To say that Alaska is a dream-come-true of fishermen young and old is an understatement. “The Great Land” boasts fantastic angling opportunities, mesmerizing landscapes, and thousands of miles of prolific waters – almost 34,000 miles, to be precise. That’s more than all other US states have combined. It’s no wonder fishing is a way of life here.
Among the many trademark game fish species, none is more iconic than Halibut. There’s no place on the planet where these Flatfish are as big as they are in Alaska. The Halibut season opener on March 7 is a big event, and fishermen come from far and wide to make the most of it.
The Gulf of Alaska is the epicenter of Halibut fishing, and there are many towns, inlets, and islands to explore. But where do you start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! To make your trip planning easier, we’ve compiled a list of the most promising Halibut fishing spots in the state. Check them out!
Where better to start than in the Halibut fishing capital of the world? That’s the well-earned nickname of Homer, a small and infinitely beautiful city on the coast of Kachemak Bay. There’s hardly a better place than Homer to go after “barn door” Halibut. It only seems natural that it’s at the top of our list.
While getting to Homer from Anchorage will take several hours, the trip will be worth it, and the views along the way are breathtaking. Here in the port, you’ll find plenty of boats ready to take you on your fishing adventure. Halibut ranging from 10–400 pounds are in the cards, so for trophy chasers, this is the place to be.
Halis with their weight in triple digits are fierce fighters, and they’re a challenge to land even for the most experienced of anglers. Come in summer, and you can even participate in the Homer Halibut Tournament. If you don’t want to battle giants, there’s more than enough “chicken” Halibut for you to practice. These smaller fish weigh up to 40 pounds, make for the most delicious table fare, and they’ll still give you a workout before you get them into the boat.
The appeal of Homer isn’t just in the fishing – though the action on the water contributes significantly. You can enjoy your days exploring the Spit lined with cafes, galleries, and stunning vistas. You can go on a hike in the Kachemak Bay State Park, join an eco-safari, or spend a few days here and do it all.
For anglers who’d like to fish for Halibut off the beaten path, Seward might be a good fit. The fjords and mountains of southern Alaska are sure to make you fall in love with them, but it’s the fishing that will draw you in.
Here, the vast and productive Ressurection Bay is at your disposal, which means plenty of fishing grounds to explore and even more Halibut to catch. The unique appeal of Seward is the variety of its fishing grounds. You can fish for good-eating Halis not too far from the Seward Harbor, or head out into the deep waters and explore coves, sounds, and narrows where “barndoor” Halibut thrive. In Seward, anglers are spoiled for choice both when it comes to the number of fishing grounds and the size of fish.
To visit fishing grounds that are further out, full days charters are recommended. When you get off the boat, there’s plenty to do in Seward, too. Kenai Fjords National Park offers wildlife sightings and astounding views of glaciers, fjords, and mountains. If you like some competitive fishing, you can enter the yearly Halibut Tournament in Seward and maybe take home rewards and glory.
There’s no talking about Halibut fishing in Alaska, without making a stop at the Last Frontier’s capital. Even though it’s got a lot fewer people than Anchorage, Juneau has excellent Halibut fishing conditions. There’s no shortage of professional captains or fishing spots to explore, especially during the warmest months of the year.
The city is surrounded by channels, bays, and inlets, most of which have their fair share of Halis. Gastineau Channel is the first of many places where you can cast your line, and land more-than-decent Halibut for dinner. On longer expeditions, you can visit some of the inlets and nearby bays. For “barn door” Halibut, heading to Chatham Straight is the best option.
Juneau might not be the easiest place to access, seeing that you can only get to it by plane or boat. However, this is one of the top Halibut fishing spots in Alaska, so it’s well worth the effort. Once you get there, why not make the most of it? Dog sledding around glaciers, visiting ice caves, ziplining, and hiking are just a few of the activities you can enjoy here. Along with fabulous fishing, of course.
The Emerald Isle of Alaska is every nature lover’s heaven, the best place to visit when you need a fresh perspective on Alaskan life. The only way to get here is by flying in from Anchorage to the city of Kodiak or Dutch Harbor. From there, you can move on to your fishing trip.
Kodiak Island is famous for its population of bears, but the number of Halibut is equally impressive. There are real underwater giants living in these waters, including ones that can weigh 300 pounds and more. These beasts present the challenge of a lifetime to reel in, and they usually feed in the waters up to 200 feet deep. You’ll find smaller specimens in Kiliuda Bay, where water is usually around 100 feet. Another hotspot is Sitkalidak Island.
There’s a lot for you to do around Kodiak Island even when you’re not fishing. Water sports like kayaking are very popular, there are different parks and beaches to explore, and you can even book a flightseeing tour to admire the island from above. Sightings of sea lions, humpback whales, otters, and even dolphins are all more than possible in the summer.
You’ll find the quaint city of Sitka not so far from Alaska’s capital, right in the heart of Baranof Island. From here, you can easily access the productive waters of the Gulf of Alaska – Halibut’s favorite playground. And the favorite playground of fishermen as well.
When you come to Alaska’s first city, you get the peace and quiet of a small town with the fast and furious action on the water. Halibut here might not be the biggest in the state, but they make up for that in numbers. Flatties in this region stay in the 100-pound range, while most of them are “chicken” Halibut, perfect for cooking. This means that after you’ve had your fill of fishing battles, you can enjoy delicious flaky Halibut fillets for dinner.
Just like the rest of our picks, Sitka is a fun place to visit. Tucked in between the snow-capped mountains and hugged by forests, anything from hiking to canoeing is fair game. Here, the wilderness is a hop, skip, and jump away from the town’s center, so you get the best of both worlds at your fingertips.
Make the Most of Halibut Fishing in Alaska This Season!
It’s clear that Alaska offers some of the best Halibut fishing in the country, if not the very best. The size of the fish, the sheer number of fishing spots, and the dazzling beauty of Alaska are more than enough to reel you in. The season opener is upon us, so choose one of these hotspots and check for yourself just how epic fishing in Alaska can be!
Do you have any stories about Halibut fishing in Alaska that you’d like to share? Is there another spot that should be on the list? Let us know in the comments below.