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Saltwater Fish - Halibut

Halibut

Hippoglossus stenolepis

AKA:  Whales, soakers, barndoors

Distinguishing Markings:

 

Size: 

Up to 400 pounds or more

 

Distribution:

In the Pacific, from Washington State north to Alaska including the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Neah Bay, Sekiu, and Port Angeles.  Also native to temperate waters of the northern Atlantic Ocean, where it lives in coastal waters and on the continental shelf down to a depth of 6,000 feet.  However, the Atlantic halibut fishery has been extremely depleted through overfishing; almost all halibut bought on the East coast are now Pacific halibut.

 

Habitat:

Halibut like to feed on and around underwater mountains and plateaus.

 

Food Preference:

Herring, squid, other baitfish

 

Spawning:

Halibut spawn in the winter with peaks for December through February. Most spawning takes place off the continental shelf in deep waters of 200 to 300 fathoms. Females lay two to three millions eggs annually, depending on the size of the halibut. Males and females mature 7-8 and 8-12 years, respectively

 

Fishing Tips:

Halibut fishing is extremely popular in Washington and throughout the Pacific Northwest.  Best fishing in these areas is during the spring.  Halibut will take herring, squid and other baits, but deep-water anglers often prefer to bounce leadhead jigs with large, plastic grub bodies, pipe jigs, or baitfish-imitating metal jigs along the bottom.

 

See Also: