Halibut fishing in Alaska is a one of a kind experience and we got you covered with everything you’ll need to know to haul in a legendary fish! In this article AlaskaExplored will provide you with detailed stats, information, and charter recommendations. So cast out a line, crack a beer, and let us do the work for you.
Article Overview: Halibut fishing in Alaska
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Halibut Fishing in Alaska: What you Need to Know
Halibut fishing in Alaska is a must-do for any fishing enthusiast. Alaska is known for its vast and pristine waters that are home to some of the world’s largest halibut. If you’re planning a trip to Alaska and fancy yourself an angler, you should definitely make halibut fishing a priority.
The average price for halibut fishing in Alaska varies depending on the outfitter, the length of the trip, and the region of Alaska. Generally, a full-day trip can cost anywhere from $300 – $600 per person.
With thousands of miles of coastline, there are plenty of great halibut fishing spots in Alaska. We’ll cover some of the remote areas like Prince of Whales Island; as well as some of the more accessible locations, like Homer and Seward. All of the locations here are areas known for their abundant halibut populations and picturesque scenery.
The best time of year to go halibut fishing in Alaska is during the summer months, typically from May through September. During this time, the waters are warmer, and the halibut are more active. How convenient for us fisher folk!? I know I don’t like fishing in the cold rain.
Alaska Halibut: Facts
Halibut are known for their delicate, flaky texture and mild flavor, making them a prized fish for fisherfolk and seafood lovers alike. The unique species of fish can grow to enormous sizes, the largest halibut ever caught weighed in at over 500 pounds.
Females are typically larger than males and can grow to be significantly larger in size. Additionally, female halibut have a slightly rounder body shape and a broader head than males.
The average size of a halibut caught in Alaska are generally between 15 and 30 pounds, with fish in the 50 to 100-pound range also common. And honestly, these “chickens” as they’re referred to, are the best tasting halibut you can catch. Everyone wants a photo with the biggest fish in the sea, but if its the meat you’re after, you’ll be happy with a couple 30 pounders.
The halibuts unique shape and flathead allow them to camouflage on the ocean floor. Their bodies are compressed laterally, making them wider than they are thick. Both of their eyes are on the same side of their head, which allows them to easily bury themselves in the sand or mud.
Due to their bottom-dwelling habits, halibut can be challenging to catch, and special techniques such as bottom bouncing and jigging are often used to lure them out of their hiding places. If you go with an experienced guide they’ll have everything you need.
When Should You Go Halibut Fishing in Alaska?
Halibut season usually doesn’t open until February or March. During the winter months the halibut travel far offshore in deep waters to spawn. For up to date info on season openings, catch limits, and management measures, check out NOAA fishers.
Rough seas and inclement weather in the winter and spring months can make it difficult or even dangerous to fish. It’s important to keep an eye on weather forecasts and plan your trip accordingly. For this reason, many charters don’t even book trips until the summer months.
The absolute best time of year to go halibut fishing in Alaska is in the summer months, from May through September. The waters are warmer, the weather is generally better and more predictable, and the halibut are more active. Win, win, win!
What Do You Need To Go Halibut Fishing in Alaska?
Halibut fishing in Alaska can be an exciting and memorable experience, but it’s important to have the right gear and equipment to ensure a safe and successful trip. If you’re using a trusted charter, they’ll likely provide almost everything you need, but it’s still good to know and confirm that they’ll have these important items.
- Fishing license: Make sure you get a fishing license, no ifs ands or buts about it. You’ll need a valid Alaska sport fishing license before you can legally fish in Alaskan waters. Some charter companies will offer them, but make sure before you arrive. You can also get one online at the Alaska Department of Fish & Game.
- Fishing gear: A typical halibut fishing setup may include a rod that’s at least 6 feet long with a reel capable of holding at least 150 yards of line. Your charter will provide this.
- Safety equipment: This includes a personal flotation device (PFD), which is required by law for all passengers on a boat. It’s also a good idea to bring a first-aid kit and any necessary medications. I’ve seen a lot of hooks in things that aren’t fish, if ya know what I mean…
- Weather-appropriate clothing: This includes warm layers, waterproof outerwear, and sturdy footwear with good traction. It’s also a good idea to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. The last thing you want is to be miserable an hour into a full day on the water. Come prepared!
- Food and water: Most charters will offer water, but alot don’t provide any food. Confirm with your charter what exactly they offer and plan accordingly. Most will allow moderate alcohol consumption, just don’t get hammered.
Best Halibut Fishing in Southeast Alaska
Southeast Alaska is known for its excellent halibut fishing opportunities, and there are several locations in the region that offer great experiences. Here are a few of the best options for halibut fishing in Southeast Alaska:
Halibut Fishing in Sitka, Alaska
Sitka is located on the west coast of Baranof Island, and it’s known for its excellent halibut fishing. The deep waters around Sitka are home to large halibut populations, and many fishing charters depart from the Sitka harbor. In addition to halibut, you may also be able to catch other fish such as salmon and rockfish.
