Overall Leaders

1st           LaVonne Baysinger        Fairbanks, AK                   14.54 lbs.           Aug 4                       Fixed Income    

2nd          Cord Basnaw                    Ione, WA                             12.54 lbs.           Aug 20                  Gotta Go
3rd           Craig Hennager               Delta, Junction, AK        12.44 lbs.           Aug 21                  Reflection

For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit:
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