Ever have a burning desire to visit Alaska? Or dreaming of fishing the waters of Alaska? The sights, the beauty, and the wildlife, the abundance of fishing opportunities – putting Valdez on your bucket list will ease that burning and if you are lucky, you can even win prizes for catching the heaviest fish by registering for the Annual Valdez Fish Derby. Men, Women and Children from around the world enjoy the fun competition. Derby dates and more information can be found at Valdez Fish Derbies Website. Just a few species you can catch below. (Main Image above by Natalie Gabler)
Road tripping to Valdez can start in Anchorage, Fairbanks or Tok. Travel the picturesque adventure corridor of Alaska. From Anchorage travel down the Glenn Highway, turn right and pick up the Richardson Highway at Glennallen. From Fairbanks, drive straight down the Richardson Highway, and from Tok, your journey takes you along the Glenn Highway-Tok Cutoff and merges into Richardson Highway.
The closer you get to Valdez, the more beautiful the scenery becomes as you pass such sights as the Worthington Glacier, views from Thompson Pass, and the majestic waterfalls of Horsetail and Bridal Veil Falls within Keystone Canyon. You probably don’t want to pass these all by, but stop at the pullouts available. Take photo’s, go for a hike, take in the views, and have a meal break while you breathe in the fresh mountain air.
When you reach Valdez, there are many options for camping. RV Parks & Campgrounds are in abundance within and around Valdez. Full Hookup, partial hookup, convenience stores and even Tent Camping can be found within the many parks. Also too, you will be close to the action – fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, is so close by you may never want to leave.
After checking in and setting up your home away from home on wheels, head to Dayville Road to see salmon spawning and hopefully to see Bears. Valdez is host to Brown and Black Bears, and during the summer months, you may even be introduced to their cubs. One local brown bear (pictured below) has been bringing her litter (which varies from 3 to 4 cubs) each year to Valdez and to the Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery on Dayville Road.
There are so many salmon around and spawning back to the Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery, that you will soon see why it is the largest pink salmon hatchery in North America. While at the Hatchery, take the self-guided visitor’s tour and learn about the life cycle of a salmon.
Armed with your fishing license, and your Derby ticket, remember you can’t fish within 300 yards of the hatchery, but you can try at 301 yards!
After you’ve caught your limit, go to the small boat harbor in downtown Valdez where fish cutters charge around $1.00 each to fillet your catch. If you’ve come from the Lower 48 USA States, you can take your catch over to Fish Central or Easy Freeze and have them ship it home, just make sure someone is organized to collect the delivery with special note “do not eat my fish!” written on the box.