Category Archives: Halibut Fishing

Halibut Fishing Suggestions

Note: It was pointed out to me this pass summer by several of our Halibut Charter friends that the previous prime time tide charts we provided on the website were misleading. Actually, prime time for Halibut fishing occurs all summer long. Charter operators operate every day, but it is important to ask the operator about any weather advisories. Everyone gets sick and you do not catch many fish when the waves are high!

Halibut fishing occurs year around in the Cook Inlet. However, the Halibut do not migrate out of the deep water until late March or early April. Serious Halibut fishing begins out of Ninilchik on charter boats when the Deep Creek Tractor Pull opens in April and continues through September. Tide tables for the summer months can be obtained from the NOAA website or from any Alaskan tackle shop, Trustworthy Hardware, or Fred Meyers in Soldotna.

From mid-June through July, huge numbers of 20 to 60 pound (prime quality) Halibut feed in the 100 to 250 feet waters of the central Cook Inlet. Due to the extreme tide changes in the Cook Inlet (10 to 30 feet), most charter boats concentrate fishing 4 to 6 hours over the tide change reducing the flow rate of water over the bottom where the fish are
located. Actual tide changes at the fishing locations in the inlet vary by distance from Deep Creek and the water depth at which you are fishing. Generally the morning tide changes are better than the afternoon due to the warming of the air over the inlet and thus the increase in wind and wave action. 

In late July and the Sockeye (Red) salmon enter the rivers to spawn, plus the Chinook (King) salmon begin to spawn, and huge amounts of salmon pieces begin flowing out of the rivers. The Halibut feed heavy on these pieces as do the sharks. It becomes much more difficult to keep your Halibut baits away from the sharks. Also as the water and air over the Cook Inlet warm during the months of July and August, the winds and waves of the Cook Inlet become more pronounced and more frequent.

There are many listings for Halibut charter companies on the web that leave from Ninilchik (Deep Creek), Anchor Point and Homer. Also charters work out of Seward and Valdez. If you need help in locating a charter or making a reservation for a
Halibut trip, just let us know at info@kasilofrvpark.com and we will provide assistance with some of the charter companies we have had success with in the past.

Nice catch
Two big halibut
Group halibut catch
Cleaning big halibut
Boys and their halibut catch
Another good catch
Two big ones for Sara
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Halibut Fishing

As you travel south along the Kenai Peninsula, you will drive through the small town of Ninilichik.  There will be fairly large boats parked along the highway with large racks to hold fish.  Further on a ways you will see a cannery followed by a road leading off to the left with a sign that says ‘Boat Launch’.

This is the Deep Creek boat launch where large tractors hook to the boat trailers to launch the boats off the beach into the salt water of the Cook Inlet.  From here, the boats will travel 20 to 30 miles down the Cook Inlet to the fabulous fishing grounds for Halibut.  At the end of the fishing trip, the tractors will again hook to the boat trailer and back it into the water of the Cook Inlet to recapture the boat for the trip back to Ninilichik.

Once to the fishing grounds the fun begins.  Fishing on the ocean bottom with heavy weights, the Halibut will take the herring bait and start swimming away.  Then begins the fight of pulling the flat fish to the surface of the water.  The fishing grounds in these waters generally run from 100 to 250 feet deep.

After a lengthy fight, you are reward with a nice fish.  The boat captain or his mate will gaff the Halibut and stow it away in the hold until the trip is over.  He will bait your hook again and then it is another wait until the next one decides your bait is the most interesting of those others from the boat.  And the fun begins again.

 

So after everyone on board has had their fun and gotten their limit of two Halibut, the boat returns to shore, is pulled from the ocean by the tractor again and you get to hang your fish along with the other on a rack so every one can take a picture of them. The guide cleans your fish and packages them so you can take them home for future delicious dinners.

Or you can drive further south to the tip of the peninsula and out on the Homer spit where the Halibut boats are already launched and are waiting for you in the harbor.  Most of the boats in Homer hold six fishermen and travel out around the tip of Kachemak Bay for the big Halibut.  Here you will fish in 300 to 500 feet of water where the big ones lay.

Out there it is not unusual to catch a big one upwards of 150 pounds during the trip.  On one trip we caught 12 fish totaling over 1100 pounds.  Five fish were over 110 pounds with the largest weighing in at 120.  However, we were fishing in 530 feet of water and had sore muscles for several days.  Nobody complained about it though.

There is always the chance for the really big one though.  Homer has a Halibut Derby every year with fishermen buying tickets for the biggest fish caught.  It is not uncommon for the largest fish of the year to weigh over 300 pounds with a payoff sometimes as high as $35,000.  This particular fish was 84 inches long and weighed 349 pounds.  Unfortunately the fisherman that caught it didn’t buy a Derby ticket.  By the way, this one wouldn’t fit on the rack!

Learn more on our halibut fishing suggestions page.

 

Launching boats at Deep Creek tractor launch.
Group halibut catch
Tom’s halibut catch
Another good catch
Two big ones for Sara
Cleaning big halibut
Boys and their halibut catch
Two big halibut
Nice catch
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