Top Halibut Fishing in Alaska

Alaska has been a destination for halibut fishing for over a century. Back in the day, a huge difficulty for commercial fishermen was getting halibut shipped and to market before they spoiled. The glaciers in Alaska offered a solution to this problem; the halibut was packaged in wood boxes with glacier ice to prevent rotting, and it worked! 

A guest of Lisianski Inlet Lodge showing off his Halibut.

A guest of Lisianski Inlet Lodge showing off his Halibut.

Thus, commercial halibut fishing began in 1896 when a man named M. McCauley of Juneau, Alaska, shipped two tons of iced halibut to Portland, Oregon. By the early 1900s, 10% of the fish caught in Alaska were halibut, making Alaska the destination for halibut fishing.

Two guests struggle to hold up this monster halibut.

Two guests struggle to hold up this monster halibut.

Halibut are the largest of all the flatfishes. 

The largest halibut ever caught.

While they can live to be up to 40 years old, grow to over eight feet long, and weigh over 500 pounds, most halibut caught in the sport fishery will be 8-15 years old and weigh between 10 and 100 pounds. Few males exceed 80 pounds and generally all halibut over 100 pounds are females.

Halibut on the line!

Halibut can be found along the continental shelf of the North Pacific from Southern California to Nome, Alaska. While halibut have been recorded at depths of 3,600 feet, most are caught at depths of 90 to 900 feet. Halibut generally spend their winters in deeper waters where they spawn at depths of 600 to 1,500 feet during the period from November through March. Following spawning, halibut begin to migrate to shallower waters for the summer. Thus, Alaska is the prime location for halibut fishing.

Best Alaska Halibut Fishing Trips

Yakobi Island is an island in the Alexander Archipelago of southeastern Alaska, United States. Off Deer Harbor, almost any fish can be caught, including halibut. This location has several large areas that referred to as "chicken patches”, which are where the halibut are small but very numerous. It can practically be guaranteed that you will have a catch as soon as your gear hits the bottom. In fact, they might even get in the way when you are looking to catch other types of fish. 

large halibut

Even though it might take a few tries to get a halibut that is a decent size (20+ lbs), most people agree that the smaller halibut taste the best. The recovery from a halibut is about 50%, so for each 20 pounder that you catch, you’ll end up with 10 pounds of filets to take home! Another reason that the small ones are better to freeze and take home is that the large ones are usually female spawners, who will be providing the next generation of fishermen with halibut.

Halibut fishing is very good in other places as well, including Pelican, Alaska and it’s surrounding areas. The meatier halibut will often times lurk on top of a rocky pinnacle, or cruise around very fast, switching depths often. They have to be lured out of hiding so when fishing for these, it is common to anchor and "soak bait".  Usually after about an hour or less, the fish will show up. Anchoring by the current that is near where the halibut are like to be is a good strategy. The smell from the bait will lure the halibut up and they will follow it’s trail back to the boat.

Beautiful day to fish at the Lisianski Inlet Lodge & Charter.

Beautiful day to fish at the Lisianski Inlet Lodge & Charter.

A quick 45-minute seaplane ride from Juneau, nestled just two miles northwest of Pelican, where the town’s motto is literally “closest to the fish”, Lisianski Lodge is a dream destination. Welcoming newbies as well as professionals, the Lodge offers one of the best halibut fishing trips in Alaska.

Find out more about the other fish we have near the Lisianski Inlet Lodge including King Salmon, Lingcod, and many more!