Valdez Halibut Derby Update: 285-Pounder Still Leading

Edward Wahmann moved into third place in the Valdez Halibut Derby with a 126-plus-pound fish. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

The following is courtesy of Valdez Fish Derbies:


 VALDEZ, Alaska – Christine Ives of Fairbanks is still in the lead in the Valdez Halibut Derby with the 285.6 pound halibut she caught June 6th aboard theNunatak. David Stack of Tyler, Texas is still in 2nd place overall with the 158. 2 pound halibut he caught on June 6th. Stack caught his 158.2 pound halibut aboard the Sea Walker. Edward Wahmann of Tok, Alaska is currently in 3rd place overall with a 126.2 pound halibut caught June 8th aboard theNunatak. There’s a good chance, anglers will topple the leaders in 2nd and 3rd place but it is debatable whether anyone will be able to catch a fish larger than Ive’s 285.6 pounder.

Here’s a look at the weight of the winning fish in the Valdez Halibut Derby the last few years. In 2018, Patricia Johnson of Clovis, California won with a 285.8 pound halibut. In 2017, a 374.0 pound halibut caught by Frieda Wiley was the winner. A 374 pound halibut is much larger than Ives 285.6 pound halibut, but when gauging one’s chances it’s good to consider that Wiley’s catch was the largest fish caught on record in the Valdez Halibut Derby. In 2016 it was David Jamison of Fairbanks taking home the cash prize with a 253.0 pound halibut. In 2015 the grand prizewinner was a 196.2 pound halibut caught by Brad Burch of Clackamus, Oregon. In 2014, Scott Hebig of Wasilla, Alaska won the big money with a 203.6 pound halibut and in 2013 James Culley took home the big prize with a 325 pound halibut.

Boise’s Heather Ropelato’s 109-pound, 8-ounce fish was the weekly Valdez Halibut Derby winner. (VALDEZ FISH DERBIES)

When figuring odds, one could also look at when the winning fish have been caught. In 2018, the winning halibut was caught June 26th. In 2017, Wiley’s record-breaking fish was caught August 6th. In 2016 Jamison’s 253 pound halibut was caught May 29th and held on to win at the end of the derby. Although small, the winning fish in 2015 was caught August 26th. One never knows when the big fish will strike. The two things for certain are it could happen at any time and you must have a derby ticket when it does.

The weekly winners in the Valdez Halibut Derby were Heather Ropelato of Boise, Idaho. She reeled in a 109.8 pound halibut June 14th aboard the Red Head. Tallon Littlewood of Wasilla, Alaska won the 2nd place weekly prize with a 104.4 pound halibut he caught aboard the Reflection on June 10th. The winner of the Halibut Hullabaloo tournament and an extra $1,000 cash is Edward Wahmann of Tok, AK with a 126.2 pound halibut caught aboard theNunatak.

The Valdez Fish Derbies will be hosting the Kids Pink Salmon Derby Saturday, July 20th and the Women’s Silver Salmon Derby is slated for August 10thwith an opening event Friday, August 9th. For more information on the Valdez Derbies, visit:

Tallon Littlewood caught a 104-pound, 4-ounce fish.


Halibut Derby – Overall Leaders

1st        Christine Ives                  Fairbanks, AK            285.6 lbs.         June 6              Nunatak

2nd        David Stack                            Tyler, TX              158.2 lbs.         June 6               Sea Walker

3rd        Edward Wahmann                   Tok, AK             126.2 lbs.         June 8                Nunatak

Halibut Derby – Weekly Winners – Week #4

1st        Heather Ropelato                  Boise, ID                109.8 lbs.         June 14            Red Head

2nd        Tallon Littlewood            Lakeland, FL                104.4 lbs.         June 10            Reflection