Top Fishing Spots

Halibut Fishing Spots in Ketchikan, Alaska

ketchikan alaska

Alaska provides the most exciting halibut fishing anywhere in the world, and Ketchikan provides some of the most exciting halibut fishing in Alaska. While average catches range from 30 to 40 pounds, large catches can tip the scales at over 300 pounds.

Catching a monster halibut is certainly on every anglers’ wish list when they arrive in Ketchikan, but you have to know where to drop your line if you really want to catch a trophy fish. The following map provides the location and GPS coordinates of the most productive halibut fishing grounds within 60 miles of Ketchikan—although most fishing spots are much closer.

The following table provides additional information, including directions, to the fishing spots marked in the map above. After clicking on a map marker, find the name of the location in the table below. To view the location in Google maps, simply click the “Directions” link.

Ship IslandFish south along Cleveland Peninsula toward Caamono Point
Distance from Ketchikan: 30 miles
Coordinates: 55.59878139807447, -132.19887400180437
Caamano PointFish north along Cleveland Peninsula toward Ship Island and north east toward Bond Bay
Distance from Ketchikan: 17 miles
Coordinates: 55.497634582834394, -131.9696660777421
Helm BayDistance from Ketchikan: 25 miles
Coordinates: 55.625159016483536, -131.96228173063847
Yes BayDistance from Ketchikan: 44 miles
Coordinates: 55.89533836195725, -131.75649944907664
Bell IslandDistance from Ketchikan: 50 miles
Coordinates: 55.9217982131569, -131.58047364596706
Hassler PassFish south toward Gedney Pass
Distance from Ketchikan: 49 miles
Coordinates: 55.873940122306614, -131.58077453552855
Gedney PassFish north toward Hassler Pass
Distance from Ketchikan: 48 miles
Coordinates: 55.84809764574091, -131.60445872024135
Neets BayDistance from Ketchikan: 37 miles
Coordinates: 55.77747504711726, -131.68639577202438
Bushy Point CoveDistance from Ketchikan: 34 miles
Coordinates: 55.73557705206442, -131.7308773730115
Bushy Point (North/West)Distance from Ketchikan: 34 miles
Coordinates: 55.743703028662985, -131.75048574602295
Naha BayDistance from Ketchikan: 27 miles
Coordinates: 55.6006255106257, -131.66396772272796
Grant IslandDistance from Ketchikan: 23 miles
Coordinates: 55.561372407595236, -131.73789454413543
Clover PassageDistance from Ketchikan: 18 miles
Coordinates: 55.49918098295745, -131.76894745927277
Escape PointDistance from Ketchikan: 27 miles
Coordinates: 55.639371089473514, -131.74017291534477
Betton PointDistance from Ketchikan: 25 miles
Coordinates: 55.54930952003407, -131.79862366297772
Guard IslandsDistance from Ketchikan: 12 miles
Coordinates: 55.44595978975028, -131.87920045767237
Vallenar PointDistance from Ketchikan: 11 miles
Coordinates: 55.43021901605268, -131.84558445767243
Vallenar BayDistance from Ketchikan: 12 miles
Coordinates: 55.38731011487381, -131.85168540741387
South Vallenar PointDistance from Ketchikan: 14 miles
Coordinates: 55.381598, -131.891593
Grant CoveDistance from Ketchikan: 17 miles
Coordinates: 55.35465417260562, -131.86170041534479
Nelson Cove (area)Distance from Ketchikan: 26 miles
Coordinates: 55.20373894068543, -131.83012637301135
Bronaugh IslandsDistance from Ketchikan: 16 miles
Coordinates: 55.11928210054287, -131.72775223809654
Bostwick InletDistance from Ketchikan: 14 miles
Coordinates: 55.2273183139347, -131.73216103125026
Seal CoveDistance from Ketchikan: 15 miles
Coordinates: 55.1838448057428, -131.7136756085232
Blank InletDistance from Ketchikan: 7.5 miles
Coordinates: 55.27532676833279, -131.66548100181106
Tongass NarrowDistance from Ketchikan: 1.5 miles
Coordinates: 55.32688907151465, -131.62216027116477
Herring BayDistance from Ketchikan: 5 miles
Coordinates: 55.32491591722595, -131.52017884978395
California HeadDistance from Ketchikan: 10 miles
Coordinates: 55.32762710443362, -131.47630945777502
Carroll InletDistance from Ketchikan: 26 miles
Coordinates: 55.51680263475249, -131.32906354226213
Bold IslandDistance from Ketchikan: 10.5 miles
Coordinates: 55.25773797013197, -131.42257618664127
Thorne ArmDistance from Ketchikan: 23 miles
Coordinates: 55.30280770983992, -131.26456057083877
Point AlavaDistance from Ketchikan: 22 miles
Coordinates: 55.18935211881655, -131.18239991551107
Point SykesDistance from Ketchikan: 27 miles
Coordinates: 55.193409604982634, -131.09766728034924
Boca de QuadraDistance from Ketchikan: 33 miles
Coordinates: 55.07937968290241, -130.9806409155224
Mary IslandDistance from Ketchikan: 26 miles
Coordinates: 55.06968557495845, -131.1799587724957
Foggy BayDistance from Ketchikan: 35 miles
Coordinates: 54.94006301688321, -130.9552248917167
Duke Island (East side)Distance from Ketchikan: 31 miles
Coordinates: 54.93853159156626, -131.21722935563517
Duke Island (West side)Distance from Ketchikan: 32 miles
Coordinates: 54.923704641563404, -131.5165585422543
Cape Fox (area)Waters surrounding Cape fox, both east and west
Distance from Ketchikan: 40 miles
Coordinates: 54.763006323740825, -130.8634427288815
Nakat InletDistance from Ketchikan: 65 miles
Coordinates: 54.92364364177306, -130.7494618133846
Lower Portland CanalDistance from Ketchikan: 66 miles
Coordinates: 54.80206736592453, -130.55878043404917
Spacious BayDistance from Ketchikan: 45 miles
Coordinates: 55.85790416039316, -131.88429914439118
Niblack Point (area)Distance from Ketchikan: 24 miles
Coordinates: 55.54784203738769, -132.12544868915694
Lakekta Point-Humpy PointsWaters in between Lakekta Point and Humpy Point
Distance from Ketchikan: 40 miles
Coordinates: 54.848948013280804, -130.95521894886417
Garnet PointDistance from Ketchikan: 62 miles
Coordinates: 54.719279329886284, -130.70899537323115
House RockWaters north of House Rock
Distance from Ketchikan: 32 miles
Coordinates: 55.02324605721255, -131.03056472887613
Slate Islands (area)Distance from Ketchikan: 28 miles
Coordinates: 55.09401698966667, -131.060327537737
Twin IslandsArea northeast and south of Twin Islands
Distance from Ketchikan: 20 miles
Coordinates: 55.158529942616106, -131.20062504637175

