Valdez Puts On A Party For The Ladies At Silver Salmon Derby

Leslie West of Provo, Utah, whose 16.48-pound fish won the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby. (VALDEZFISHDERBIES.CICOM)

The following press release is courtesy of Valdez Fish Derbies:

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.

Photos by ValdezFishDerbies


Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders

1st        Patricia Johnson           Clovis, CA                   285.8 lbs.         July 26             Harvester
2nd        Doug Cranor                Valdez, AK                  239.0 lbs.         June 23            Redhead
3rd        Russell Young             Fairbanks, AK              226.0 lbs.        June 23            Dan Orion

Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners

1st           Kevin Ulrich               Eagle River, AK         202.6 lbs.         Aug 5              Dan Orion
2nd        Steve Hanna                Emmett, ID                 140.0 lbs.         Aug 5              Sea Quester


Aksel Hutchinson’s 17.28-pound coho that leads the Silver Salmon Derby.

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