No Slot Limit for the DIY Angler
Changes to the rules now favor the self guided fisherman with no size limit and a daily catch of two fish.
New Halibut regulations brought into effect in March 2018 have made self guided fishing ever more attractive as opposed to hiring a charter captain. The new rules, designed to protect the breeding stock of Halibut have imposed a slot size and a limit of one fish. The self guided fisherman has no size restriction and a bag limit of two per day.
The reality is that you will likely catch more fish with an experienced Captain but you will more likely have to throw your catch back overboard. For the self guided fisherman, more interested in the challenge and excitement of hunting his own, then the greater limits are his well earned reward. Indeed many of the fish caught in our area are in the 30 to 80 pound range. That makes a charter fishing trip, where you can only keep Halibut under approximately 19 pounds, more a catch and release adventure.
I recommend hiring a charter Captain the first day of your trip and consider the cost a well spent investment to learn the area and techniques you will need for success. Then you will get to use the information for the remainder of your stay. Oftentimes your Captain will be open to a phone conversation during the week if you have follow up questions. You might consider the value of that when you tip him at the end of your trip.
National Marine Fisheries Alaska Region Halibut Regulations 2018
Regulation using a Charter Fishing Captain:
• One fish daily bag limit: Charter vessel anglers may catch and retain one halibut per day.
• Reverse slot limit: Retained halibut must be less than or equal to 38 inches or greater than or equal to 80 inches in length. This reverse slot limit allows anglers to keep halibut less than approximately 19 pounds and greater than 208 pounds, after the head and guts have been removed.
Regulation for Self Guided Fisherman:
Unguided anglers—limit is 2 per day, 4 in possession, no size limit.