- Sitka Point Lodge and Fishing Charters takes care of everything. Airport pickup, listens, meals, lodging, and of course fishing. Packages start at $3,195.00/person for 3days/4nights. Address: P.O. Box 2194 Sitka, AK 99835 Phone: (888) 747 7406
- Fish Happens is run by Retired Navy Combat Veteran and lifelong sitka resident Chief Jeremy Downie. He runs full day fishing charters from $575/person. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (904)-361- 8824
Halibut Fishing in Juneau, Alaska
Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, offers access to the waters of the Inside Passage, which are home to halibut as well as other fish such as salmon and lingcod. Many fishing charters depart from the Juneau harbor, and there are several outfitters in the area that offer guided halibut fishing trips.
- Moore Charters caters to cruise ship cliental, or folks that don’t want to spend all day out on the water. They offer 4 hour halibut trips starting at $325/person. Email: email@example.com Phone: 907-723-8472
- Cast Away Charters offers whale watching tours, water taxi’s, and fishing charters. Their 4 hour halibut and rockfish charter starts at $1050/4 people. Email: Castawaycharters49@gmail.com Phone: 907-796-9906
Halibut Fishing in Ketchikan, Alaska
Ketchikan is located on the southern tip of the Inside Passage, and it’s known for its excellent halibut fishing. The waters around Ketchikan are home to large halibut populations, as well as other fish such as salmon and rockfish. Many fishing charters depart from the Ketchikan harbor, and there are several outfitters in the area that offer guided halibut fishing trips.
- Ketchikan Fishing Company is helmed by Captain Todd Monson, a long time Florida angler turned alaskan. He offers a slew of charter options, including 2-3 hour quick trips at $200/person. (great for kids) Email: KetchikanFishingCompany@gmail.com Phone: (907)220-4101
- Rainy Day Charters boasts a 32 foot custom welded aluminum walk around boat. They offer full day salmon & halibut charters from $450/person. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 907-821-1460
Halibut Fishing in Petersburg, Alaska
Located on Mitkof Island, Petersburg offers access to the waters of Frederick Sound, which are known for their large halibut populations. Many fishing charters depart from the Petersburg harbor, and there are several outfitters in the area that offer guided halibut fishing trips.
- Indigenous Adventures is a native owned and operated business. They offer full day halibut fishing trips staring at $300/person. Address: 101 N Nordic Dr, Petersburg, AK 99833 Phone: 907-518-4054
- Rocky Point Resort offers guided or self guided boat rentals. 2 nights and 3 days of fishing, gear, meals, and lodging starts at $900/person. Email: email@example.com Phone: 907-518-0594
Best Halibut Fishing Around Anchorage, Alaska
If you’re just trying to add a day of fishing onto your Alaska trip and don’t have the time to get to more remote spot, that’s totally fine. There are some great options for halibut fishing that are within a few hours of Anchorage.
Halibut Fishing in Whittier, Alaska
Located about an hour south of Anchorage, the small town of Whittier offers access to the Prince William Sound, which is home to halibut, salmon, and other fish. Check out our article for more info: Whittier, Alaska Fishing Charters: Guide & Charter Recommendations
Halibut Fishing in Seward, Alaska
While Seward is located on the Kenai Peninsula and is a bit farther from Anchorage than Whittier, it’s still a popular option for halibut fishing. For a full guide and charter recommendations, check out our article: Seward Alaska Fishing Charters: Full Guide & Charter Recommendations
Halibut Fishing in Homer, Alaska
While Homer is about a four-hour drive from Anchorage, it’s worth considering if you’re looking for a great halibut fishing experience. It’s dubbed “The halibut fishing capital of the world” after all. Check out our full guide and Fishing Charter Recommendations for Homer, Alaska.
Other Spots for the Best Halibut Fishing in Alaska?
Halibut Fishing on Kodiak Island, Alaska
Located in the Gulf of Alaska, Kodiak Island offers access to some of the state’s best halibut fishing. The island is home to large halibut populations, as well as other fish such as salmon and rockfish.
- Kodiak Marine Charters is a husband and wife run operation. Full day charters start at $450/person, they also offer private charters. Address: St. Paul Harbor-Slip B12 Kodiak, AK 99615 Phone: 907•313•6989
- Alaskan Outcast Adventures offers half day charters at $300/person or full day charters at $400/person. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 508-264-0413
Halibut Fishing in Valdez, Alaska
Located on the Prince William Sound, Valdez offers access to deep waters that are home to large halibut. In addition to fishing, Valdez is also known for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities.
- Big Alaska Fishing Charters offers full day charters starting at $400/person and overnight halibut/combination trips starting at $800/person. Email: email@example.com. Phone: (907) 903-8273
- Valdez Saltwater Adventures has a fleet of boats that offer full day combination fishing charters starting at $450/person in peak season. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 907-304-3474