Fishing Report: Fairbanks woman takes silver salmon’s top prize at Valdez Fish Derbies, 316.8-pounder was the heaviest halibut

Fishing Report: 316.8-pounder wins Valdez Halibut Derby
Published: Sep. 7, 2023 at 11:01 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - With fish derbies all across the state all year long, fishermen may not have hooked just a big fish, but a big cash prize as well.

The popular and historic Valdez Fish Derbies that concluded Sept. 3 featured some hefty halibut and some stout silver salmon on the lines.

The heaviest halibut on record was 374.0 pounds caught by Valdez’s Frieda Wiley in 2017. Although this year’s winner wasn’t as weighty, it was the biggest since Wiley set the record six years ago.

On August 20, Shelbyville Tennessee’s hauled in a 316.8-pound halibut, weighing more than 60 pounds heavier than Jim Jack’s runner-up fish — a 252-pounder caught on July 28.

Casey not only takes home a lot of fresh meat, but a $10,000 cash prize.

In the Silver Salmon Derby, Fairbanks’ Lavonne Baysinger got atop the leaderboard on August 4 with a 14.54-pounder and was never challenged. Her winning catch is the earliest in the Silver Salmon Derby since 2017 when a 15.62 lb fish was caught on July 26. Baysinger also takes home a $10,000 prize.

While the final casts have been made in the 2023 derbies, plans for 2024 are already in motion with the halibut derby running May 25-September 1 and the Silver Salmon Derby July 20-September 1.