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Issue #2          May 2003

Alaska's Top Ten Halibut Fishing Hot Spots 

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 by John L. Beath copyright 2003


Underwater image of 125 pound halibut taking the bait with a Trophy Torch.

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Alaska’s Top Trophy Halibut Fisheries Throughout the salty coastlines that make Alaska so great and incredibly vast, the largest flatfish in the world – the Pacific halibut – roam the depths in search of steady food sources. From the southern reaches of Prince of Wales Island to the most outer reaches of the Aleutian Islands, hard-fighting halibut can be caught with regularity. Without question, Alaska’s waters provide the very best and most consistent halibut fishery in the world. But when it comes to catching trophy halibut in the triple digits, a few locales stand out from the rest. All of these locations are great and all of them could produce the biggest halibut of your life.

While many Alaskans will argue about favorite areas left out, let’s make it perfectly clear – any of Alaska’s saltwater sport fisheries could produce a 100-plus pounder on any given day during the spring, summer or fall months. The list below, in my opinion, contains the most consistent areas to catch halibut over 100 pounds. Ranking could be easily argued too; especially by the dedicated halibut charter skippers who day in and day out enjoy the bounty of their home waters. That’s why we won’t be ranking any of the locales with the exception of Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, which no doubt offers the most consistent opportunities to catch triple digit trophy halibut. The rest of the list, however, can be ranked by you, the angler, according to your likes and dislikes. Each area listed contains valuable information to help you choose which place is the right place for you to fish for that once-in-a-lifetime trophy halibut.

My list of great triple digit halibut fishing areas is based on personal experience from most of the locales featured. The incredible experience and honesty of the top guides contacted for this article also helped greatly in determining which areas to list that offer the best chance at big fish. Even if you’re favorite trophy halibut area didn’t make the list, perhaps you will learn new locales that might one day make it onto your list of favorite places to fish in Alaska. And you’ll likely learn a few new tricks used by the very best halibut charter skippers in Alaska.

Dutch Harbor/Unalaska

Nutrient rich waters provide the very best trophy halibut fishing currently available anywhere in Alaska. The Bearing Sea collides with the Pacific Ocean, causing the waters around Dutch Harbor/Unalaska to be a major feeding area for great numbers of halibut – especially 100-plus pounders. On June 11th 1996, Jack Tragis fished with Far West Outfitters and landed a 459-pound halibut – the largest ever taken on sport gear – to win the International Game Fish Association’s All Tackle record and 130-pound line class record. His catch eclipsed Michael James Golat’s 395-pounder, also taken in the same waters.

“I was born and raised in the state and over the course of about thirty years I have fished for halibut from many different Alaskan ports,” admits John Lucking, owner of Far West Outfitters in Unalaska. “None have even come close to the Aleutians for size, quality or quantity of fish.”

Lucking also recalls wide-open bites on his six-man charter boat, with every fish ranging in size between 150 to 300-pounds. And he says they have experienced days with four or five anglers releasing over 100-plus fish. “Though this is not every day, I don’t think you could find another spot on the globe where it happens on any day,” boasts Lucking. “Hundred pounders are easy and we have just about everybody who fishes a day or two catch at least one fish over one hundred pounds.”

Best time to fish for triple digit trophy halibut Lucking says May is good for really big halibut, but the fishing is slower than the area’s prime time of late August and early September. But, he says remarkable catches happen during the other months of the season too. If it’s just 100-pounders, just show up and you’ll probably catch at least one.

Best Methods “For exceptionally large fish, three to four hundred pounds plus, I use an entire fillet of Pacific gray cod,” admits Lucking. “I cut the fillet (usually about 1 ½ to 2 pounds) and then attach it, tail section first, to a bullet head jig.”

Lucking has his clients fish the lead head jig just above bottom, typically in very rocky areas strewn with steep pinnacles. Slow, long strokes, he says, work best to entice strikes. He also points out that drifting between 1 ½ to 2 knots works best. “When big fish hit this setup, or any halibut for that matter, they absolutely try to tear the whole rod and reel out of your hands,” recalls Lucking. “This is not a traditional halibut hit a all – it’s more like accidentally hooking into a freight train for those first few moments.”

