An angler’s paradise, Alaska offers some of the world’s best fishing. It can be as simple as casting your line right off the side of the road, joining a boat charter, or hopping in a floatplane to a secluded spot where you can reel in one of the nearly 630 fish species that inhabit the state’s waters, including halibut. That mild white fish with a sweet taste similar to crab is a favorite.
You can head out on your own or join an expert captain on a halibut fishing charter to experience the thrill of reeling in a really big one. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports the state record for sport-caught halibut is a fish that was caught in 1996 weighing a whopping 459 pounds.
In a state so vast, the challenge usually isn’t catching fish, it’s deciding where to go.
What is the Best Month for Halibut Fishing in Alaska?
The most productive catches tend to be between May and September, although the halibut fishing season typically runs from February through December. Winter isn’t a good time as most halibut migrate out of the area to spawn. Many experienced Alaska halibut anglers believe the optimal time is just before, during, and after a high slack tide. That’s the easiest time to keep tackle near or on the bottom. Although a good captain will get to you the fish no matter what as they typically have a number of productive holes that work in various conditions.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently hosted an online fishing forum, ‘Beach Fishing for Halibut on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula‘ on its YouTube channel. The 20-minute video explains more about the timing and tides along with other helpful information to increase the odds of a catch along the lower Kenai Peninsula beaches.
Many come to fish in July, the busiest month of the year for tourism. But the “shoulder season” doesn’t necessarily mean the halibut fishing will be slower. If you plan your visit around late May/early June or September/early October, you can enjoy a vibe that’s much more relaxed minus the crowds, along with outstanding fishing.
Where is the Best Halibut Fishing?
Seward and Homer are often ranked the very best when it comes to halibut fishing in Alaska. Plus, they’re easily accessible from Anchorage. Seward is closer, a 2.5-hour drive or 4.5-hour train ride away. Homer is hard to beat, however, as “Alaska’s halibut capital” and the scenic 5-hour drive is an unforgettable adventure in itself. It boasts everything from dramatic mountain views to wildlife sightings of moose and Dall sheep, beluga whales in Turnagain Arm, beavers in Tern Lake, and bald eagles nearly everywhere.
After the highway rounds one final bend, dropping into Homer, it’s literally the end of the road. You’ll instantly feel the magic of this laid-back, eclectic town of fishermen and artists. Off the cruise circuit, appealing to the more adventure-minded, independent type of visitor, prime fishing for halibut can easily be reached only 40 to 80 minutes from the harbor.
Fishing for Halibut in Homer
Choose from a wide variety of half-day, full-day, or longer fishing charters that all begin from the small-boat harbor. There are hundreds of year-round charter and commercial boat operators, and that more than doubles in the summer months.
The halibut here average between 25 and 35 pounds but they can be as hefty as over 100 pounds. A limit of two fish per day per person is set by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, although catch-and-releasing fishing allows you to continue until you hook your desired fish. It also requires sport-fishing licenses for anyone between the ages of 16 and 60. You should consider applying in advance to make the process even easier.
Best Place to Stay in Homer
When it comes to places to stay for taking advantage of the best halibut fishing in Alaska, you’ll not only want to consider location but also comfort. Choose a place with a variety of accommodations, from spaces with historic charm to the most luxurious of rooms.
Land’s End Resort checks all the boxes as the only hotel on the Homer Spit, right at the tip, along the water’s edge. The staff has a wealth of local knowledge for booking fishing trips and other excursions, while its restaurant has a menu featuring the area’s famously tasty halibut, salmon, and oysters. Book your stay now for an unforgettable Halibut fishing experience.