The bountiful waters of Alaska are not only home to beautiful and magnificent animals but are also rich in some of the best fish, including Halibut. Sitka, Alaska, is famous for sportfishing, among many other things, and provides you with over 20 different species of delicious fish. Some of Alaska’s most popular sportfish are King Salmon, Chinook, Dolly Varden, and Halibut. In this blog, we will cover everything you need to know about Halibut.
The Halibut belongs to the flounder family and is a huge, flat-bodied fish. Both its eyes are located on the top portion of its flat body, similar to flounders. The Pacific and Atlantic Halibut are the two main species of Halibut recognized by scientists. Pleuronectiforms is the taxonomic order in which this fish and other flounder species are classified.
The Halibut has a mottled bright and dark pattern with a pastel underbelly and a narrow diamond structure with a dark brown, green, or black back. The tail is somewhat forked, and the eyes are on the right side. The massive fish has a broad lateral line curvature and a massive mouth with sharp teeth for snatching smaller fish. The fins are long and measure the length of the body.
The elongated, flattened body of these fish let them blend in with the seabed. One side of the fish is practically white, while the other takes on the color of the ocean floor where they live. This gives them a color that protects them from predators and prey. The Atlantic flounder is amongst the largest flatfish species, with the Pacific species a close contender. These fish can grow to be over eight feet long!
Where Does the Halibut Live?
The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans are home to the two main species of Halibut. From the western shores of North America up to Alaska and across Asia and eastern Russia, the Pacific species live near the coast. The Atlantic species can be found on the eastern and western coasts of the Atlantic Ocean.
Halibut prefers living near the seabed. It spends most of its time on the coastline, which is just offshore before the deep sea. They swim in shallower waters during certain seasons and move to deeper waters during others. The temperature in its preferred habitat is between 37 to 47 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the winter, the Halibut descend to depths of over 1000 meters to breed and prefers seas at least 50 meters deep. Depending on the size of the fish, females can release anywhere from a few thousand to millions of eggs, which take around 15 days to hatch.
The larval young are not cared for by their parents and are left to float in the sea for a while. Their eyes move to the right half of their bodies as they achieve juvenile status and start life on the bottom. Females reach sexual maturity after 8 years.
Halibut are predatory animals and can eat anything from capelin, cod, haddock, and herring to squids and crustaceans.
A vacation to Alaska would not be complete without hunting for the world’s largest flatfish. In the most northern regions of the US, Halibut is legendary, and the ocean depths near Sitka are home to a considerable number of magnificent giants.
Halibut comes in various sizes, some of which will require assistance to load onto the boat. The first thing to keep in mind when organizing Alaska halibut fishing trips is that the ideal season for Halibut is from mid-May to mid-September. The optimum time to fish throughout the day is during the high slack tide since it keeps your gear as near to the bottom as possible.
Finding and catching a halibut is difficult enough without having to contend with high tides. Because there are no strong tidal currents in the waters around Sitka, we can fish for Halibut at every moon phase and at any time of day. This is something that many other prominent Alaska fishing spots don’t provide, and it’s just another reason why Sitka stands apart. Slack tides also imply you’ll be battling the fish rather than the current if you hook into a mighty halibut.
Sitka, Alaska, is one of the best places for halibut sportfishing. It is an angler’s paradise, and with a little bit of knowledge, you can experience the best of fishing throughout the year. For an amazing fishing charter adventure, contact Action Alaska Sportfishing with your queries, or call 907-738-7311.