Distance to best fishing grounds from port Approximately 20 miles or one hour’s run time from port. However, the world record fish was caught within ten minutes of the dock, proving anything can happen at the #1 trophy halibut location in Alaska.


Getting to Dutch Harbor/Unalaska will set you back about $750 to $800 for a round trip ticket from Anchorage. Charter rates range from $165 to $200 per angler per day. Lodging costs $55 to $75 per night at a B&B or $155 per night single occupancy or $175 per night double occupancy at the Grand Aleutian Hotel, Alaska’s only five star hotel.


Guides Far West Outfitters, John Lucking PO Box 42, Unalaska, AK 99685 (907) 581-1647

F/V Lucille, Dave Magone PO Box 920247, Dutch Harbor, AK 99692 (907) 581-5949 or (907) 391-7907

AVI Charters, Andy McCracken PO Box 208, Unalaska, AK 99685 (907) 391-7994

Shuregood Adventures, Don or Chris Graves PO Box 921088, Dutch Harbor, AK 99692 (907) 581-2378 or toll free at 877-374-4386

Silver Cloud Charters, Brian Whittern P.O. Box1013, Unalaska, AK 99685 (907) 581-1348 or toll free at 1-866-773-3476

Lodging The Grand Aleutian Hotel P.O. Box 921169, 498 Salmon Way Dutch Harbor, AK 99692 1-800-891-1194

Carl's Bayview Inn 1-800-581-1230 Linda's Bunkhouse (907) 581-4357 Unalaska/Port of Dutch 

Harbor Convention and Visitors Bureau P.O. Box 545, Unalaska, Alaska 99685 (907) 581-2612 or 1-877-581-2612


Seward is one of my all-time favorite port cities in Alaska – a city I would love to call my home port. Accessibility to and from Seward from Anchorage combined with awesome ocean fishing makes this an obvious choice for trophy halibut hunters. In just 2 ½ hours time hopeful anglers can reach Seward from Anchorage, making it possible for super-affordable day trips aboard one of the many charter boats in Seward. But be forewarned, you’d better plan ahead because charters book quickly, especially on weekends.

Location is what really makes a great fishing location and Seward is no exception. The tourist and RV-friendly port city sits at the end of Resurrection Bay, surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Charters have the option of fishing in the open ocean in front of Resurrection Bay, or traveling great distances south or east to Montague Island. Fish Alaska Magazine’s technical editor, Captain Andy Mezirow of Cracker Jack Charters runs as far as any of the Seward skippers in search of trophy halibut and lingcod – sometimes up to 80 miles. At cruising speeds of 30 knots Mezirow’s fleet of charter boats can reach distant areas seldom fished by anyone – a definite advantage when targeting trophy fish of any kind. But he fishes close in too, depending on conditions. The ability to fish close to port, in fairly protected waters also helped to rank Seward at the top of this list.

“I caught a 161 pounder five miles from the dock on March day,” admits Mezirow. “I typically run 40 to 60 miles to get to where I can consistently produce nice halibut in shallow water. I don’t think that is because the fish have all been caught closer, but more that the right conditions exist in that area.”

Bad weather seldom causes Seward charters to cancel trips entirely. “Our first choice is to travel down the coast and fish the open ocean,” admits Mezirow. “Out of 100 trips there might be 10 that are marginal for ocean fishing. On most of those trips we can travel to a good fishing location by steaming through the weather to fish in a calm spot.”

Best time to fish for triple digit trophy halibut Mezirow says the very best time to catch trophy halibut from Seward begins the third week of May and continues through the first week in July. “I have checked back in my records and found that on March 23rd 1998 I had two halibut over 100 on my first trip, so there is always a fair chance,” admits Mezirow.

Best Methods

Light tackle and shallow water ranks high with Mezirow. Typically his charter fleet targets depths ranging from 40 to 180-feet, but will fish deeper water from 270 to 575-feet to find fish rather than go home empty handed.

