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

Bradley Walters leads the pack up Angle Hill on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, at the Salmon Run Series at Tsalteshi Trails. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Summer races kick off at Tsalteshi

The annual Salmon Run Series 5K races start on July 6 and continue every Wednesday through Aug. 3

Central Emergency Services staff wait to receive doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly mulls bond for new CES fire station

Replacement of the current station is estimated to cost $16.5 million

Buldozers sit outside of the former Kenai Bowling Alley on Thursday, June 23, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Old Kenai bowling alley comes down

The business closed in 2015

Landslide debris surrounds part of Lowell Point Road on Friday, June 3, 2022, in Seward, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly looks to mitigate future Lowell Point Road dangers

Assembly members approved legislation supporting agencies working to address the “repetitive hazards”

The Alaska Department of Health And Social Services building in Juneau has no visible signs indicating the department is splitting into two agencies as of Friday. Top officials at the department said many of the changes, both physical and in services, are likely weeks and in some cases months away. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Little sign of big change for DHSS

No commissioner at new department, other Department of Health and Social Services changes may take months

Nate Rochon cleans fish after dipnetting in the Kasilof River, on June 25, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
King closures continue; Kasilof dipnet opens Saturday

The early-run Kenai River king sport fishery remains closed, and fishing for kings of any size is prohibited

An "Al Gross for Congress" sign sits near the driveway to Gross’ home in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, after he announced plans to withdraw from the U.S. House race. Gross has given little explanation in two statements for why he is ending his campaign, and a woman who answered the door at the Gross home asked a reporter to leave the property. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Alaska judge rules Sweeney won’t advance to special election

JUNEAU — A state court judge ruled Friday that Alaska elections officials… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen listens to a presentation from Alaska Communications during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska.
ACS pilots fiber program in certain peninsula neighborhoods

The fiber to the home service will make available the fastest internet home speeds on the peninsula

Most Read