VALDEZ, Alaska – After a raucous evening at the Opening Event for the Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby Friday night, anglers set out early Saturday morning in search of the salmon that would earn them the title of Queen at the Awards Ceremony Saturday night. Many anglers heading out past the narrows ended up doubling back and coming back to fish Port Valdez because the silver salmon are in and plentiful close to the harbor. Laura Saxe of Eagles Rest RV Park said she heard that someone even caught a silver salmon at Allison Point.
Leslie West of Provo, Utah had never fished for salmon in Valdez but she said she got the hang of trolling and was really excited to see such a big fish at the end of her line. West brought in a 16.48 pound silver salmon to win her 1st place in the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby and put her into 3rd place in the overall Silver Derby standings. “I’ve never trolled before”, West said. “This was all new to me and a lot of fun. I was just so grateful we got it in. It was kind of hard netting and it was exciting there for a few minutes, but we got it in. Oh my gosh, what a feeling!”. West said she was fishing very shallow but most anglers had success fishing at depths of 40 to 70 feet. “They were jumping, they were on the surface. We could see them everywhere. We just trolled on through and I lucked into the one”, West said.
West wasn’t the only one who caught a big fish on Saturday. Eight-year-old Aksel Hutchison of Valdez caught a whopper of a fish. Hutchison’s fish weighed in at 17.28 pounds and puts him in the lead to win the $10,000 first place prize in the regular Valdez Silver Salmon Derby.
With silver salmon heavy in the narrows, fishing should be good from shore at Allison Point and in Port Valdez the final weeks of the derby. Most of those trolling on Saturday had success trolling at a depth of 40 to 70 feet. Hot spots this weekend were the Valdez Narrows, Shoup Bay, Gold Creek and just outside the Valdez Harbor. The silver derby and Valdez Halibut Derby end Sunday, September 2nd at noon.
Patricia Johnson of Clovis, California is leading the Valdez Halibut Derby with a 285.8 pound halibut she caught July 26th. Doug Cranor of Valdez is currently 2nd place with a 239 pound halibut and Russell Young of Fairbanks is currently in 3rd place overall with a 226 pound halibut.
Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Patricia Johnson Clovis, CA 285.8 lbs. July 26 Harvester
2nd Doug Cranor Valdez, AK 239.0 lbs. June 23Redhead
3rd Russell Young Fairbanks, AK 226.0 lbs. June 23Dan Orion
Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners
1stKevin Ulrich Eagle River, AK 202.6 lbs. Aug 5 Dan Orion
2nd Steve Hanna Emmett, ID 140.0 lbs. Aug 5 Sea Quester
Silver Derby – Overall Leaders
1st Aksel Hutchinson Valdez, AK 15.62 lbs. Aug 11 Amanda Rose
2nd Daniel Schneider Anchorage, AK 16.64 lbs. Aug 4 Sea Duck
3rd Leslie West Provo, UT 16.48 lbs. Aug 11 Sea Duck