Catch the Jackpot in Homer’s Halibut Derby

Every year, Homer hosts a jackpot halibut derby in which hundreds of fishermen participate. The derby runs throughout the halibut fishing season, through August and into September. Our Alaska car rentals clients often take a chance at winning this jackpot derby, if not just for the fun of the fishing. It’s always a blast to see the other fishers out, and make a weekend trip of it.

This year marks the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby’s 31st year running – here’s hoping to another 31 more! If you’ve never participated, we recommend setting out if not only to see the spectacle of fishermen across the lake, in a crowd of charters. It is a very “Alaskan” experience.

Homer, Alaska is located on Kachemak Bay and is the final destination on Sterling Highway. It is known as “The Halibut Fishing Capital of the World” and brings in hundreds every year just to experience the top quality fishing. But when you’re fishing here, you won’t just get the opportunity at delicious, abundant halibut. You’ll be surrounded by awe-inspiring mountain vistas and elegant ocean views that you can’t get simply by staying in your Alaska car rentals for your entire visit.

Prizes available

The prizes are dependent on how the fish is tagged. Every year, officials in Homer tag more than 100 fish. Each one is tagged with a different prize tag. The largest fish tag is the GCI $50,000 in cash. The second largest prize is $35,000 towards your chosen vehicle from either Stanley Chrysler or Stanley Ford.

The jackpot prize is given to the fisherman who caught the largest fish that season. It is worth a base $10,000 award, as well as $0.50 per ticket sold that year. Don’t expect to be able to fit this halibut whole in your Alaska car rentals!

In fact, if you catch the winning fish, you’ll even be granting a prize to your charter captain. The Captain’s prize offers 10% of the prize to the charter captain who navigated the boat on which the winning halibut was caught. Furthermore, the ticket seller who sold the ticket to the winning fisherman will be awarded $1000. At the Homer Halibut Derby, we believe in sharing the wealth won.

If you catch a left-handed halibut, you’ll win $100. Kids are eligible to win ticket draws at the end of the season. There are prizes ranging from $125, $150, $200, $250, and $300. That’s a lot of cash for a kid 12 and under! Will your child be one of the lucky draw winners this year?

The released fish prize is another end of season draw worth $1000. You will be entered into this draw if you catch and release a halibut that measures 48 inches (4 feet) or longer – that’s a BIG halibut!

And of course, the tagged prizes offer every one a chance to win. There are 30 fish swimming these waters that are worth $50. Another 100 (plus some!) range in prizes from $250, $500, and $1000. If you catch a fish that was tagged the previous year, you will win $100 – so it’s definitely not a waste! You could walk out of this derby with your Alaska car rentals fees worth of prizes, plus plenty left over for a few luxury activities this trip.

Don’t forget to buy your ticket!

If you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win! And the number of people who have caught prize-winning fishes but didn’t have a ticket to be able to claim the prize is just astonishing. You don’t want to catch a $1000 fish only to find out you can’t claim it. Tickets are only $10 to purchase.

Reserve your Alaska car rentals today and set out for your chance to win in the Homer Halibut Derby!

August Berry Picking in Alaska

Alaska is known for its wide variety of plant species dotted across the state. What you may not be aware of though, is that Alaska is rich in naturally and wildly growing food. Many natives of Alaska love to go berry picking in the summer to supplement their fresh Alaskan diet that is hunted and fished. Bring a few baskets in your Alaska car rentals to pick fresh wild berries right from the landscape.


While the name doesn’t sound particularly appealing, salmonberries are an iconic Alaskan fruit as its name mixes two of the things that Alaskans love so much: salmon and wild berries! Berries are everywhere in Alaska, and as an added bonus, Alaskan wild berries are absolutely loaded with antioxidants. For some reason, there are far more antioxidants found in Alaskan wild berries than any berry you’ll be able to find in any store.

This is the perfect time to go salmonberry and crowberry hunting. Salmonberries get their name from their reddish pink hue and close resemblance to salmon roe. In fact, if you mix these two delicious treats together, you’ll get cured tasty snack. The berries are a little tough and not very juicy, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally smashing them in your Alaska car rentals. They are slightly sour, but are finished with sweetness to balance out the tartness of the first bite.

Common uses for salmonberries include pies or tarts, syrups, jams, and other preserves. However, they are absolutely delicious on their own, fresh and raw. Of course, you can also experiment by adding a sweet, tart flavor to savory entrées.


