That’s right, its halibut derby time again in Alaska, and there is not much time left to catch the jackpot halibut this year. Currently, the leading halibut is coming in at 273 pounds and was caught by Mark Hilts from Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Also, there are a couple of halibut in the 250 pound range that were landed in July too.
Weather has been typical Alaska weather, tiny bit of sun, tons of overcast and some rain. Water conditions have been a little bit nasty several of the past few days with quite a few out of town anglers getting a bit sick out there. But hey, its derby time, and you got to be able to play with the big barn door halibut if you are going to have any shot.
One of the big questions of the year is where the heck is Deep Creek Fishing Lodge right now in this derby? Haven’t seen crusty man Steve Moe at the weigh in scales yet, so not sure if he has been able to get out of bed to do some fishing lately? But, knowing him, he will probably be sliding in the winning halibut on the last day of the tournament.
Here is a brief overview in video of my first fishing trip to Alaska. We visited the Kenai Peninsula and fished for halibut, trout, and salmon at the Deep Creek Fishing Club.
This place is amazing. The first day we went out on the ocean and fished for Halibut. There were two boats of us, 4 people on each boat, and one captain and another crew member per boat too. All eight of us caught our limit of two halibut each. The largest halibut of the day was 69.4 pounds on the scale outside the lodge. It was great fun. The weather out on the water was a bit choppy, but nothing too bad, infact nobody even got sea sick. It did get a bit windy towards the end of the day
On the second day, we went fishing on the Kasilof River on the Kenai Peninsula. Some of the video is also from salmon fishing on this river. The fishing that day was pretty good for our drift boat.
We brought 3 salmon to the boat, and had a total of 5 salmon strikes. We released two of the salmon because they were wild king salmon, and we kept one that was a hatchery fish. Our guide Todd who works for the Deep Creek Fishing Club was excellent. He had been guiding tourists who come to Alaska to fish for over twenty years now.
On the final day of our trip, we chartered a small airplane to fly us to some remote lake across the channel. We landed and started fishing for lake trout. We were using salmon eggs, and our group of eight caught about 15 trout in about one hour. Next, our guides and Capta
in Steve aka Captain Crusty fixed up all the fish on the side of the lake with a bunch of charcoal, and we had some awesome fish tacos. They setup a nice table and there was everything you could need for a great meal including wine and beer and best of all fresh caught trout for our taco meat.
Please enjoy the video of the fishing trip to the Deep Creek Fishing Club:
The first morning of our Alaskan fishing trip, we decided to go out on the salt water and try out halibut fishing. We were fishing in the Cook Inlet just south of Kenai, Alaska. We had been told that the halibut fishing was great, and yes, there were tons of pictures of one hundred and two and three hundred pound halibut all over the fishing lodge, but you never really know what you are getting into.
The lodge that we stayed at (Deep Creek Fishing Lodge, owned by Steve Moe and his wife Vivian) has two 28 foot boats that they use on the salt water for halibut. These boats are awesome to say the least. Below is a picture of the halibut boats so you can get a feel for what I am talking about. They are perfect for halibut fishing and the potentially nasty Alaskan weather too.
Once we started our journey just a mile away to the launch site, things got really interesting. I have used many launch ramps before, but nothing quite like the deal they got going in Ninilchik, Alaska. Basically, you trailer your boat down to the “launch site” and take your boat off your car trailer. Then the crew down there completely takes over. What they do is they use a crane that has a trailer hitch on it, and they back your boat up into the water. Next, you start your engine and pull off the trailer and away you go.
Here is a video of the Ninilchik launch ramp for small boats:
It was wild to see, and amazingly quick and easy. The same deal when you pull your boat out later in the day. And the total fee for this service is $55 per day.
Once we got out about 20 miles, we started our day halibut fishing. The deal was each of us had our own pole. Our captain Skye and Jeremy did a great job of loading up our hooks with weights and bait all day long. The halibut bait that we used was cod fish, herring, and octopus. The fishing line was pretty heavy duty. The leaders were about 30 feet long and the final portion was some 300lb test line. So I wasn’t too worried about anything every breaking free on us. Here is a picture right before we started catching halibut.
We were fishing in about 180 feet of water, and there was about two knots of current. So we all had some considerable amount of fishing line out. But, within a few minutes of dropping down our poles, we started noticing that something was beginning to bite on our halibut poles. My pole was the first to go off, so I began reeling it in. After a few minutes, and not too much of a fight at all, it was a false alarm, just a couple pound cod. But we pulled it overboard, and the deckhands began cutting it up and said we could surely use it for bait for the halibut.
It wasn’t too much longer until some of the other fishing poles went off, and this time it was halibut action. Some of the halibut that we caught were between 20-50 pounds. No 100 pound halibut today, but we limited out our 2 halibut per person within two hours, and that was pretty good. The weather was starting to pick up with some relatively heavy winds and some light rain and moderate seas, so we decided to call it a day right after landing the final fish. And back in we went to put our boat back on the trailer.
A super great day halibut fishing, and I was most excited about being able to bring a ton of fish home and share it with family and friends, and especially my wife who told me to make sure to come home with some halibut or else… Here are some more fishing pictures from the day we caught all the halibut in Alaska.