Halibut Fishing

Large Halibut

This 168 lb. halibut made for some happy fishermen.

The mighty halibut is without a doubt the King of the Alaskan waters. They reach up to 500 lbs. and can tire the strongest fisherman. It isn’t uncommon to spend up to an hour bringing in one of these slabs or barn doors as they are called.

The Halibut is mostly a bottom dweller. They collect on humps on the ocean floor where the tides and the currents move the food to them. Using a fish finder, one may find these humps that rise up from the ocean floor and then drop anchor and drop a line. These humps can be recorded with gps devices and then found easily time and again.

Halibut fishing is done with a heavy rod and reel. Due to the tides and currents and the great depths, it is common to use 3 to 6 lbs. of sinker to get the line and bait to the bottom.

When the water is cooler in the spring and early summer, halibut will be found deeper… 400 feet or more. When the water warms, the halibut will come up shallower and may be found at 100 to 200 feet. Halibut will eat whatever comes their way but commonly used bait includes Herring or the bellies or heads of salmon.

The halibut has a white belly and a green to brown upper side. They have evolved to have both eyes on the same (upper) side of their head. Halibut are filleted in quarters or fourths.

Commercially, halibut are caught with long lines up to a mile long with hundreds of baited hooks spaced along them. Commercial fishing for halibut is a big business in Alaska, just as it is for the salmon.

Halibut are difficult to weigh in the field. The following chart has been developed by the International Pacific Halibut Commission after much research and is VERY accurate in determining halibut weight by measuring the length of the fish.