Halibut and Razor Clams in Ninilchik – yum, yum!

Ninilchik,  meaning  “peaceful settlement  by the river ” was our next stop on the Kenai Peninsula.  This town has a rich Russian influence dating back to the early 19th century.  A Russian Orthodox Church was built in 1901, and the historic cemetery on the hill continues to overlook the rustic village of Ninilchik.  This is also a town from which world-class Halibut and Salmon fishing charters are launched to the Cook Inlet.

Old Ninilchik Village
Russian Church and Cemetery
Russian Church and cemetery

We had a lot of excitement and action during our four-day stay here, and we just loved this little town.

First off, I caught a fish – not just any fish – a HALIBUT!  Yes I did!  I hopped aboard one of the charters and went with a group of six for some serious ocean fishing.  My first scheduled outing was canceled due to 50-knot winds and 4-foot waves, but I managed to get on a trip leaving the next morning.  Unfortunately, I had to shell out an extra $20 to get another 24-hour fishing license.  Steve decided to stay home and defrost the freezer to prepare for arrival of the bounty.

Ninilchik, AK
Some of my fishing buddies, Sarah and Nazly

Launching of the fishing boats is a choreographed dance of tractors and boats – in goes one boat and out comes another in a matter of seconds.

Ninilchik, Alaska
Tractor launching boats

It was raining hard as we sped off several miles into the open ocean.  The excitement built as our bait was grabbed by the Halibut.  The hard work began once the fish was hooked and I had to reel it up some 250 feet from the ocean floor.  Halibut are bottom feeders, so a 5 lb. sinker is attached to the end of the line.  I had to reel that in, plus the weight of the bait, plus a 30 lb. fish.  To say it was extremely tiring is an understatement.

I had to take rests during my reeling, as my arms tired and took much of my energy and effort – and the rain was relentless.  The good thing was that Sarah and Nazly cheered me on and helped reel when I needed a break.  I was warned that it would be hard work, but I didn’t know how hard until I caught my first Halibut.  And the worst part is that I had to let go of the first three I caught, as they were too small according to the skipper.

I also caught a black cod which had to be released as well.  I think I reeled in six but got to keep only two, per regulations.  I was totally exhausted – what day!

Halibut Fishing, Ninilchik Alaska
The hard-working fisherman and women, Nazly, Mark and Sarah

We were soaking wet and cold after our six hours on the ocean, but we were very happy with the catch – check it out!

Ninilchik Charters, Alaska
Our catch of the day

And after filleting it for us, this is what I got to take home, almost 20 lbs. of Halibut fillets. Woo hoo!  But I won’t ever go fishing for them again.

Halibut Fillets
We’ll be eating this tasty Halibut for the rest of our trip!

One of the most popular activities in Ninilchik is digging for Razor clams.  It turned out that the following day was a monthly “minus tide”, and the beach in Ninilchik was exposed for hundreds of feet down to the waterline.  Perfect for digging for Razor clams.  Steve went out with fellow RV’er Jacob to learn how it’s done.  They caught a lot of clams, and only came home when the tide chased them back.

Razor Clamming
It’s worth getting muddy for these excellent Razor clams
Alaskan Razor Clams
Alaskan Razor Clams
Razor Clamming in Ninilchik, Alaska
Steve is excited that he found several clams during their trek
Razor Clamming
The clammers bringing back the catch of the day.

We all agreed to trading Razor clams for Halibut.  Hey, what a deal – we didn’t have to dig up or clean the clams, and although it was my hard-earned Halibut that we had to give away, we were looking forward to trying the clams.

Razor Clams
Here are the 26 clams Jacob and Steve harvested and bartered with our halibut, about 3.5 pounds. It was painful to give up the halibut, but the clams are awesome raw with wasabe and soy sauce, fried, or in clam chowder.
Clam Stew
Clam stew is what’s for dinner

I want to give a shout out to Roadlife for her Clam Stew recipe.  What a wonderful dinner we had that night!




  1. As I was reading, I thought it was Steve that went fishing. And when I saw it was “you”, all I can say is “You go girl”! You make me proud. And what a deal with the clams. Glad you were able to get a great, fresh taste of Alaska. Glad to hear you’re enjoying your trip. Keep safe. Hugs…

  2. Can’t believe I left the MILK off the recipe!!! LOL – glad you figured it out. You make one fine fisher-lady!!! Congrats on the halibut catch – we had some of our catch the other night for dinner – yum!!

    • Ann, it was still delicious without the milk! that is why i called it Clam stew. Besides my tummy won’t agree with milk. However my next batch will have milk in it 🙂 and i can call it Clam chowder ala Roadlife.

  3. Hi Mona Liza! We had a lot of fun with you on the halibut charter. We had some beer battered halibut that night. YUM-O! You guys have really experienced a lot of Alaska and what some local Alaskans haven’t done yet. Keep on keeping on!

    • Hey Nazly, I had a great time with you and being with the young crowd. We had grilled Halibut that night and went right to bed after dinner. Thanks, You live in a beautiful state !

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