For wildlife viewing, breathtaking scenery, and spectacular hunting and fishing, few places can rival Alaska—one of the wildest destinations in the country. During our Alaskan trip, we visited the small town of Homer for some of the best halibut fishing in the world. This post is sponsored by our partner Take Me Fishing™ and all opinions are our own.
The day of our fishing charter, we woke up shortly after the sunrise to find our boat and crew ready and waiting to hit the water. Our boat for the day was the Zelie Rose, run by a captain with seven seasons under his belt. The soft morning light illuminated the jagged snow-capped mountains across the bay in pastel pinks.
We set course for our halibut hole, reaching it just as the sun made its way over the tall mountains. On the captain’s orders, the deck hand tossed the anchor overboard. Steel chain clanking, it made its way to the bottom of the bay—150 feet below the surface.
The crew wasted no time baiting the large circle hooks with chunks of herring. We sunk the bait to the bottom to find some hungry halibut. It seemed no sooner had the first line hit bottom than we had our #FirstCatch. A few seconds later, a second rod hit and we had another.
Related Article: Things to do in Homer Alaska
We each began reeling in our catches. For more than an hour, it was one halibut after another. The smaller ones we tossed back to the sea in search of a big halibut. The action could have kept up all afternoon, but we soon caught our limit for the day (two halibut per person).
With a few hours left on our trip, we ventured out to find some famous Alaskan Salmon. We set up our down riggers and trolled around the bay with big spinning bait. The salmon proved to be elusive that afternoon, but we didn’t mind because the scenery of Homer more than made up for it.
Bordered on both sides by striking mountains, Cook Inlet is surrounded by natural beauty. On one side stand the towering volcanos of the Aleutian Range, and on the other, the mountains and glacial bays of Kenai Fjords National Park. Even if you don’t have the best luck fishing (which is unlikely), you’ll have no shortage of great views—maybe even an orca or a humpback whale sighting.
Afterward, the only thing left to do was clean our fish. With a few swipes of his razor, Captain Ethan pulled two large fillets from each side of our freshly caught halibut. With a quick lesson, we were able to help out with the rest of our catch. We packed them in bags and put them on ice for the rest of our trip.
Planning a fishing trip in Homer, Alaska
Homer is a mecca for fishing enthusiasts. Every summer, this small town of only 5,000 turns into a bustling city full of eager fisherman. The Homer Spit fills with campervans and RVs from one end to the other.
And while the city is certainly busy, the fishing boats are even busier. The first thing you should secure when planning a fishing trip to Homer is your fishing boat or charter. Check out this interactive map and find the best spots to fish in Alaska – and every other state.
Fishing Charters in Homer, Alaska
Homer has hundreds of boats that can take you fishing for the day, but if you’re planning on fishing in during the peak summer months, it’s best to book your charter in advance. We went halibut fishing with Ethan from Harder Charters and highly recommend them.
Homer Halibut Fishing Regulations
Fishing licenses—whether for Alaska or any other state—can be purchased online. When planning your Homer fishing trip, remember that halibut fishing is not permitted on Wednesdays.
Homer Halibut Fishing FAQ
1. What is the largest halibut ever caught in Alaska?
This depends on who you ask. There are stories of 600-pound halibut caught back in the day without documentation. The largest halibut caught on record in Alaska was 459 pounds in 1996.
2. What is the average size halibut caught in Homer?
The average halibut is 10-20 pounds, which still requires a good arm to reel in.
3. What’s the best hook to use for Halibut fishing?
A large circle hook is the most common for halibut fishing in Alaska. Circle hooks effectively hook fish without hurting them so they can be safely released.
Other types of fishing in Homer
Besides the halibut fishing that the city of Homer is built on, there are many other species to fish for, such as red salmon, king salmon, silver salmon, Coho salmon, rockfish, and lingcod. Fishing for salmon runs is very popular and can be done year-round. Learn more about the type of fish you’re catching this summer and what it takes to reel them in.
There are also several fishing contests in Homer—the Jackpot Halibut Derby is held every summer May 15 through September 15, and the Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament is on March 15.
Salmon fishing in Homer Alaska
- King Salmon: King Salmon fishing in Homer is good year-round. These fish average 15-20 pounds and can get as large as 60 pounds. The limit is one or two per person, per day depending on which zone you fish in. Between April 1 and October 1, you can catch a total of five King Salmon, and from October 1 to April 1, the five-fish total limit is waived, although the one-to-two-fish daily limit is still in effect.
- Silver Salmon (Coho Salmon): Silver Salmon run starts mid-July and can run until Mid-September, peaking during the second and third week of August. The limit is three silver salmon per person per day. Silver Salmon average six to eight pounds and can get as large as 30 pounds.
- Other types of Salmon caught in Homer include Red Salmon, Pink Salmon, and Dog Salmon
Halibut Recipes from Homer Alaska
The preferred method of cooking fresh halibut caught in Homer is to lightly bread and fry the fillets. Halibut cheeks are the best part of the fish, so don’t forget them. Halibut is a mild fish and takes on the flavors of what it’s cooked with. We also grilled our halibut, which we thought was the best.