VALDEZ, Alaska – James Hixon of Fayetteville, North Carolina reeled in a nice silver salmon Saturday to kick off the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby. Hixon’s 11.28-pound silver salmon put him at the top of the leaderboard the first day of the Silver Derby and netted him the first-place daily prize July 23. Chuck Selman is currently in second place overall with a 10.52-pound silver salmon, and William Boswood Jr. is in third place overall with a 9.88-pound silver salmon.
The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby runs through September 4 and has daily first- and second-place prizes, as well as a $10,000 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. In addition to overall cash prizes and daily first- andsecond-place prize winners, Valdez Fish Derbies will be hosting a Women’s Silver Salmon Derby August 13. There will also be 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 29.
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. An emergency order has increased the bag limit to 12 pink salmon per day and 24 fish in possession in the vicinity of Valdez has gone in effect.
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 fishing out toward Montague Island has been producing consistent catches or halibut but say that fishing has improved inside Prince William Sound. Lingcod season opened July 1stand anglers are having good success in the Gulf. ADF&G reports that most king salmon are getting picked up out by Cape Cleare and Montague Island. Joseph Montes of Silverdale, WA said they brought in a few nice lingcod aboard their boat last week. “The biggest one was almost as tall as me and I’m 5’8”. Not a big guy, but that’s pretty big for a lingcod.”
Valdez Fish Derbies is now gearing up for the 2022 Valdez Women’s Silver Salmon Derby. The event will feature a new Friday night event “Coho Cruise Night” Friday, August 12th and cash and prizes will be awarded for the top 3 largest fish caught Saturday, August 13th. Women’s Silver Salmon Derby Page on the Valdez Fish Derbies website has all the information.