“I have found that lighter line (65-pound Tuff Line xp spooled on Penn Formula 10 reels coupled with G. Loomis 40-pound pelagic series rods) and less lead will result in more hook ups on big hogs. They also seem to bite better on scampi jigs.”

Mezirow rigs his 12 to 16-ounce lead head jigs with scented Berkley Power Grubs. For bait he says the fresher the better and will use cod, salmon carcasses or heads or herring. He fishes his bait three feet off the bottom and keeps it as still as possible. Rocky areas get the nod with Mezirow when fishing shallow areas. When he fishes deeper spots he likes to fish a subtle rise on a mud flat.


Crackerjack Charters charges $180 per angler for a standard day trip on the ocean or $225 for a long range halibut trip. The long range trip is one of the best bets going for an affordable option at triple digit halibut. Mezirow says anglers seeking triple digit halibut have a very, very good chance if they book at the right time and spend at least two days fishing. Always, no matter which charter you book with, let them know your goals. And ask them what your chances of accomplishing your goals are.

Getting to Seward is super easy. Anglers can drive, fly or take the train. Renting a car is one of the better options for anglers from out of state. U-Save Auto Rental near the Anchorage airport charges $65 per day, for an economy car, taxes included with unlimited mileage or $108 for an SUV capable of handling four fishing buddies and all their gear. If you want a unique way to reach Seward take the Alaska Rail Road for $90 round trip per person. Or you can fly to Seward, but that just adds to the cost of the most affordable trophy halibut destination. Seward’s airport is strictly a VFR (visual Flight Restricted) which greatly reduces the amount commercial air services that fly into Seward. Currently F.S. Air Service flies just three days per week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at a charge of $99 per person round trip. During the peak summer months, hotel rates vary from $105 to $225 double. Seward’s finest hotel, the Hotel Edgewater, is the newest and one I’ve stayed at and highly recommend. During the low season from early September until about the third week of May is considered the low season. During the low season rates range from $65 to $105 double occupancy. Seward also has dozens of B&B options, with rates ranging from $50 to $125.


Crackerjack Charters, Andy Mezirow 1-888-385-1312

U-Save Auto Rental 1-800-254-8728 Website of all rental cars in Anchorage F.S.

Air Service 6121 South Airpark Place Anchorage, AK 99502 (907) 248-9595 Toll Free in Alaska 1-800-478-9595

Alaska Rail Road 411 West First Avenue Anchorage, AK 99501 (907) 265-2494 1-800-544-0552

Hotel Edgewater 1-888-793-6800 Harborview Inn 1-888-324-3217

Best Western (907) 224-2378

The Breeze Inn 1-888-224-5237

Windsong Lodge 1-800-208-0200

Marina Motel (907) 224-5518

Full listing of Seward’s B&B listings 


How could any trophy halibut list be complete without the most popular halibut fishing locale on Earth? Homer, known world-wide as “The Halibut Capital of The World” proudly makes the claim and continues to provide one of the most affordable and accessible halibut fisheries in Alaska. An entire sport fishing fleet was built around the great halibut fishing throughout the area and continues to provide countless anglers with the opportunity to take home a brace of “average” halibut – almost guaranteed! It should also be noted that Ninilchik, Deep Creek and Anchor Point charter operators also enjoy great fishing, and for the sake of this list is included as part of the Homer area. On any given day, charters and lodges in this area could provide anglers with top-notch halibut fishing. I’ve personally seen excellent fishing for halibut to 125 pounds in shallow water in Cook Inlet, just minutes from Trophy King Lodge.

But for those looking for triple digit ‘buts, the Homer-bound angler should consider a trip with an experienced charter operator who consistently targets and catches big halibut or the handful of charters who provide long range trips.

“The run from port is not always what gets you on big fish,” admits Bob Ward, owner of A-Ward Charters in Homer. “For 17 years I have always traveled out, away from Homer because there are more halibut living in the Gulf of Alaska than in Cook Inlet. I have wondered on most of those days just how many halibut I have cruised over while on my way to someplace out beyond the Barren islands.” And while Ward does run great distances in search of big halibut, he thoughtfully matches his client’s abilities to the conditions.

