Halibut Fishing Hot Spot – Chatham Strait

One of the things I hope to do from time to time is share information on where to catch fish. In the forty years that I have fished for salmon, halibut and rock bass all over SE Alaska my charts have become well-marked with my favorite spots. Everyone will say you have to consider the stage of the summer runs, tides, or a multitude of other conditions. If you want to catch halibut, one consideration the locals us is to seek out a bay with a good “humpy” or pink salmon stream then find the right spot where the halibut can prey on the salmon. You hear all types of reasons for getting skunked or having a bad day. The one I love is having bananas on board your boat. This is a pretty strong and widely believed superstition, believe it or not. I’ve had my own experience, but that’s another story.

There are lots of places along Chatham Strait from Red Bluff Bay to Icy Strait to find halibut. One of my favorite is the mouth of Tenakee Inlet. Under calm conditions just outside East Point on the north side in 160-200 feet of water can be great. If the wind kicks up from the south, you can move around to the inside of the point and fish the 100-foot plus ledge on the north side off where an old logging road drops over the hill. You can also cross over to the south side. I’ve limited out at these spots and even hooked some barn door sized fish.  All of these spots can be drifted or you can put a hook down under the right conditions. Depths can be highly variable so criss-cross the area a few times to get the lay of the bottom and estimate where you may end up after anchoring.


About Fred Cooper

Alaska resident at the time of statehood and returns annually; professional civil engineer and for 35 years owner of an engineering company; skipper of the Nordic Quest; author, avid fisherman and world traveler. Lives with his wife and their water-loving standard schnauzer in Portland, Oregon.
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5 Responses to Halibut Fishing Hot Spot – Chatham Strait

  1. Scott Hibbs says:

    Hey, I have enjoyed reading your posts. Keep them up. Hope to meet you in SE sometime. I am a PE, spend a bit of time in Alaska inspecting bridges. I have a small piece of an island near Ketchikan and have been able to go up about 8 times in the last 3 years. I live in La Center, WA and hope to take my family up this June. I am teaching myself to fish and want to encourage you to keep up the posts as time allows.


    • Fred Cooper says:

      Hi Scott,

      I am curious how you discovered my blog site. I am also a PE and my offices are in Portland. Are you retired, working indepdentedly or with a company? My home town is Ketchikan.

      Fred Cooper

      • Scott Hibbs says:

        Fred, I was searching for Halibut spots and found your blog. I am working full time as a difficult access inspector (climbing bridges, dams, pipelines, etc). Write via e-mail some time if you have some Halibut locations near George Inlet.


  2. Sisu says:

    We’re new to SE former South Central jet boaters from the Mat-Su Valley, so I’ve been reading, researching etc., while we wait for our boat to be finished. You have a good common sense site to read about fishing. My wife and I are mostly fly fishers so this salt water fishing will be another new adventure. Thanks for the great blog.

  3. Cory says:

    My wife and I lived at Hidden Falls Hatchery for about 11 months, Kasnyku Bay was a great fishing spot, not only for salmon but also halibut, ling, rock fish, and shrimp. .

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