For wildlife viewing, breathtaking scenery, and spectacular hunting and fishing, few places can compete with Alaska – one of the wildest travel destinations in the country. During our Alaska trip, we visited the small town of Homer to catch some of the best halibut fishermen in the world. This post is sponsored by our partner Take Me Fishing ™ and all opinions are our own.
On the day of our fishing charter, we woke up just after sunrise to find our boat and crew ready and waiting to get in the water. Our boat for the day was the Zelie Rose, led by a seven season captain. The soft morning light illuminated the rugged snow-capped mountains above the bay in pastel pink.
We set course for our halibut hole and reach it when the sun penetrates the high mountains. At the captain’s command, the deck hand threw the anchor overboard. The steel chain clinked and made its way to the bottom of the bay – 150 feet below the surface.
The crew wasted no time baiting the large circular hooks with chunks of herring. We sank the bait on the ground to find a hungry halibut. It seemed like the first line hit rock bottom when we had our #FirstCatch. A few seconds later a second pole hit and we had another.
We all started reeling in our catches. It was halibut after halibut for over an hour. We threw the smaller ones back into the sea in search of a large halibut. The action could have lasted all afternoon, but we soon reached our daily limit (two halibut per person).
A few more hours on our journey, we went in search of a famous Alaskan salmon. We set up our down riggers and trolled across the bay with a large bait. The salmon proved elusive that afternoon but we didn’t mind as the Homer landscape more than made up for it.
Cook Inlet is surrounded by impressive mountains on both sides and is surrounded by natural beauty. On one side are the towering volcanoes of the Aleutian Islands and on the other side the mountains and glacier bays of the Kenai Fjords National Park. Even if you don’t have the best luck fishing (which is unlikely), you won’t be short of great views – maybe even orca or humpback whale watching.
After that we just had to clean our fish. With a few strokes of his razor, Captain Ethan pulled two large fillets on each side of our freshly caught halibut. With a quick lesson, we were able to help with the rest of our catch. We packed them in bags and put them on hold for the rest of our trip.
PLANNING A FISHING TRIP IN HOMER, ALASKA
Homer is a mecca for anglers. Every summer, this small town of only 5,000 people transforms into a bustling town full of eager fishermen. The Homer Spit fills from one end to the other with mobile homes and mobile homes.
And while the city is certainly busy, the fishing boats are even busier. The first thing to ensure when planning a fishing trip to Homer is your fishing boat or charter. Check out this interactive map and find the best fishing spots in Alaska – and any other state.
FISHERIES IN HOMER, ALASKA
Homer has hundreds of boats that you can fish all day with. However, if you want to fish in the midsummer months, it is best to book your charter in advance. We went halibut fishing with Ethan from Harder Charters and we can only recommend her.
HOMER HALIBUTE FISHERIES RULES
Fishing licenses – whether for Alaska or another state – can be purchased online. When planning your Homer fishing trip, keep in mind that halibut fishing is not permitted on Wednesdays.
HOMER HALIBUT FISHING FAQ
- What is the biggest halibut ever caught in Alaska? It depends on who you ask. There are stories of 600 pound halibut caught on the day with no documentation. The largest halibut caught in Alaska was 459 pounds in 1996.
- What is the average size halibut caught in Homer? The average halibut is 10-20 pounds, which still requires a good arm to curl up.
- What’s the best hook for halibut fishing? Great circle hook is the most common halibut in Alaska. Circle hooks effectively hook fish without harming them so that they can be loosened safely.
OTHER SPECIES OF FISH IN HOMER
In addition to the halibut fishing that the town of Homer is built on, there are many other species to fish for, such as red salmon, king salmon, silver salmon, coho salmon, stonefish, and lingcod. Fishing for salmon runs is very popular and can be done year round. Check out the fish species section on TakeMeFishing to learn more about the types of fish you will catch this summer and how to curl them in.
There are also several fishing competitions in Homer – the Jackpot Halibut Derby takes place every summer from May 15th to September 15th and the Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament takes place on March 15th.
SALMON FISHING IN HOMER ALASKA
- King Salmon: King Salmon’s fishing in Homer is good year round. These fish weigh an average of 15 to 20 pounds and can grow up to 60 pounds. The limit is one or two per person per day depending on the zone you fish in. You can catch a total of five king salmon between April 1st and October 1st, and the five fish limit is lifted from October 1st to April 1st, although the daily limit of one or two fish is still in effect.
- Silver salmon (Coho salmon): The silver salmon run begins in mid-July and can last until mid-September and reaches its peak in the second and third week of August. The limit is three silver salmon per person per day. Silver salmon averages six to eight pounds and can grow up to 30 pounds.
- Other salmon species caught in Homer are red salmon, pink salmon, and dog salmon
HALIBUTE RECIPES FROM HOMER ALASKA
The preferred method of cooking fresh halibut caught in Homer is to lightly fry and fry the fillets. Halibut cheeks are the best part of the fish so don’t forget about them. Halibut is a mild fish and takes on the flavors of what it is cooked with. We also grilled our halibut which we thought was best.
Get your fishing license before your next fishing adventure.