“Adventure of a lifetime” is an overused expression in this business
In our opinion you’re more likely to have one in Alaska than most other places, but it’s not the frontier it used to be. Here are the facts: over the last fifty years the more popular areas of Alaska have become more and more well-known. It’s still possible to step foot in places in Alaska where none have traveled before, but you have to work for it.
The true last frontier of the Last Frontier is underwater. Want to dive where no man or woman has dove before? Get up close with a huge halibut? That’s not just possible, it’s a regular occurrence on our trips – and Coldwater AK is currently the only outfit offering free diving and spearfishing out of Homer, Alaska.
Here’s everything you’ll need to know (click to jump to the right section):
Who is this for?
This trip is for those who want a custom, once-in-a-lifetime spearfishing trip in Alaska. It’s a “choose your own adventure” private-party style trip. We will help you design the perfect trip based on your style, preferred species, and, within reason, your preferred location in Southcentral Alaska!
That means we aren’t churning and burning dozens of customers a day, getting folks in and out of the water, and turning around back for Homer. We take our spearos to virtually untouched Alaskan waters, do a limited number of these trips per year and, unfortunately, we can’t sell you individual seats.
This trip is NOT for those who want a quick trip to grab a halibut, and we strongly recommend having some speardiving experience or a freediving certification. Spearfishing can be a dangerous activity, and the remoteness and temperatures of Alaska’s coastlines pose extra risks for spearos. If you want to do a half-day trip and get a quick fish – there are dozens of great sport fishing charters that leave out of the Homer harbor each day in the summer!
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Nail Down Your Dates
The best spearfishing, and the bulk of our trips, take place between the middle of May and middle of July. As the summer progresses plankton starts to bloom and visibility tends to deteriorate.
That said, we take spearos out through Labor Day, and the spearing of some species can only take place later in the summer based on Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulations.
Contact us to lockdown your date! The earlier the better – our calendar fills up fast.
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Species & Licensing
We go after four different species, depending on time of year:
- Halibut. We usually go after all season long, depending on state regulations. Halibut can be speared in under 50 feet of water.
- Rockfish. Rockfish can usually be caught all summer long, depending on state regulations. Rockfish can be speared under 50 feet of water.
- Lingcod. Lingcod season has, historically, started later in the summer, but is subject to change depending on state regulations. We tend to spear them deeper, around a depth of 40-70 feet.
- Salmon. Spearing salmon is all about run timing. The different species of pacific salmon run at different times of the summer in southcentral Alaska. While Chinook can be caught all year round in deeper water, the salmon run shallower and closer to the shore starting typically around late May to mid-June.
Sport fishing regulations are subject to change year-to-year. We highly recommend you visit the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website for Southcentral Alaska fishing regulations and do research on your licensing needs and costs before your trip. You will need a sport license, the cost of which is based on your residency in-state vs. out-of-state, and you will need a special tag if you want to spear Chinook (AKA King) Salmon.
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The Proper Gear
You will need to bring your own gear! At this time we do not offer rentals, and the closest dive shop is a four hour drive away in Anchorage, so you need to plan ahead and pack most of your things. That said, we do provide some of the important pieces for a trip.
What you need to bring
- Wetsuit. Water here is 48-50 degrees Fahrenheit. We recommend a 7 mm wetsuit to be comfortable. But if you prefer, a 5mm or 6mm suit is doable it will probably just cut down your time in the water.
- Gloves and booties. Water is cold – see above.
- Weight. As a 200lb man in a 7mm suit I need about 24 lb.
- Mask, snorkel, and fins.
- Speargun. We’re shooting with reels on our guns for the big fish.
- Float line setup. See above. With big fish most of our spearos want the option to surface.
- Clothes for warm and cold/rainy weather. Here in southcentral Alaska you can go from wearing shorts and a tee to borderline dangerous levels of cold in an afternoon. Layers are your friend.
If you want to get gear here in the state, there’s a store called Dive Alaska in Anchorage that is well stocked dive shop with cold water freedive gear (and weights!)… definitely worth a call beforehand (ask for Alex or Ron and mention that Coldwater sent ya).
What we provide
- Good attitude.
What if I want to stay overnight?
Fantastic! We will outfit you for an overnight stay. Keep in mind that we will be taking you to remote areas, and so you will not be staying in a lodge or cabin. If you want to plan a multi-day trip we’ll outfit you in a camp with Arctic Oven Tents, cooking supplies, and food.
You will have to bring a sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and toiletries. Oh, and BYOB… See an example of what an overnight trip might look like here.
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Take Your Catch Home
The work isn’t done when you leave the boat. You still have to process the fish and eat it!
Thankfully, Homer is home to a few very competent fish processors who can clean, fillet, process, store, and ship your fish.
Our favorites are Homer Fish Processing and Coal Point Seafood. Both are located near the harbor on the Homer spit! During the day we’ll store your fish on ice in the hold and you can take it straight in to either in the evening to get it processed fresh on the spot.
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Spearfishing is $1,800/boat for the day, regardless of head count, up to six people. We provide exclusive trips to parties and cannot sell you an individual “seat” on a trip the same way a charter fishing company might be able to. We find that trips are most comfortable and most fun with 4 people.
Day Trip Example
You and three friends show up at our office on the Homer spit between 6 and 6:30 am. Bring a bagged lunch. Safeway opens at 5am (there’s a Starbucks there as well as other places serving coffee early during the summer).
We’ll cruise out of the Homer Harbor by 7 am. Depending on where you want to go it could take 45 to 90 minutes to travel to our first destination. We’ll spear all day and have you home around dinner time (5/6ish) so we can get your catch processed and you can shower and hit Alice’s for a hot dinner and beers.
Total: $1,800. This does not factor in fish processing costs, lunch costs, or a tip for your captain!
We offer fully-outfitted overnight experiences for $1,200 a night. Check out what gear and supplies we provide and you provide for an overnight trip here.
Coldwater Alaska provides water taxi and guided tours throughout the Kachemak Bay. We operate year round, offering access to the bay and the surrounding areas for those who seek to adventure, transport goods, or otherwise get out and see this amazing part of Alaska.