The coho salmon enhancement program at the Solomon Gulch Hatchery has developed into one of the largest sport fisheries in Alaska. Around the beginning of August, the coho salmon begin to return to the Port Valdez, and trolling by boat is the preferred method of fishing. The best time for sport fishing coho from the shore is late August through Labor Day. By Labor Day weekend, they are close to shore and accessible by shore-side anglers and boaters alike.
Coho are also known locally as silver salmon. They are great fighters, ranging in size from 8 to 16 pounds, and can be quite acrobatic at the end of a fishing line. The annual returns of adult coho to the hatchery averages about 160,000 fish.
Valdez has gained great popularity for its silver fishing. Valdez Fish Derbies sponsor several events around the pink and silver salmon seasons in the Valdez area. These include the Valdez Silver Salmon Derby and the Valdez Women’s Derby. More information on all of the Valdez Fishing Derbies can be found at www.valdezfishderbies.com
VFDA also has created the largest pink salmon sport fishery in Alaska. Shore-side anglers can try their luck around the hatchery, beginning around the fourth of July. Allison Point Campground and along Dayville Road are the popular spots to try your luck.
Funding for VFDA’s coho programs are paid for almost exclusively by funds from the sale of pink salmon, which reduces the number of fish available to the commercial fishermen. The City of Valdez also funds the feeding of the coho salmon through a generous annual program grant.