You're holding on for dear life, reeling as fast as you can! You shout "color!" to the others on the boat and in a moments notice, your catch is flopping on the deck, wild and free no more! Moments like these are the very reason anglers from around the world travel to Alaska to fish! Not to mention there's a high probability the fish you just caught is larger than you! With limited months in the summer to travel, you may be wondering what the best time to fish in Alaska is? Whether you're looking to fish for halibut, salmon or all the above, picking the right dates can give you the best opportunity for success. Here, we explore your options and dive into the best time to fish in Alaska.

Halibut Fishing | Best Time to Fish Alaska

Unlike other species, halibut fishing is based on tides. As migratory fish, halibut breed in January and begin to migrate in the following months. Like most fish, they follow food sources such as herring. Contrary to what one might think, fishing in July and August doesn't mean bigger fish! While the average size of halibut is decreasing over time, you have just as much of an opportunity to catch a 100+ lb halibut in April than you do later in the year. With that said, you may be asking when is the best time to fish halibut then?

In reality, halibut fishing can be productive, regardless of month fished, as long as the tides and weather are favorable! For us, productive halibut fishing starts as early as March and we fish thru October.

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Salmon Fishing | Best Time to Fish Alaska

Targeting salmon is a whole different ball game and picking the right month heavily decides your success. While salmon are in the saltwater, they are feeding and preparing to complete their life-cycle of spawning up local rivers. This means they are constantly on the move and hungry! Depending on the types of salmon you're looking to target, productive salmon fishing can be found year round. Below, we breakdown the species and best months to target them.

King Salmon: Year-round in Homer. There's a lull mid-June thru beginning of July, but otherwise considered productive.

Silver Salmon: July- September

Pink Salmon: Runs every 2 years and productive June- mid August.

Red Salmon: Early July to mid-August. Reds are most productive within local rivers.

Cod + Rockfish | Best Time to Fish Alaska

In Homer, we have various types of cod and rockfish available to fish. Rockfish are usually the most common species added to trips, as the bag limit is currently 5 per angler (2022 regulations) and are really fun to catch with jigging! While there is not a closure date for targeting rockfish, the limiting factor is weather. To target rockfish, charters typically need to drive further out and weather, at times, can restrict this. Selecting a month that is known for better weather opportunity can give you a better opportunity at successful fishing.

There are two species of cod available to anglers- grey cod and ling cod. Grey cod is open year round and does not have any bag limits. This species is similar to east coast cod and delicious when fried up! Ling cod is only available starting July 1st thru the end of season. They are traditionally larger, as ADFG does require a size restriction of 35" or bigger (2022 regulation). Additionally, charters typically only allow anglers 1 per day, due to declining numbers over the years. Grey cod are usually found in abundance, while ling cod require a longer drive out, similar to rockfish!

Best time to fish alaska
Best time to fish Alaska
Best time to fish in Alaska

Picking Your Month | Best Time to Fish in Alaska


Early Season | March- May


  • Productive fishing available, as herring are migrating into Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay.
  • It's not quite peak season, so expect less crowds and touring availability to be flexible.
  • Can be less crowded on charters due to being outside of peak season.
  • We usually see better weather during this time frame- especially going into June.
  • You can fish for king salmon without reporting them on your license until April 1st.
  • King salmon derby is held in March every year! (big money here!)


  • Cannot fish for Ling Cod during this time.
  • Silver salmon are not in migration yet.
  • Weather can be colder, especially if you plan to fish March and April.


Peak Season | June- August


  • Productive fishing is still happening! Halibut prefer colder waters, so they are actively migrating during this time-frame as well.
  • Ling cod opens July 1st.
  • Silver salmon are starting to migrate in.
  • The sun's up the longest!


  • We traditionally see rougher weather, especially going into August, that prevents trips and limits species available (rockfish/ ling cod).
  • Tourism is at it's peak, so be prepared for limited availability if you didn't book tours in advance!
  • There is a short lull for fishing salmon from mid June- mid July and picks up again once silvers begin to move in.


Late Season | September - October


  • Productive fishing available and you can fish for everything Alaska has to offer! (Halibut, variety of salmon species, ling cod, rockfish, etc)
  • It's after peak season and school is back in- so expect less crowds and more availability to open up for tours.
  • Can be less crowded on charters due to being outside of peak season.


  • A lot of stores and some restaurants close down mid-September.
  • Expect weather this time of year and plan to be flexible on your fishing dates.
  • Our daylight starts to get into "normal" time range, compared to lower 48. (we love our midnight sun around here!)
  • September tends to be our rainiest month- so bring rain gear!

Dive in Deeper

While planning your trip can be exciting, it can also seem overwhelming. We totally understand and we are here for you! From picking out lodging to selecting the right trip for you, below you'll find additional resources to review! Feel free to reach out to us along the way for any questions that come up!

Need a place to stay? Review our blog on Lodging in Homer, Alaska   |  Click here to learn more about Halibut Charters and Salmon Fishing   |  Not sure which trip is best for you? Check out our blog here on Fishing Homer Alaska   |   Traveling in the winter season? Check out our blog on Alaska Winter Travel


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