Valdez Silver Salmon Derby Off To Good Start

The following is courtesy of Valdez Fish Derbies:

James Sayre is the early leader in the Valdez Silver salmon Derby with this 11.48-pounder. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

VALDEZ, Alaska – James Sayre of Valdez, Alaska made his way to the Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in station Saturday to weigh-in the first silver salmon in the Valdez Derby. When asked what the secret was to landing a nice silver salmon this early in the season, Sayre responded: “Actually I tried mooching for the first time out at Knowles Head. He hooked up, brought him in. Pretty good fish!” Saturday was also the Valdez Kids Pink Salmon Derby day but Sayre didn’t have to wade through a sea of kids this year to weigh his fish as the Kids Derby was virtual. Kids fished in Valdez but to eliminate crowds at weigh in, kids posted their pictures on the Fish Derbies website for a chance to win prizes. Sayre reeled in his 11.48 pound silver salmon aboard a Valdez Outfitter rental boat to win the daily 1st place prize and take first place on the overall Silver Salmon Derby leader board. “You gotta have a derby ticket, said Sayre. “Gotta be in it to win it!”

Travis Garren of JBER, Alaska took the 2nd place daily prize with a 9.28 pound silver salmon caught aboard the Josie Whales. Crista Anderson, who won the 1st place daily prize on the first day of the Silver Salmon Derby last year, caught a 6.42 pound silver Saturday and is currently in 3rdplace on the leader board.  

Travis Garen with a 9.28-pounder. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby runs through September 6th and features daily 1st and 2nd place prizes, as well as a $5,000 Grand prize for the largest fish caught during the season. The cost of a daily derby ticket is $10 and a season ticket is $50.  

John Axelm caught this 153.4-pounder in the Valdez Halibut Derby to take the weekly prize. Below: Kalamazoo’s Glenn McDowell with a 139-plus-pound halibut. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

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. Now that silver season has started many charters are picking up silver salmon also on their way back to town. John Axhelm of North Pole won the weekly 1st place price in the halibut derby with a 153.4 pound halibut he caught aboard the Fish Whacker. Glenn McDowell of Kalamazoo, MI took 2nd place for the week with a 139.8 pound halibut. Glenn McDowell was very excited to reel in his sizeable fish: “We were just in the fish immediately; nailing halibut left and right. We got lingcod, yelloweye, different species. I needed one more big fish and I hooked into the halibut and we fought it for quite a long time; It was an absolute beast!” Jim Rothenbuhler of Salcha, Alaska is still in the lead in the Valdez Halibut Derby with a 201.2 pound fish he caught June 23rd.

Valdez Fish Derbies is now gearing up for Silver Salmon Big Prize Friday and the 2020 Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby. Big Prize Friday is July 31st and the angler catching the largest silver salmon that day will win $250 in addition to the regular prizes. The Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is Saturday, August 8th The Women’s Silver Salmon Derby Page on the Valdez Fish Derbies website has all the information. 

Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders

1st         Jim Rothenbuhler          Salcha, AK                   201.2 lbs.         June 23            The Bucketlist

2nd        Kenny Tussey              North Pole, AK            193.4 lbs.         July 5               Dan Orion

3rd        Andy Eiman                 Valdez, AK                   180.4 lbs.         July 18             Crista June

Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners

1st         John Axhelm                North Pole, AK            153.4 lbs.         July 25             Fish Whacker
2nd        Glenn McDowell          Kalamazoo, MI            139.8 lbs.         July 21             Arctic Warrior

Silver Salmon Derby – Overall Leaders

1st        James Sayre                 Valdez, AK                  11.48 lbs.         July 25             Rental VO
2nd        Travis Garren                JBER, AK                    9.28 lbs.           July 25             Josie Whales
3rd        Crista Anderson            Valdez, AK                  6.42 lbs.           July 25             Crista June

For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit: