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Thread: Where do halibut end?

  1. #1

    Default Where do halibut end?

    I've kind of seen this question before but am not clear on the answer. Tomorrow I get my first boat, a 24 foot silverstreak river boat. This is also my first summer in Alaska so I have a million questions and few answers. Nevertheless, I am planning on using it in the rivers and on Cook Inlet. I live in Soldotna and it is very, very convenient to launch at the Kenai docks. I know that halibut fishing is world class in Homer, Deep Creek, Anchor Point etc. I also know that halibut like to live at the mouth of rivers that flush salmon down. So my question is why don't people fish for halibut off the mouth of the Kenai? Exactly how far south do I have to go to be in good halibut waters? Is there a reason why they are world class fishery in Deep Creek but there are apparently none at Kenai? I'm not sure if it would be more economical to drive down south and pay a launch fee or launch in the Kenai and boat down while fishing. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    There's a chicken patch off of Kalgin Island. Head out from the Kenai, but watch the rip.
    Live life and love it
    Love life and live it

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    Member wildwill's Avatar
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    Default A crack question---

    So your looking for where the hali-but crack starts? Ben, I hope you find the answer and after you make a few trips out with others and survive, I will be frothing at the bit to go.

    Glad to see your starting to post and hopefully by the end of the summer we'll have some good pic's post--thats if I can ever learn how to post the darn things.

    Will

  4. #4

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    I've heard a lot about the rip tide in the middle of cook inlet. I know a rip can be dangerous for swimmers but if a boater is watching where he is going, wouldn't a boat be able to power out of such a tide? Isn't the danger from a rip getting the boat moved around and banged into something? I think I know how to spot a rip tide but I'm not sure why everyone is so cautious about them. Just one of my million questions.

  5. #5
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    The reason I heard as to why there are so few butts off the mouth of the Kenai was due to a different type bottom that halibut didnt seem to like.
    Have no idea if there is any truth to it or not.
    Tennessee

  6. #6

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    Also, if you head into the inlet from the Kenai River, watch the depth. One time I tried to head back into the Kenai from the inlet during low tide and it was so shallow at the mouth that I had to wait for the tide to come in. That was about a mile off shore and I was in a 16-ft inflatable with a long shaft. So you might want to keep the tides in mind when planning your trip.

  7. #7
    Member flyfishak30's Avatar
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    Default kenai halibut

    We used to go out to the first big bouy about a mile out and tie off to it.
    We would get butts every time. 30-40 feet of water.
    A buddie of mine landed two over 100 lbs one trip.
    Got to weed through the dogfish though.

  8. #8

    Default

    I am heading out this evening from the Kenai dock for halibut. The planets are aligned with a good evening high tide and nice weather. I will be heading about 25 miles to the south and west hopefully right off clam gulch.

    As far as rip tides go, they are fairly harmless if the weather is nice, but once you add some wind they tend to be very nasty with waves virtually straight up and down. I've heard you should fish near the rips for halibut, but I haven't personally ever done that. I can see it being a problem anchoring up in the rips with all the junk that gets collected in them, such as trees and kelp.

    I've fished near the Kenai buoy, but have only caught spiny dogfish. I think if you can get far enough out towards the north end of deep creek and get into 100+ feet of water, there is no reason you can't catch halibut.

    I will give a full report tomorrow.

  9. #9
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    Default do not go out of Kenai

    I would suggest that you do not go out of Kenai and do not head out into Cook Inlet in a 24 foot river boat. The Upper Inlet can be very dangerous and relative to the rips there are three - east, middle, and west. All of them can be bad under certain tide and weather situations. Drift boats in UCI are typically 30 feet or better and having fished on them in the inlet I would say stick to the Deep Creek area where other boaters can help out if you get in trouble.

    It just is not worth it out of Kenai to take the risk. The comment about the sand bars and shallow water are correct. On the really low tides one can get hung up very fast in shallow water.

    Also, be careful if you anchor - with the tides a boat can swamp really fast. I lost a friend in UCI when his boat anchor line got hung up with a switching tide. If you are a novice I would go out with a guide first and ask lots of questions about navigation and safety issues.

  10. #10

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    Jesus Nerka you have scared the crap out of me. I guess I'll just have to trailer. I thouhgt, like the post before yours, that, if the winds were low, that you didn't need to worry about the rips too much. What about launching at Kenai and driving the boat down (along the shore) to say Deep Creek. Why don't more people do that?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by btadams1 View Post
    Jesus Nerka you have scared the crap out of me. I guess I'll just have to trailer. I thouhgt, like the post before yours, that, if the winds were low, that you didn't need to worry about the rips too much. What about launching at Kenai and driving the boat down (along the shore) to say Deep Creek. Why don't more people do that?
    an hour and a half in the boat, weather permitting, or a 35 minute drive in the truck, my best thought would be truck. if the wind picks up you have a 10 to 30 minute boat ride to shore, wind oicks up and you have to return to kenai,--hmmmmm.

  12. #12
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    Default pole bender is right

    If you head down to Deep Creek out of Kenai you have no where to pull in if things get rough. The mouth of the Kasilof is the only real spot and that is not easy with certain tides and winds. Also, if the tides are running against you - 5-7 knots - you really are burning gas and money when the truck drive is so much easier.

    Not trying to cause you heartburn but to give you a heads up and suggest a slow approach since you are new to the area. The fishery off Deep Creek is a good one and people have a great time. Go down and watch what type of boats are being used, go out with a guide to see how they handle the tides and weather, do a little research on how fast conditions can change, and then enjoy your trip knowing that you will not be putting yourself and others at risk from being out in areas you should not be in.

    good luck.

  13. #13

    Default

    Just go ahead and trailer down to Deep Creek or Homer.

    I went 25 miles out of the mouth of the Kenai almost directly off the Clam Gulch Tower. I looked for bottom structure in about 120ft and fished last nights slack tide for about 2 hours. The only thing caught was a spiny dogfish.

    The rips weren't all that bad, but then again the winds were about 10-15kts, so the waves were only 1-2 ft.

  14. #14
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    Default Safe Is Best

    It's better to come back with a good fishing story than a horror story; or worse yet, have someone else telling of your horror story. Cook inlet is not a novice's water and too many treat it as such (Heck it's the ocean, right?) WRONG. The reason kenai ain't so hot of a halibut launch is a combination of water clariety and food availablility. Halibut in the shallow waters of the kenai mouth are spawning and the babes are eating salmon reminants (I've caught 1 baby halibut dip netting the kenai) and growing until they mature enough to move into open water. Halibut are opportunistic feeders and will follow a food source with good scent. A bunch of stinky mud doesn't provide much other than river mouths like the kenai and kasilof. I've got my own thoery about a good 'but hole *lol* in the middle of the inlet but that's another story all together. Play it safe and play where others are able to see you.
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

  15. #15
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    Default Novice Boater - Use this advice

    Use the Deep Creek Boat Launch, it's $45 but you park the trailer at he launch station, park you truck and climb back in the boat. They have tractors that push you in the water and then they come and get you when you come back. It's Boat Launching Valet style. Go find yourself some 120 - 140 feet of water and you only need to go about 5 miles off shore. Great fishing, easy boating. Just make sure you check the marine forecast for rough seas. I hope your river boat has some type of shelter because it gets cold on the water.

    Oh and I am assuming you know to fish and hour or two before and after slack tide.

    Good Luck

  16. #16

    Default Slack tide?

    Ok, at the risk of looking like a retard (which is ok....because I have so many questions) I have yet to figure out exactly when slack tide is. High tide and low tide are in the book. So how does one calculate the slack tide from the tide tables?

  17. #17
    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    High tide and low tide are generally when slack tide is. Its longer on a neap tide
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  18. #18

    Default No. 1 priority-stay alive!

    I agree wholeheartedly with the previous advice; I have first hand experience being in the "rip" numerous times for 3 summers fishing as a deckhand on a C.I. driftboat; most scared I've ever been; and we were in a 34' commercial boat; water pretty calm on both sides of the rip, but absolutely terrifying in the middle of it; we took waves over the back of the boat numerous times; also, there can be all kinds of crap in the rip; whole trees, kelp, crates, etc. to get you in trouble. Stay in the company of others and have all the required safety equipment; plus 2 ways to communicate (preferably something water resistant and portable). Some of the most beautiful days I've ever seen have been on that water, but also the scariest; as said before, it does get cold out there, even in July.
    Jim

  19. #19

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    Slack tide is pretty much the time when the water isn't coming in (heading toward high tide), or going out (heading toward low tide). If you're in Cook Inlet and the water is pretty still (between tides), then that would be slack tide.

  20. #20
    Member avidflyer's Avatar
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    Default

    I have commercial fished the inlet all my life.. while the rips can be bad, dont let anyone make you think you cant safely boat in the inlet. I have hundereds of crossings in the last 30 years in 14-18' skiffs when setnetting on the west side to 28-34' when drifting. One time Dad and I crossed from Chisik Island to Deep creek in a canoe (not one of my brighter memories).

    The inlet is known for its confused seas, especially in the rips. A confused sea is one that comes at you from every direction not just from one direction. As others have said, the rips hold trees logs sticks and you name it in them so watch out for debris in the water. If you are fishing off deep creek and it kicks up all you have to do is beach the boat.. run that bugger up on the shore if you have to if you are that scared. dont try to babny it in if the surf is pounding, hit the beach with a little speed and pull the engine up at the last second...dont forget to hang on as you do stop suddenly on the sand, but alteast you wont swamp the boat or get wet. Check the forcast, and if it is blowing dont launch. pretty simple.

    I caught a few buts off the kenai can years ago, but for the last few years all I have gotten were sand sharks (dogfish).

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