The ideal water temperature for catching halibut in Ketchikan is between 37 and 47 degrees Fahrenheit. Waters typically reach these temperatures during July and August, as halibut migrate from the Gulf of Alaska to the shallower waters of Alaska’s continental shelf. Halibut can be fished from mid-May through September, but the best time to target halibut is June through August.

Even though halibut are plentiful in the waters off Ketchikan, they’re not always easy to catch. There are a couple things you can do to increase both your bite and catch rate—the first of which is making sure you have the right equipment.

I recommend a sturdy 7′ American-style fishing pole with a double action reel. It should be equiped with a minimum 800 feet of 60-80 pound braided-nylon line. If you plan on reeling in a 200 pound halibut, you better make sure you have a rod and reel that can handle the punishment.

Halibut have a phenomenal sense of smell. In fact, smell is the number one sense halibut use to find their prey. Hence, stinky, smelly bait is key to drawing a fish to your line. The stinkier your bait, the better your chance of landing a prize catch. Herring, salmon bellies, or geoduck clams are ideal halibut bait.

You have two choice of hooks: J-hooks or circle hooks. Either will work, but my personal preference is the rounded hook since I like to let the halibut entirely consume the bait before setting the hook and reeling it in. If you intend to set the hook with a yank before reeling in, then you’ll want to use a j-hook. Either way, don’t start bringing the fish in until your rod shows a decent amount of bend.

There are a myriad of lures that are also effective for catching halibut. One of the more popular lures that appears to do the trick in Ketchikan is the rubber octopus lure. Hoochie skirts, the Dart, and Zinger lures will also get the job done. Even when using a lure, you’ll still want to attach some bait or cover the lure with a liquid bait scent to get the halibut’s attention.

A popular method for catching halibut off Ketchikan is jigging, but I think it’s really a matter of preference. Jigging is an active form of fishing that can be a lot of fun. If you’re going to jig, target underwater rockpiles and structure.

There are several good fishing charters in Ketchikan that can get you where you need to be to catch a good size halibut. However, if you’re going at it on your own make sure you know what you’re doing and are prepared. One of the advantages of being self guided is that you’ll have a more liberal bag limit. In Southeast Alaska guided fishing has a 1 halibut per day bag limit. Self guided fisherman can bag up to 2 halibut per day—any size.

Brian Walters is an avid angler that has been fishing since he was old enough to pick up a rod. With over 40 years of experience fishing all over the country for.... read more
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