- Sport Fishing for Alaska Halibut
- What Makes Sitka Halibut Fishing So Great?
- Hippoglossus stenolepis – Halibut Biology
- What Do Alaska Halibut Eat?
- Alaska Halibut Life Cycle
The Alaska Halibut is one of the most coveted sport caught fish in the Alaskan saltwater. Imagine reeling in a 100+ lb. halibut from a depth of over 300 feet. We are talking 100lbs. of pure muscle and brute strength here. This is not some mid water fish…this is a huge bottom dwelling Alaska halibut that doesn’t want to see the light of day and is going to give you the fight of your life to stay down in his dark home.
If this sounds fun and exciting to you then let our professional experienced Alaska halibut fishing guides put you on the most productive halibut grounds in Sitka, Alaska. We supply you with all the best halibut fishing tackle…from our Avet two speed reels spooled up with 80# spectra, strong yet flexible Seeker rods and Braid fighting belts. If holding your rod while fighting your Alaska halibut sounds like too much work then you can just leave it in our sturdy rod holders and save your back from a lot of pain.
It will all be worth it when you get back home from your Alaska fishing trip and cut open one of your vacuum sealed flash frozen halibut fillets to serve your family for dinner. If you’re not sure how to cook your halibut, then check out our Alaska Halibut Recipes page on our site. Remember to save the cheeks on the large halibut…they’re delicious.
One of the main reasons that Sitka is Alaska’s premier fishing destination is our low to medium size tides. When trying to halibut fish further north where the tides are 30 ft…you only get about a two hour window to fish before the current becomes too strong to keep your baits on the bottom. Sitka’s tides range between 8 to12 ft…meaning you can fish halibut all day long with just enough current to really chum them in with the scent of your bait. The rugged underwater terrain up and down the coast of Sitka is home to a plethora of rock fish, ling cod, crab and octopus which is a steady supply of food for halibut. So Sitka has the winning combination for the hottest halibut fishing in Alaska.
The Alaska halibut is a member of the Flounder Family of fish and are unique because they have a biological characteristic that only the Flounder Family has. When halibut first hatch from the egg they swim upright and have one eye on each side of their head like all other species of fish. At about five weeks of age and one inch in length, one eye “migrates” over the top of the head so that both eyes are on the same side of the head. At this time the juvenile halibut “lays over” on its’ side with both eyes on the upward or top side. As the halibut grows the under side becomes white and the top side becomes a mottled brown color resembling the sea bottom. Their body flattens into an oval shape: thus the nickname “Flatfish”. The Alaska halibut, upon becoming a mature spawning adult average about 25 to 30 pounds in weight. They spawn during the winter months in about 1,200 feet of water. The males range upward to about 60 pounds and the females range upward to about 600 pounds in weight. Large Alaska halibut, A.K.A “Barn Door”, can attain a length of over 8 feet and a width of over 5 feet. They have a button-sized calcified deposit in their head called an Otolith or “Ear Bone” that forms an annual growth ring. The age of an individual halibut can be determined by counting the number of growth rings like the ones on a tree. Females grow faster and live longer than males. The oldest recorded female was 42 years old and the oldest male was 27 years old.
Alaska halibut are a predatory fish that will eat almost everything that swims in the sea. Halibut feed on plankton during their first year of life. Young halibut (1-3 years old) feed on euphausiids (small shrimp-like organisms) and small fish. As halibut grow, fish make up a larger part of their diet. Besides pollock, sablefish, cod, and rockfish, large Alaskan halibut also eat octopus, herring, crabs, clams, and smaller halibut.
Halibut spawn at a depth of 600 to 1,500 feet from November through March. Female halibut release anywhere from a few thousand to 4 million eggs, depending on the size of the fish. About 15 days later, the eggs hatch and the larvae drift with deep ocean currents. In the Gulf of Alaska, the eggs and larvae drift in a counter clockwise direction along the coast.
As the larvae mature, they move higher in the water column and ride the surface currents to shallower, more nourishing coastal waters.
Although age at maturity varies over time, about half of male halibut are sexually mature by 8 years of age, while half of the females are mature by age 11.