Valdez Silver Derby Opens With 9-Plus-Pound Early Leader

The following is courtesy of Valdez Fish Derbies:

Fairbanks’ Jephery Donaldson is the early Valdez Silver Salmon leader after catching a 9.06-pounder. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

VALDEZ, Alaska – Jephery Donaldson of Fairbanks reeled in a nice salmon Saturday to kick off the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby. Donaldson’s 9.06-pound silver salmon put him at the top of the leaderboard the first day of the Derby and netted him the 1st place daily prize July 22nd. Callie Donaldson was the 2nd place daily winner on Saturday and is currently in 2nd place overall with an 8.66-pound silver salmon. Both Jephery and Callie were fishing aboard “Slayin’ AK.” Crista is currently in 3rd place overall with a 7.90-pound silver salmon she caught aboard the Crista June.

Callie Donaldson of Fairbanks (top) sits in second (8.66) pounds, while Christa Anderson of Valdez (7.90) is third through the opening weekend of fishing

The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby runs now through September 3rd and features daily 1st and 2nd place prizes, as well as a $10,000 Grand prize for the largest silver salmon caught during the season. The cost of a daily derby ticket is $10 and a season ticket is $50. In addition to overall cash prizes and daily 1st and 2nd place prize winners, Valdez Fish Derbies will be hosting a Women’s Silver Salmon Derby August 12th. Valdez Fish Derbies is also hosting a tagged fish contest. There are 20 fish tagged in Prince William Sound and when an angler buys a derby ticket and catches a tagged silver salmon, they have the chance to win $10,000 cash and 19 other prizes. There will also be a bonus $500 cash prize for the angler catching the largest Silver on Big Prize Friday, July 28th, and September 3rd

On Saturday, the harbor was not only busy with anglers coming to port with halibut and silver salmon, but young anglers competing in the Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby. Several anglers at the fillet tables had carts with pink salmon, silver salmon and an occasional king salmon. Others came to Port with carts full of halibut, lingcod, and rockfish. After a rainy couple of weeks in Valdez, anglers were treated to sunshine and blue skies Saturday.

The Valdez Halibut Derby is going strong and boats are still returning to Port Valdez with nice catches of halibut, lingcod, and other bottom fish. Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) reports that most anglers are picking up bigger fish further out near the entrances, and other passages. They suggest fishing around Perry Island for those wanting to stay in closer. Lingcod season opened July 1st and anglers are having good success in the Gulf. ADF&G reported that schools of pelagic rockfish have been present inside Prince William Sound and can be located by watching your fish finder around rocky structures. “Several trophy size rock fish have been brought in this past week,” said Valdez Fish Derbies volunteer Ricky Colapietro.

Valdez Fish Derbies is now gearing up for the Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby. The event will feature a Friday night kickoff event August 11th centered around the theme “Pirates.” Cash and prizes will be awarded for the top 3 largest fish caught Saturday, August 12th. Registration is at the Valdez Prospector August 9th through 12th.  Women’s Silver Salmon Derby Pageon the Valdez Fish Derbies website has all the information.

Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders

1st         Troy Dolge                  Copper Center, AK       203.0 lbs.         June 4              Reflection
2nd        Lucas Butkiewicz         Albemarle, NC             161.6 lbs.         July 1               
3rd        Andrew Haines             Eagle River, AK           151.4 lbs.         July 15             Patriot

Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners

1st         Bill Roth                      Fairbanks, AK              141.4 lbs.         July 22             RockABilly

2nd        Briana Vera                  Wasilla, AK                  140.4 lbs.         July 18             Reflection

Silver Salmon Derby – Overall Leaders

1st        Jephery Donaldson       Fairbanks, AK              9.06 lbs.           July 22             Slayin’ AK
2nd        Callie Donaldson          Fairbanks, AK              8.66 lbs.           July 22             Slayin’ AK
3rd        Crista Anderson            Valdez, AK                   7.90 lbs.           July 22             Crista June

For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: