Hippoglossus Stenolepis

Pleuronectidae

Pleuronectiformes

Continental Shelf, Offshore

20 - 500 pounds

96"

Pacific Halibut Game Fish Quality Excellent
Pacific Halibut Meal Quality Very Good
Pacific Halibut Fly Fishing Quality Poor

Pacific Halibut 

Pacific Halibut 
Also Known As: Halibut  

Guides Who Fish This Species

address

San Diego, CA

23ft - 4 guests

Offshore

Inshore

Starting as low as

$850

address

San Francisco, CA

31ft - 4 guests

Offshore

Starting as low as

$600

Pacific Halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) Fish Description

The Pacific Halibut is one of the largest flatfish in the world (2nd biggest, next to its close relative, Atlantic Halibut). It’s a saltwater fish that thrives in deep cold waters. It has a muddy brown color and dark-brown spots. Its body is more elongated than most flatfishes and shaped like a diamond. 

They’re strong swimmers and eat a variety of fishes from the bottom of the ocean - cods, turbots, pollocks, octopi, crabs, and shrimps. They also sometimes eat fishes from the pelagic - salmon, herring

 

Interesting Facts About the Pacific Halibut 

  • Pacific halibuts are called demersal fish, these are fish that stays in the bottom of the ocean, just like stingrays.
  • Almost all halibuts are “right-eyed”, which means they are facing up with the “right side” of their face and the left side is the bottom. 

 

Pacific Halibut Size

The Pacific halibut is a large fish that can grow up to 8 feet long and 5 feet wide and weigh up to 500 lbs. Their average weight is 20-40 lbs, but catching 100 is pretty common. As of now, there is no average length of the Pacific Halibut.  They mature at the age of 8 for males and 12 years old for females.

 

Habitat & Distribution of the Pacific Halibut

The Pacific Halibut mainly lives in the deep waters of the northern Pacific region. They usually prefer depths 20-1000 feet, but they can go as deep as 3,600 feet. They prefer the cold temperatures of 37°-46°F and are mostly found on or near continental shelves.

In the U.S., their range is from California up to the Chukchi Sea. Good fishing spots are the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. You can also find Pacific halibuts in nearer areas such as the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

Pacific halibuts migrate in a clockwise manner, from northwest to southeast. A good time to catch these fish is in summer, where they are more active in their feeding grounds and are closer to shallow waters. During winter, they go to deeper waters to spawn their eggs.

 

Fishing Techniques for the Pacific Halibut

Being bottom-dwellers, make sure you equip yourself with gears for deep fishing. Try to aim the sweet spot for fishing Pacific Halibut which is 150-500 feet. They like to stalk their prey from the bottom and being strong swimmers, it’s good to make a chase with your baits to tease the halibut. To send your baits to the bottom, use a 1-2 lb weight. Slightly cast your line forward to get the fly down and retrieve it fast every once in a while to check. Just leave the rod attached to the rod holder slightly bounce the rod up and down attracting the halibut. It’s a waiting game for this fish.

Fly fishing for Pacific halibuts is rare but it’s doable. For Fly Rods, use a 50-pound monoline with fast sinking heads and a 12-15 heavyweight rod with a 16-lb snippet. Recorded fly fishing for Pacific halibuts can go as heavy as 138 pounds. For spinner rods, use a 6-7 feet heavy rod with a 60-lb line and 1-1.25 lb lead. 

Recommended baits are pink salmon heads and bellies, squids, herring, and octopus. To further catch the attention of the Pacific halibut, use some fishing attractants. For lures, use jigs or spoons that make some noise to attract them They’re known to use their sight and hearing in more shallow waters but in deeper waters, they hunt with scent.