THE BIG PRIZE GETS AWAY FROM ANGLER WITHOUT DERBY TICKET
VALDEZ, Alaska – Valdez Fish Derbies Clerk Larry Kepplar weighed in a 15.30-pound silver salmon last week at the weigh-in station, but the angler who caught it did not buy a derby ticket. The fish would have landed the angler at least a first-place daily prize and put them in contention for the $10,000 cash prize. The angler was not interested in sharing their name, for obvious reasons, but was brave and curious enough to visit the weigh-in station for an official weight. “It happens every year,” said Derby Coordinator Dana Morales. “It’s just a $10 daily ticket but you’ve got to buy it before you go fishing for a chance to win the big prizes.”
With one week left in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby, Deanna Cox of Valdez, Alaska is leading with a 14.42-pound fish caught August 16. There is a silver salmon bigger than the derby leader swimming around in Prince William Sound, but whether an angler with a Valdez Fish Derby ticket will catch it and weigh it in before the end of the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby is anyone’s guess.
George Levassuer of Valdez, Alaska is currently second place in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby with a 14.28-pound fish and Robert Roll of Flower Mound, Texas is holding onto third place with a 13.90-pound silver salmon. In addition to the cash prizes for the biggest fish in the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby, anglers are also fishing for tagged fish. Michaela Wilde of Valdez caught one of the 20 silver salmon tagged by Valdez Fish Derbies. She won an exclusive Valdez Fish Derbies hoodie, Prospector Gift Card, and a Gift Certificate for Fish Processing. There are 19 other fish out in the waters of Prince William Sound and three of them would net derby anglers cash prizes. The top prize in the tagged fish contest is $10,000 cash.
The silvers are moving further into Port Valdez and derby anglers have been very successful just off Gold Creek. George Levasseur caught a 14.28-pound silver August 23 by Gold Creek and Robert Roll of Flower Mound, Texas who was fishing on his boat the Lisa Michelle caught a 13.90 pound fish the same day. Levasseur said they went back to Gold Creek on the 24th and Roll picked up a 13.48-pound silver that netted him the first-place daily prize. Anglers are catching silvers from shore at Allison Point but it has been slow. Levasseur said the silvers are feeding well in the Port due to an abundance of herring this season and he expects a big derby winner to come in the last week of the derby. Spinners, pixies, or a small piece of bait mooching are all good options for those targeting salmon from shore.
Halibut and rockfish catches continue to be good in Prince William Sound and halibut are getting picked up inside the sound as halibut move into bays, following salmon. Jeremy Smith of North Pole is still leading the Valdez Halibut Derby with a 170.0-pound halibut. Al White of Wasilla is currently in second place with a 166.8-pound halibut and Chris Milles of Melbourne, Florida is hanging onto third place with his 150.0-pound catch.