Salmon may be best known, but halibut are equally interesting. They are one of the ugliest fishes in the ocean, and spend their lives flattened deep against the ocean bottom. A biological adaptation to their place on the bottom of the ocean – and one of the factors that contributes to their ugliness – is the fact that both of their eyes are on the same side of their heads. The “bottom” eye migrates up to the upper side of the head when they are in the larval stage. Once they become juveniles, they settle into their home on the ocean floor, and can grow to enormous proportions – the largest ever recorded weighed 495 pounds. That’s unusual, but it’s not at all uncommon to see fishers in Southcentral Alaska haul up halibut 150 pounds or heavier. They can also live quite a long time (females longer than males), which contributes to their ponderous growth over their lifetime. The white meat of the halibut is firm and mild and grills extremely well. It is a mainstay on menus across Alaska.
Where to find them
Halibut are found throughout the North Pacific Ocean, from British Columbia through the Gulf of Alaska and northwest toward the Bering Sea. The best halibut fishing in Alaska is found in Southcentral Alaska, particularly out of the ports of Homer and Valdez.
When to come
The best time to fish for halibut is in the summer.