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|Pacific halibut are demersal fish most often found on or near the bottom over mud, sand or gravel beds. While these fish have been recorded to depths of 3,600 feet, most are caught at depths of 90 to 900 feet. Halibut over 350 pounds have been caught near Resurrection Bay, however, fish in the 10-150 pound range are more common. Most sport caught halibut are generally taken in the outer areas of Resurrection Bay, however, they are occasionally taken within the Bay in near shore waters.|
As halibut can range in weight from a few pounds up to several hundred pounds, stout tackle is recommended. Tackle should include a 5-7 foot medium to stout rod equipped with a level-wind reel capable of holding up to 300 yards of 30-80 pound test line. Large jigs or hooks of sizes 4/0-12/0 baited with octopus, salmon heads, or whole or cut herring are typical baits. The amount of weight required to hold the bait on the bottom is usually 8-32 ounces, depending on the depth and current speed. Although drifting is popular, anchoring is effective because the scent of the bait is distributed down current and attracts fish. The best time of day to fish for halibut is just before, during and after slack tide as this is the easiest time to keep the bait on the bottom (the key to successful halibut fishing), so refer to a tide book. Halibut are available in fair numbers within Resurrection Bay, but fishing is best outside the Bay. Popular areas outside the Bay include Chiswell Islands, Day Harbor, Johnstone Bay and Cape Resurrection.
Halibut are managed under a treaty with Canada. Current bag and possession limits for sport caught halibut in south-central Alaska are 2 daily and 4 in possession. There are no minimum size limits and the season is open from February 1 through December 31. Anglers are reminded that until halibut are brought ashore, they may not fillet, mutilate, or otherwise disfigure a halibut in any manner that prevents the determination of the number of halibut caught or possessed.
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