“I’m proactive to seniors and cardiacs,” says Ward. “We might fish 500 to 600 feet deep, but only under the best weather and tides.”

Ward also has some sage advice for anglers planning their trip to Homer. “Watch out for large tide changes, avoid them if you have the ability to adjust your fishing trip date,” he warns. And he also warns about inexperience, either the boat owner or charter skipper.

“They should be able to name the different land and water features, know where he intends to fish and all the water between the harbor and the destination.”

Best time to fish for triple digit trophy halibut Blackwell likes July and August best but also likes the month of September for fishing the kelp beds for larger territorial females in 30 to 50 feet of water. Ward reminds anglers that they could catch triple digit halibut as early as April or May, through the summer and into fall. And he says fish over 100 pounds are found at all times of the typical summer season.

Best Methods

Walking jigs while anchor works well in this area. Walking a jig is simply a matter of walking it away from the boat, with the current. Looks for humps on the ocean floor with cod hovering over the top of it and you've found halibut heaven. When you find these locations  use large cod heads to entice big halibut to bite. And you can fish the shallows while waiting for the larger tides to move through and then moves to a ledge or rock pile for the final feeding stage of a slack tide.

“If you locate a good rock pile or mound on the bottom and anchor on its topmost portion you can fish it through the tide change,” advises Ward. “When the tide changes direction and swings the boat around you get to fish in a different area without ever moving.”

Herring hooked with a single hook to simulate a wounded or swimming fish is Ward’s top choice for bait.


Standard day trips cost $175 per angler. A two day long range trip costs $300 per person.

Getting there is very reasonable for anglers who drive from Anchorage. The same rental car companies mentioned for Seward can provide anglers with affordable transportation or you can choose to fly aboard Era Aviation Airlines for about $158 to $222 roundtrip, depending on how early you book your flight.

Room rates in Homer vary considerably according to time of year and type of room you choose. Homer does, however, offer dozens of motels and bed and breakfast options. In July you can expect to pay at least $125 to $195 per night, double occupancy in a motel or $100 to $175 in a B&B. Book your rooms early though, or you might find yourself sleeping in a tent!

Contacts A-Ward Charters, Capt. Bob Ward 907-235-7014 1-888-235-7014 toll free in Alaska

Homer Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 541 Homer, Ak 99603 (907) 235-7740

Era Aviation Airlines 1-800-866-8394

Best Western Bidarka Inn $146. 1-866-685-5000

Ocean Shores Motel 1-800-770-7775

Lands End Resort (907) 235-0400 800-478-0400 toll free in Alaska

Victorian Heights Bed & Breakfast (907) 235-6357

Kodiak Island

Remoteness rules much of the Kodiak Island group, but big halibut come in a close second to the island’s remoteness and beauty. Last year I spend a week enjoying the fishery at Old Harbor and couldn’t believe how un-crowded the local waters were and how many fish call the area home. During my trip I fished for large king salmon, but found big halibut without any effort. Kodiak Island’s remote ports provide one of the best opportunities to catch triple digit halibut in all of Alaska, but it will cost a bit more to get there. From experience I can say the added cost is worth the price of admission to these halibut-infested waters.

“We catch lots of halibut right at 97 pounds.” says Jeff Peterson, owner of Kodiak Combos & Peterson’s Adventures in Old Harbor. Peterson also says his clients who want to fish for halibut for at least a couple of days during their four to seven day trip will usually see at least one 100 pound halibut taken during their trip. If anglers ask Peterson to target bigger halibut he takes them to any number of proven holes he has found during his lifetime of fishing the local waters. That’s one of the main reasons why his claims of catching so many near to or over triple digit halibut are actually truths and not exaggerations.

Kodiak Island’s location, with the Gulf of Alaska to the east, the open Pacific Ocean to the south and west and Shelikof Strait to the north provides one of the most natural feed stations for large numbers of halibut. This fact combined with less fishing pressure makes Kodiak waters one of my top choices to target large halibut.

