Halibut fishing Gustavus, Alaska may not be the most well known, but it darn well should be. This small fishing fleet that fishes the pass each day lands more halibut in the triple digits than any other fishing charters do in any other part of Alaska according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s creel surveys.
The Halibut Highway
This fleet fishes the North Pass of Icy Strait that is known by charter boat captains and commercial long-liners as the “Halibut Highway.” The section also has the shortest angling effort time to get a limit, not to mention by far the largest average size of halibut kept according to state statistics.
Over the years anglers that are truly looking for a “Barn Door” caliber fish know that ground zero for the monsters is Gustavus, Alaska. Literally hundreds of fish are landed between 150 and 400 pounds each year near Gustavus. The undisputed halibut capital of Alaska when it comes to average size of fish.
According to Alaska Fish and Game Statistics the average size halibut kept in Gustavus is nearly 50 pounds! This is INSANE when compared to the average of 15 pounds out of Seward, Sitka and Homer. The only place even close is Yakutat with an average around 30 pounds.
Big Fish are what anglers are after!
Ten year averages have shown halibut out of Gustavus average 3 times that of Seward, Homer, Sitka and Kodiak. This is why angler come back time and time again.
Two of the biggest halibut ever landed have been unloaded at the Gustavus dock on being 480 pounds another at 466 pounds. Fish pushing 500 pounds have been measured and released. No other area of Alaska even holds a candle to the number of fish over 200 pounds for sport anglers than the fish-infested waters where the Icy Strait meets Glacier Bay.
What produces these huge halibut?
FOOD. A LOT OF FOOD. The mouth of Glacier Bay is one of the largest feeding areas for humpback whales during the summer. The tons of bait fish that attract the whales also draw these monster halibut.
There is literally so much food that fish in the “Halibut Highway” spend the entire summer in the small area near the North Pass to fatten up on the herring, candlefish, pink salmon and other abundant food. Some halibut will continue on the Halibut Highway toward Juneau, Hoonah, Skagway and other Inside Passage harbors, but most stay where the food is.
The outfitter we use for halibut fishing Gustavus, Alaska fishes from May through September.
Anglers normally land numerous halibut before deciding that that is the one they want to keep. With strict limits and a slot limit that allows for this to continue being the best fishery around you might want to choose wisely. Do you want to keep that 40 pounder that is the best tableware or do you want to keep fishing for that 200 pound “Barn Door” that could be the next bend in the rod.
Anglers around Alaska aboard charters will sort through half a dozen small fish just to catch a 20 pounder while anglers in Gustavus are known to release 100 pounders for better fillets on a 40 pounder. Now that’s a decision I wouldn’t mind having to make.
Calm water is the norm.
The best part about this area is that it is often compared to fishing in a lake. The water is calm. The water is shallow. And the fishing is UNREAL!
Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself!
Oh and why your here check out the awesome wildlife and catch a box full of lingcod, king salmon, silvers and rockfish to take home with you.