Try your luck at reeling in a trophy fish and you might catch a cash prize! Alaska fishing derbies are a favorite summer activity for visitors and locals alike. Every summer, derbies in several towns across the state attract crowds of anglers eager to win big prizes. But before you throw out a line, be sure to purchase your fishing license and a derby ticket! Here’s a roundup of some favorite fishing derbies around the Last Frontier. See you on the water!
An angler’s paradise, Valdez has hosted fishing derbies since 1952, tempting fishermen to buy a ticket for their chance to win up to $15,000 at a time. Derbies in Valdez range from the Halibut Derby, the Salmon Derby and the Kids’ Derby, from May 17 through Aug. 31. Tickets cost $10 per day per species or $50 per season per species. At the end of your day on the water, be sure to circle back to the Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in station located on Chitina Street, half a block from the harbormaster’s office, to see how your catch measures up.
Located just over two hours by car from Anchorage, the Silver Salmon Derby in Seward, Alaska, is one of the biggest fishing events of the summer! This year’s derby runs Aug. 9–17, with prizes that include $50,000 and a 2014 Chevy Silverado Double Cab 4X4. The entry fee is $10 a day or $30 for the entire derby.
The Golden North Salmon Derby in Alaska’s state capital of Juneau lasts only a few days – so fish often and early! The derby runs Aug. 8–10 and tickets are $40 for adults and $10 for kids under 12 years old. This year, as a way to honor the 67th anniversary of the derby, prizes will be awarded to the first 67 contestants who catch the largest salmon. The derby also includes a photo contest, with the winner receiving tickets to next year’s event.
Regarded widely as the halibut fishing capital of the world, thousands of anglers flock to Homer, a quaint fishing town on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, from mid-May to mid-September to partake in world-class fishing. In its 28th year, the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby is the longest running halibut fishing competition with the largest total payout in Alaska. The derby lures fishermen to the area with the hopes of catching one of more than 100 tagged fish, with prizes that include $50,000 and a Ford F-150 pickup truck. If you catch a previous year’s tagged fish, you’ll win 100 “Homer bucks” that can be used like cash at participating local businesses. In 2013, someone actually caught the $50,000 tagged fish but hadn’t purchased a derby ticket and was unable to claim the prize. Tickets to this year’s Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby can be purchased all over town.