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Fishing in Homer

Homer fishing overview provided by Fish Alaska Magazine.

Experience the Thrill of Fishing in Homer

Fishing in Homer is a popular choice for many folks visiting Alaska. That makes perfect sense since Homer has long since been on the map as a fishing destination. The city of Homer is a thriving coastal community that draws Alaskans and visitors to its impressive scenic views, eclectic shops, excellent restaurants, interesting activities and of course, fishing. Dubbed “The Halibut Fishing Capital of the World”, this destination offers a jumping-off point to access the waters of Kachemak Bay, Cook Inlet and the Gulf of Alaska. Across the season, anglers who choose saltwater fishing out of the port of Homer can access king salmon, halibut, lingcod, rockfish and silver salmon.

What can you catch in Homer?

King Salmon

King salmon, also known as Chinook, are present year-round in the waters around Homer. This species of salmon, which is the largest of the five species of Pacific salmon, can live in the saltwater for up to five years before returning to their natal rivers. While in the saltwater around Homer packing on the pounds, these fish are referred to as “feeder” or “winter” kings and are mixed stock fish from Alaska, Canada, Idaho, Washington and Oregon. Fittingly, for the last three decades Homer has hosted a winter king derby.

The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon

A special terminal harvest fishery exists on the Homer Spit, one of the unique aspects of fishing in Homer. The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (also known as The Fishing Hole) is stocked with both kings and silvers. Anglers can target kings from May through early July. This spot offers a handicapped accessible platform and ramp. It’s a popular location to try your luck catching a salmon in Homer, and includes a parking lot, fish cleaning tables, restrooms and a picnic area.

Why is Homer the Halibut Fishing Capital of the World?

Halibut are one of the most highly sought after fish in Alaska’s saltwater. They are exciting to catch and for many are the best-tasting fish in Alaska. Pacific halibut are the largest member of the flatfish family and can reach astounding sizes. The current world record halibut caught on rod and reel is 459 pounds. Fish over 500 pounds have been caught by commercial fishermen. Typical average halibut weigh about 20 pounds, but the next fish you hook could always be far larger. Anglers start targeting halibut in earnest in May and continue through September. Halibut winter and spawn in deep water off shore, and May through September marks the time when these fish are accessible to anglers. Halibut can be caught in Kachemak Bay, Cook Inlet and the Gulf of Alaska.

In 2023, Homer resumed hosting an annual halibut derby. In 2024, the Homer Halibut Derby will run from 5/13/24 through 9/2/24, giving anglers a lot more opportunity to get in on the potential prize-winning action.

Lingcod are a Voracious and Tasty Option

What lingcod lack in beauty, they make up for in ferocious demeanor and delicate, delicious table fare. This species of fish is not actually a cod, but rather a member of the greenling family, and the largest one at that. They typically inhabit rocky reefs, structure and deep-water pinnacles. They are territorial about their lairs, so anything that gets too close may end up in a bucket mouth full of big, sharp teeth.

Lingcod anglers head south out of Homer and mainly target these toothy sea dragons in the Gulf of Alaska. Lingcod retention season opens July 1st, and many anglers plan their bottomfish trips with this date in mind. Lingcod can reach impressive sizes and live up to 25 years; the current Alaska state record is 85 pounds. Typical lingcod weigh between 10- and 30 pounds.

Rockfish around Homer

There are over 30 species of rockfish living in Alaska waters. They come in a wide range of colors and sizes. Two of the most commonly targeted species in Homer are black rockfish and yelloweye rockfish. Most of the rockfish caught from Homer are found in the Gulf of Alaska, where they can be targeted throughout the entire fishing season.

Black rockfish are considered a pelagic rockfish species with large schools throughout the water column. They are a long-lived fish, and average about three pounds, with very large fish weighing more than seven pounds. They are often called black bass, a moniker derived from their bass-like appearance. They are delicious to eat and usually the one most pursued by anglers.

Yelloweye rockfish are a long-living, non-pelagic rockfish species that live in deeper water. Their bodies are a brilliant orange color and their eyes are bright yellow. They can grow quite large, with 20+ pound specimens caught each year. They are susceptible to barotrauma when brought to the surface from depths and can be susceptible to overfishing. Anglers who target deepwater rockfish species are required to have equipment on board to allow them to descend the rockfish back to depth to help reverse the effects of barotrauma.

Silver Salmon in the Saltwater and the Lagoon

Silver salmon, also known as coho, are one of the more sought-after salmon species in Alaska. A solid average specimen is in the 8- to 10-pound range. They can be found in large schools in Cook Inlet, Kachemak Bay and the Gulf of Alaska, making them a popular target for Homer anglers from mid-July through September. They are well regarded as one of the most acrobatic and gravity-defying species out there, and it’s not uncommon to hook one and watch it race to the surface and cartwheel before instantly changing directions.

Starting in mid-July, stocked silvers return to the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. It can be a rewarding place to see families fishing and to watch returning silvers splash around in the small lagoon. With the right timing and easy access, fishing in Homer on the Spit can be very rewarding.

Plan your Trip

Homer is an outstanding location to visit, recreate and catch lots of fish. Don’t forget to enter Homer’s derbies before heading out to catch a wide variety of fun-to-catch and great-to-eat species. If you time your trip right you can catch halibut in the derby and a variety of other species and take home a box of frozen fillets that will feed your family and take you back to your special memories of fishing in Homer. If you would like to go fishing in the saltwater, contact one of the Homer Chamber of Commerce members below who provide charter fishing. You will be glad you did!

For more information about fishing in Homer and elsewhere in Alaska, visit