Anglers reel in 400-pound, 200-pound halibut in Cook Inlet

Anglers reel in 400-pound, 200-pound halibut in Cook Inlet

Saltwater anglers fishing with the Deep Creek Fishing Club stumbled on a rarity in the Cook Inlet on Aug. 11; they brought up a 403-pound halibut and two halibut lager than 200 pounds.

The largest of the three, a 403-pound behemoth, was caught by Curt Wells, of San Diego. He landed the 8 foot, 1 inch beast while fishing aboard “The Kraken,” captained by James Wheeler.

Vivian Moe, of the Deep Creek Fishing Club, wrote in an email that Wells’ catch was accompanied by a 233-pounder being nabbed by Kevin Downey, of California, and a 241 pounder caught by Heidi Chase of New Mexico. Downey and Chase were on the Megalodon, captained by Steve “Captain Crusty” Moe.

Catches of that size are not common in the Cook Inlet.

Scott Meyer, fisheries biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said Cook Inlet is known as a nursery area.

“There are a lot of shallow bays and inlets that are nursery areas. The average weight in Cook Inlet isn’t very high compared to other places along the coast,” Meyer said. “I don’t remember the last time there was a 400 pounder caught here, probably in the late 1990s?”

While it can be difficult to estimate the age of a halibut, Meyer said there is a lot of variation, he estimated that the 403-pound halibut was likely at least 20 years old.

The maximum recorded age for a halibut, male or female, is 55 years, according to the International Pacific Halibut Commission. However, in the Cook Inlet fish are much younger.

“Most of the fish we see in the sport harvest here are less than 30 years old,” Meyer said.

Spring and summer are typically the times to target halibut. During the winter months, the right-eyed flatfish will move from their shallow feeding grounds into deeper waters.

Meyer said catching a 400-pound halibut is “like winning the lottery,” but a bit of strategy can be involved as well.

“They may have found a hidey-hole,” he said of the charter captains who took the group out. “Fish of similar sizes or ages or sexes often aggregate together. So if you catch a big fish, you might want to stay in that spot. It might increase the changes of getting a big one.”



Reach Rashah McChesney at or follow her on Twitter @litmuslens


More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchor Point house fire leaves 1 dead, 1 in serious condition

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

EPA logo
Alaska Native group to receive EPA funds for clean water projects

The agency is handing out $4.3 million to participating tribal organizations nationwide.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
State reports 6 new COVID deaths

The deaths, which included a Kenai woman in her 40s, pushed the total to 840 since the pandemic began.

Ryanna Thurman (right) speaks to a library employee at the Soldotna Public Library on Thursday, March 25 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna library seeks OK for grant fund purchases

The funds are made available under the federal American Rescue Plan Act

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Kenai man killed in vehicle rollover

The man was travelling northbound on the Sterling Highway on Tuesday.

Cheryl Morse and Tom Kleeman prepare Thanksgiving lunch at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Food bank opens doors for Thanksgiving lunch

“We don’t know what to expect, so we’re trying to still be cautious on our limited seating.”

Carter Kyle (left), Lincoln Kyle (center) and Brandon Kyle (right) hand off Thanksgiving meals at a drive through event hosted by the Salvation Army on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Thanksgiving on the go

Salvation Army hands out meals in drive-thru event

Bench creator, Brad Hughes, pours the molding material over the clay while Rob Wiard and Matt brush the liquid rubber over each character on the bench to ensure it is covered evenly. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Molds for the Loved Lost Bench are underway

Construction for the memorial bench continues as the rubber molds to shape the concrete are made.

Most Read