Best time to fish for triple digit trophy halibut Peterson says any month of the year could produce big halibut, but says the best time to come to Kodiak Island is when the halibut’s food supply peaks during late spring all the way into the fall months of September and October.

Best methods

Looking for the bait is critical for success according to Peterson. “If you can’t locate any bait, become the halibut. Where would I hang out for the ambush,” he asks himself. Typically he finds bait in all of the standard halibut haunts including rocky areas, pinnacles and flats.

“My favorite setup is either, a B2 Triple Glow squid jig, Berkley Power Grub or a Norwegian stainless jig.”

When he has three anglers aboard his charter boat he has each angler fishing one of the aforementioned lures. On each he’ll put a piece of squid and some bait oil to increase the scent field. As soon as one lure out catches the others he’ll have his clients switch to whatever is producing the best results. Fly anglers should also take note of the halibut fishery at Kodiak Island. Five of the seven IGFA men’s world class fly tippet records were caught in the Kodiak Island region.

“I have several spots halibut feed in shallow water. These areas would be great for the fly fisher,” Peterson advises.

Distance to best fishing grounds

The trophy halibut fishing grounds can be as close as a few minutes or as far as an hour. During my trip two summers ago II caught and released a 125-pounder just 15 minutes from port.


Kodiak Combos prices for 4-day packages range from $1,880 to $2,160 per person. 7-day packages $3,290 to $3,780 per person. This includes all meals, guiding etc.

Day charters out of Kodiak City are available too, for about $200 per person. A round trip ticket with Alaska Airlines from Anchorage to Kodiak ranges in price from $225 to $350. The flight from Kodiak to Old Harbor costs $156.00 roundtrip aboard an Island Airways flight. Anglers can also reach Kodiak Island aboard the Alaska Ferry.


Kodiak Combos Jeff Peterson, owner/operator P.O. Box 141 Old Harbor, AK 99643 (907) 286-2252

Bayview B&B (907) 286-2267

Mountainview B&B (907) 286-2214

Alaska Airlines 1-800-426-0333

Island Airways (907) 486 6196

ERA Aviation 1-800-866-8394

Alaska Marine Highway System  1-800-526-6731

Best Western Kodiak Inn 1-888-562-4254


Sitka reigns king of halibut fishing in Southeast Alaska. The vast open ocean waters on the west coast of Kruzof Island or the inside waters of Sitka Sound could easily produce a once-in-a-lifetime halibut. A few years ago, while fishing just offshore from Cape Edgecumbe in 325 feet of water, I hooked and landed my biggest halibut ever, a 7-foot 1-incher that weighed 325 pounds. It was my goal to catch and keep a trophy that year and that’s the very reason I choose Sitka to attempt and ultimately achieve my goal.

Several other factors also make Sitka a top choice on this list. First and foremost, the salmon fishing gets red hot, especially the coho fishing with generous six fish limits. Early in the season, from mid May until mid July anglers can also enjoy spectacular king fishing. Typically anglers can catch a limit of salmon and halibut in the same day, making this destination one of my all time favorites. But for anglers who want to target triple digit halibut it’s simply a matter of asking the charter operator prior to booking your trip. But be aware that most of the guides practice catch and release on large fish. This practice has worked out well and provides many anglers the chance to catch large fish without depleting the resource.

“If my customers tell me they want 100 pound or larger fish, I’d take them to the big halibut spot and we could catch one to three or them per day,” admits Greg Kain, owner of Kain’s Fishing Adventures.

Savy anglers who fish for three or four days will likely notice that the charter captains self regulate themselves by fishing in areas with average-sized halibut most days and fishing areas with larger halibut only part of the time. This practice as worked well to maintain the resource and works out well for anglers who want to bring the highest quality halibut fillets from halibut weighing 30 to 50 pounds. As stated above, if you want to catch bigger fish let your captain know your intentions ahead of time – including your desire to or release big fish or keep them. It’s much better to communicate your wishes with the captain prior to booking your trip.

