The true last frontier of the Last Frontier is underwater
Alaska Spearfishing • Spearfishing Halibut • Freediving • Underwater Photography
“Spearfishing in Alaska was always on my bucket list. Now that I’ve experienced it firsthand, that list has evolved. My entire bucket list now waits for me in the waters around Homer Alaska”
Although Alaska is portrayed in magazines, movies and TV shows worldwide, nothing compares to experiencing this magnificent place firsthand. It’s easy to find locations of unique solitude where no human footprint exists, a large reason why travelers choose Alaska as their destination. If the hiking trails, boat trips and national parks of the Last Frontier foster feelings of freedom from the chaos of the world, imagine what it’s like underwater!
Coldwater Alaska, the original Alaskan spearfishing outfit, began as a way for us to explore our own backyard, both above and below the surface. We spend all year spearfishing, surfing and adventuring. We love taking our patrons to the spots we’ve found and to others we’ve only looked at on maps, hoping one day to visit. On many of our spearfishing trips our clients get to dive spots for the first time in human history, seeing fish that have never witnessed a person underwater before. Black Rockfish, Lingcod, Salmon and the formidable Pacific Halibut are our targeted species, but the adventure is our goal.
We cater to folks who want a once in a lifetime adventure that will deeply root itself into their hearts. We want our customers to see, feel, and breathe in the place that blows our minds every time we wake up and look outside. The Coldwater Experience is so much more than a trip. It overloads the senses, permeates the soul and leaves an unforgettable impression on the mind. Sure, we want you to shoot fish but we can’t wait until you smell the wild pine air, see the light underwater shining through golden kelp, taste your catch cooked over an open flame and use your last remaining energy of the day sharing stories with friends around a bonfire.
Spearfishing in Alaska is challenging, there’s no denying this. However, if you’ve been spearfishing for a while you already know that every place visited, every fish targeted, provides it’s own unique challenges. Alaska adds some additional obstacles to the hunt; the obvious one being the cold water. We typically experience water temperatures between 44-52 degrees, so bring the right wetsuit and let the heaters and showers on our boats take care of the rest.
In order to provide the highest-quality Alaskan spearfishing experience, our trips are all catered to private party charters. Each trip is uniquely customized according to the needs and time constraints of each group. As such, we book the whole boat out for our private groups. Single seats are not available, so gather your wildest friends together and jump aboard on your own custom trip!
Spearfishing can be a dangerous sport when practiced unsafely, so we recommend our patrons have previous spearfishing experience and freedive safety training.
We try to book the majority of our trips between June and August. However, we host spearfishing trips through Labor Day, especially since certain fish species are only open to be hunted later in the season. (See Alaska Department of Fish and Game Regulations).
Since you’re probably wondering, the answer is: Yes, we shoot big halibut from early May through September. They call Homer “The Halibut Fishing Capital of the World” for a reason!
We only host a limited number of trips per year, so book sooner than later to reserve your trip!
We target four primary fish during our Alaskan summers. Each of the fish below are some of the highest quality table-fare you can find anywhere in the world.
These perfectly camouflaged powerhouses are hunted all season. They provide a strong fight and a large amount of large-flake white meat to bring home with a single trigger pull. Although they are fished much deeper, we find them spearfishing in depths between 30-70’.
Do you like fish tacos? Then bring home some of these! They have delicious, delicate, flakey white meat and range from 4-8 pounds. They are a great fish to target spearfishing, as they tend to stay near large rock structures in water between 20-50’.
Like mysterious sea dragons, Lingcod can be incredibly curious or endlessly elusive. 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.
If you haven’t had fresh Alaskan salmon, then just wait. We warn you though; once you do you’ll never order salmon at a restaurant back home again. While Chinook (King) Salmon can be found year-round in deeper water, other species of Salmon (Red, Pink, Silver) are near shore based on when their “runs” occur. These salmon runs begin typically in late-May or mid-June and are a sight to behold. If you’re here when they are, you can find them so thick they’ll run right into your spear, filet themselves and before you know it, you’re full on Salmon sashimi. (Kidding, but you get the idea).
You will need an Alaska sport-fishing license. Additionally, you will need a special tag if you want to spear Chinook (AKA King) Salmon.
Keep in mind: Sport-fishing regulations are subject to change from year-to-year. We highly recommend you visit the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website for South-central Alaska fishing regulations and do research on your licensing needs and costs before your trip.
You will need to provide your own gear for your time spearfishing with us. Below is some general guidance on what gear we use and recommend for diving out here in Alaska. For your trip, we can provide you with diving weight. This way, you save baggage weight so bringing fish home is easier!
Alaska Freediver is a local dive shop that we highly recommend for any other diving gear you may need. Not only do they provide great equipment and service, but stock rental gear as well. When you contact Alaska Freediver, make sure to mention that you’re diving with Coldwater Alaska to get the best deal.
What you need to bring
Our summer water temperatures are usually 46-52 degrees depending on where we dive. A 7mm open-cell freediving wetsuit is the most important part of your gear. A good, properly fitting freediving wetsuit will give you better range of motion in your body and breathing muscles which in turn burns less oxygen and helps with breath-hold times.
Gloves and Socks
Warm hands and feet help your whole body stay warm. 5mm-7mm gloves and fin socks will, along with your wetsuit, be a purchase you’ll be happy you made. Plus, since you’re going to fall in love with this place you’ll be using the same wetsuit setup for years to come when you visit us.
Homer is remote, but it’s not THAT remote. There is a Safeway in town where you can buy your conditioner of choice to keep your wetsuit slippery inside. The more you use, the more mobility your body and breathing muscles will have and, you guessed it, the longer your breath-hold will be. Just please be conscientious of the scent of conditioner you choose. Not everyone likes Lavender-Rose-Cucumber Summer Squeeze wafting around the boat.
In water deeper than 30’, you want to be neutrally buoyant at approximately 30’. For shallower water than 30’, you try to set your neutral buoyancy to 6-7’ over the bottom. This way you float well at the surface for safety, but can lay on the bottom to successfully hunt.
If you’re not sure of how much weight you should have, get in the water with your suit and weightbelt on, take a full breath in and float as still as possible upright. Your collarbones should be just underwater touching the surface. Generally speaking for most individuals, this is a 30’ neutral buoyancy setup for you.
As a general rule:
From your existing wetsuit thickness-to-weight ratio, add four pounds of lead weight for every additional millimeter of neoprene you will be using out here. This is for water approximately 30’ or deeper.
For example, if you currently use a 3.5mm suit with 8 pounds of weight, a 7mm wetsuit will take 22lbs of lead. (3.5mm added thickness: 3.5x4=14lbs. 14+8=22lbs). Plan on carrying a few extra pounds of weight for shallow diving.
*Just a reminder* We can provide diving weights if needed!
Mask, snorkel, and fins
It’s always smart to bring a spare mask, snorkel and snorkel keeper. Your buddy will probably forget his/hers. With the cold water, masks can fog up quickly if not properly “seasoned” prior to diving. Machining oils from the lens manufacturing process cause new masks to fog up. Usually, scrubbing the inside of your glass lenses with toothpaste for ten minutes or so will do the trick to remove any fog-causing oils.
We tend to use reel guns mostly out here in the 90-110cm range. Thicker shafts tend to carry more kinetic energy for larger fish. Bring extra shafts with you. A good rule of thumb: One halibut=One bent shaft.
Float line setup
For a float line setup, you’ll want something that is at least 30-50% longer than the depth you’ll be diving. For low-current kelp diving, it helps to have a small float at the end that can slip through and under the kelp. “Kelp Carrot” is a common term for that kind of float. 75-100’ float lines are more than enough for most of the diving you’ll be doing out here.
We also encourage everyone to have a float for safety. Some of our diving locations have strong current and a float is a sure way for us to keep track of everyone.
Clothes for warm & cold/rainy weather
We pride ourselves in having the best hardware/outdoor shops in the country, so there will be sources for warm clothing, muck boots, etc. five minutes from the harbor.
What we provide
• HEAT! We have a hot shower on the boat and have heaters running constantly in the cabin of the boat for a respite from tingly toes.
What if I want to stay overnight?
Fantastic! We love taking our customers to far off places where they’ll never see another boat or human being. (Plenty of whales, bears, sea lions and eagles though). You show up at the dock ready to go with your gear, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, toiletries and any beverages you prefer. We will already have the boat loaded with food, cooking supplies and lodging (Arctic Oven Tents or Yurts). There are few experiences more wonderfully memorable than completing a full day of spearfishing with friends gathered around a bonfire eating fresh-speared fish and sharing stories with your buddies with sasquatches watching you from the tree line.
Once your fish is speared and the fight is won, we will store the fish on ice until we return to shore. Your hardest decision at that point will be whether to eat it all while you’re in town or freeze it for home to share with family and friends.
Homer is no stranger to folks wanting to bring fish back home when they leave our giant slice of heaven. As such, we have some excellent fish-processing establishments walking distance from the dock that will take your whole fish, returning it to you the next day cleaned, filleted, vacuum bagged and frozen. For a small fee they will even ship your fish directly to your house!
If you want to fly your fish back with you, the local hardware stores have cardboard boxes with built-in coolers that when filled with frozen fish are the exact weight limit of checked-in baggage on your return flight.
Check out our favorite fish-processing spots!
Homer Fish Processing
Coal Point Seafood
We plan spearfishing trips around the needs of the groups who book with us. When you book your dates, the boat is exclusively yours. With room for up to six people, you choose who comes! The boat day rate is $1800 per day.
The basic schedule for a day trip:
We meet at the Coldwater Alaska office near the harbor early in the morning. You come with your gear and lunch. There are plenty of coffee shops around town, including a Starbucks in Safeway, which is open at 5:00am. After a quick morning check-in at the office, we make way to the boat waiting at the bottom of the dock ramp thirty seconds away.
Run time to local spearfishing grounds is anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes depending on targeted species. You and your group spearfish all day, taking food or warm-up breaks at your leisure.
After a full day of spearfishing, we get back in to the Homer harbor by 6:00pm so you have plenty of time to clean up, get your fish to the processors and gather at Alice’s restaurant for hot food and beer.
TOTAL: $1,800 for the boat (Does not factor in fish processing costs, lunch costs or tip for your captain)Contact Us to Book!
If you’re wanting to explore even further out with us than on our day trips, then plan on spending some nights away from the Homer Harbor. We provide fully-outfitted remote trips (food, cookware and Arctic Oven Tent or Yurt lodging provided) to some of the most beautiful places on earth. Overnight trips allow our customers to spearfish hard, eat well, share stories, sleep soundly then wake up and do it all over again the next day.
Pricing begins at $1200/night in addition to the $1800 daily boat fee.Contact Us to Book!
Coldwater Alaska provides water taxi and guided tours throughout the Kachemak Bay. We offer 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.
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