Best time to fish for triple digit trophy halibut

Kain says any time of the year can be good for large halibut. “It’s more an issue of where you fish and your technique than the time of year,” advises Kain. “July is really good because the weather is more predictable. If someone wants 100 pounders we can get them anytime, weather permitting.”

Jim Williams, owner of Big Blue Charters agrees with Kain and adds, “We target 60 to 120-pound halibut and catch them daily…it’s not uncommon at all.

Best methods

Virtually any traditional method of catching halibut works well in Sitka, but anchoring is the norm here. Kain prefers 16-ounce leadhead jigs with 8-inch Kalin white scampi tails.

“We also use an 8/0 stinger hook crimped on the leadhead hook and a red twister tail worm on that hook too.”

Best depths, according to Kain typically range from 250 to 500-feet deep. During late summer the shallow waters of Sitka Sound can provide top action too. Williams also anchors and likes to use salmon guts and gills combined with squid. Williams favors 150 to 325-feet of water, but says the big ones can easily be taken in 100-feet of water depending on the day.

Distance to best fishing grounds

Both captains listed run between 60 to 90 minutes from port to reach their big fish holes.


Flights from Seattle to Sitka cost anywhere from $385 to $400 round trip if booked well in advance with a Saturday night stay. For those in Alaska flying from Anchorage it costs $350 to $400 with the same restrictions as flying from Seattle. Sitka fishing package don’t include airfare and vary depending on what they include etc. Typically 4-day 3-night packages, range in price from $1,100 to $1,725 per person, double occupancy. Day rates range from $250 to $325 per 8 to 10 hour fishing trip or $150 to $225 per half day.


Kain’s Fishing Adventures, Greg Kain. 1-800-926-7932

Big Blue Charters, Jim Williams. (907) 747-5161 in Alaska 1-877-747-5161 outside Alaska

Cascade Inn & Boat Charters 1-800-532-0908 (907) 747-6804 Car Rental

Baranof Motors (907) 747-8228

Sitka Chamber of Commerce


This tiny, but very quaint port city inside Prince William Sound is way off the beaten path but provides some great opportunities for trophy halibut fishing and a host of salmon fishing opportunities. I’ve spent several weeks in the area over the past few years and enjoyed every day on or off the water. During my stays it never seemed too hard to catch halibut in the 100 pound range when we were able to travel to the open ocean on the south side of Prince William Sound. However, because this tiny port has few charter operators you should plan your trip well in advance to guarantee you get the dates you want to fish.And rest assured if the weather doesn’t allow safe passage to the outside waters the inside, mostly protected waters, will provide many opportunities to fish for small to medium sized halibut in the 20 to 50-pound range.

“For the most part people don’t come here to target halibut,” admits Steve Ranney, owner of Orca Adventure Lodge in Cordova. “But they do go out for a day more as a variety to what ever other activities they came here for.”

Last year Ranney sent his charter boat captains exploring new, hardly-ever fished waters bordering on the edge of the Gulf of Alaska and Prince William Sound. What they found has changed their plans for this summer. Last year’s exploratory trips included several over 100 pound fish and one that weighed 230 pounds.

“We are running some trips this summer that we will fly out to the boat rather than make a long run of it,” Ranney says. “From what we saw last year these trips are the best opportunity outside of Dutch Harbor for landing the big one.”

Ranney also owns Fishing and Flying Service, making these long-range day trips very comfortable and likely successful in waters minus any other competition or crowds. During the peak of the season Orca Adventure Lodge will keep their 32-foot boat in protected waters on the southwest end of Prince William Sound. Guests will arrive via plane on the beach and be shuttled to the 32-foot boat aboard a smaller boat. At day’s end the anglers will be flown back to the lodge. The fish will either be flown back or the 32-foot boat will shuttle them back that afternoon.

“I’m trying to avoid our guests from having to sit more than four hours in the boat.”

Best time to fish for triple digit trophy halibut May, June and July are the best months to target the big halibut according to Ranney. If fishing the inside waters April and May are good months for smaller fish.

Best methods

“We combined anchoring and drifting depending on the currents,” Ranney says. “The best locations are the edges of the shelves and near the pinnacles. The flats are pretty unproductive from what I have seen.”

Jigging with leadhead jigs and large scampi tails or other metal jigs will work well here. Adding a piece of bait will also increase effectiveness. Standard bait rigs will also work, but might get hung up in the rocks. By the end of the summer they will likely have this new fishery figured out and those lucky enough to enjoy it will likely come away with some quality triple digit halibut, trophy lingcod and big rockfish too.

Distance to best fishing grounds

By boat from Cordova it would take roughly two hours to reach the prime areas to catch big halibut. By plane it will take just 20 to 30 minutes, leaving the rest of the day for fishing. If fishing close to port anglers will find many areas within an hour’s run, in protected waters.


A round trip ticket from Anchorage to Cordova costs about $200. From Seattle you can figure on double that amount. Cost of a custom 4-day 3-night fly-out halibut trip, including three fly-out, long-range halibut trips, is $1,975, based on double occupancy and includes lodging, meals, and fishing.


Orca Adventure Lodge (866) 424-6722

Fishing & Flying (907) 424-3324

Cordova Chamber of Commerce (907) 424-7260

Cordova Auto Rentals (907) 424-5982

Other great halibut spots in Alaska. I wish space allowed me to write about every great locale. Instead I’ll list a few of my other top choices. Craig Alaska is a small port city on the west side of Prince of Wales Island and rivals Sitka with the opportunity it provides but has less competition and crowds. The northern end of Prince of Wales Island also provides some great halibut fishing. Lodges like Sportsman’s Cove Lodge provide top notch action for anglers in search of halibut and salmon. Pelican, to the north of Sitka also provides a unique and less crowded place to chase after trophy halibut. Or anglers might want to give Elfin Cove a try while enjoying yet another unique and remote fishing village.

Regardless of where you choose to chase trophy, three digit-sized halibut, you will surely enjoy Alaska’s beauty and bounty. Any of these areas will produce well from May through August. However, Larry McQuarrie, owner of Sportsman’s Cove Lodge says his area produces excellent results in shallow water, (30-feet) in areas where large schools of salmon migrate through narrow channels. In many areas of Southeast Alaska these types of areas can produce well for anglers, especially when using salmon heads, guts or bellies.


Sportsman’s Cove Lodge 1-800-962-7889

Craig Chamber of Commerce (907) 826-3870

Sunnahae Lodge (907) 826-4000

Pelican Charters (907) 735-2460

Eagle Charters, Elfin Cove 1-888-828-1970

Elfin Cove Lodge 1-800-422-2824

Conservation Notes

According to the International Pacific Halibut Commission the vast majority of halibut over 90 pounds are females. Since the large female halibut are vitally important to the resource and continued health of halibut stocks, it’s important to understand that conserving your catch is the right thing to do. These large female halibut lay millions of eggs – the larger they are the more eggs and ultimately more baby halibut for the future. While I’m not one to swear off keeping all halibut over 100 pounds, I do practice catch and release. After catching and keeping my largest halibut ever, a 325 pound fish, I released eight 50 pound halibut in a row, taking nothing home to the freezer in order to balance that which I’d taken from the resource. If we all exercise restraint, common sense and a good ethic toward conserving our catch and resource future halibut populations will remain strong. Good fishing and don’t forget to bring your camera.

For more information about halibut read “How To Catch Trophy Halibut” by Chris Batin & Terry Rudnick. Or visit for halibut fishing reports, recipes, tackle or anything to do with halibut fishing. About the author John L. Beath is field editor for Fish Alaska Magazine, Pacific Northwest editor for Western Outdoors and field editor for Alaska Angler Publications. Beath’s articles and photos have been published in numerous other outdoor publications as well. Beath owns and maintains the largest website devoted to halibut. He has developed John Beath’s Super Scent for halibut and most recently released “Underwater Secrets How To Catch Halibut, Rockfish & Lingcod” with Chris Batin of Alaska Angler Publications.

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