Lingonberries are known for their Swedish origins, but they are also found in Alaska. They look similar to cranberries, but taste a little less tart and sour than the latter. These berries are simply delicious in jams, pies, and other preserves. They also taste delightful when made into syrup and poured over pancakes or crepes.

You’ll have to do a little hiking to find these berries. They are often found on mountain slopes, in the woods, and across the tundra. They ripen throughout August.

Other August berries

Many berries ripen throughout the month of August. Right now you’ll likely only be able to find salmonberries and crowberries. Crowberries are little bit boring when eaten raw alone, but they’re perfect for adding to a sweet pie or tart. They are purplish-blue like blueberries, without the full flavor that is offered by blueberries.

Other berries that you’ll be able to find later in the month of August are blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries.

Bring bear protection

Remember that you’re not the only one foraging for berries in the forest. Bears love to pick berries as a delightful dessert to compliment their fishing adventures. It is crucial that you bring something to protect yourself from the bears. Mace and bear-bells are good starts to ensuring you don’t get caught in a sticky situation. Make lots of noise as you wander around foraging, to scare bears off.

Stay on trails and highly populated areas. This isn’t always protection, though, as bears often come close to these areas as well – something you may have already noticed this in your Alaska car rentals. Pay attention to noises around you, and leave the headphones in your Alaska car rentals.

Bring a stool

Regardless of how tall you are, sometimes berries are just a little bit out of reach. Bring along a stool to help you reach those high up little gems.

A few good spots

Every Alaskan has their own preferred berry-picking spot which, as a visitor, you won’t have the advantage of knowing. However, there are a few spots around Alaska where we can guarantee you’ll find an abundance of berries. They are listed below:

  • Turnagain Pass
  • Crow Pass Trail
  • Rendezvous Peak
  • Rabbit Creek
  • Indian Valley Trail
  • Kincaid Park
  • Eagle River Valley
  • Lazy Mountain
  • Hatcher Pass
  • Old Johnson Trail
  • Crow Pass Road
  • Prospect Heights, Chugach State Park

Pack up your Alaska car rentals and get picking! Reserve your vehicle today.

Explore the Kenai Fjords This Summer

The summer season has brought beautifully bright scenes to Alaska. If you haven’t got out to explore these gorgeous vistas, then you’re certainly missing out. Alaska is one of those rare places that is absolutely, incredibly gorgeous regardless of the season and we find solace in the natural landscape. One landscape that we positively must recommend is the Kenai Fjords National Park. Make sure to pack a lunch and some hiking gear in your Alaska SUV rentals when you head up to the Kenai Fjords.

The glaciers of the fjords

First off, you absolutely must see Exit Glacier. This glacier is one of Alaska’s most beautiful, and offers a stunning glimpse of the variety of Alaskan wildlife and nature. Unfortunately, Exit Glacier is receding. Because of this, we advise our Alaska SUV rentals clients to see the glacier while it remains.

One to two hour long ranger-led hikes around the glacier are offered daily. These walks will offer you insight on the surrounding landscape and wildlife of the area, while also showing you the best and safest hiking trails in the glacier. From the Exit Glacier Nature Center, you also have the option of taking a Harding Icefield Trail tour to see the place from which the glacier derived.

If you’re bringing your Alaska SUV rentals from Seward, you’re most likely to see the Aialik Glacier – the largest glacier in Aialik Bay. In fact, this glacier is so close to Seward (only 15 miles) that you can kayak from the city to the glacier. This is a lovely outdoor trip for anyone who loves water sports. If not, you can also take a cruise from Seward to the glacier.

The fjord boat tour

There are several boat tours available to let you see the fjords by water. These offer stunning views of the surrounding glaciers and of the fjords. If you’ve never seen fjords before, the Kenai fjords are beautiful starters. These spectacular mountain topped lakes and rivers will take you into another world. A world that is peaceful, filled with wildlife, and clean from the pollution of the urban settings.

Also available are combination hiking and boating tours. This is the option we’d recommend. Get out and stretch your legs after driving in your Alaska SUV rentals, while enjoying the Kenai Fjords the way they were meant to be enjoyed. The hike around the Kenai Fjords National Park isn’t too challenging, so you certainly don’t need to be an expert to enjoy the Kenai Fjords National Park by foot. You’ll still want to make sure you have comfortable shoes, though!

Marine and land wildlife

The Kenai Fjords are bursting with all kinds of wildlife, both land-based and marine. The wildlife in the fjords is one of the many things that brings so many people to the Kenai Fjords. Many tourists are stunned to discover orcas, and humpback, fin, and minke whales in the fjords, swimming gracefully past the boats. You’re also likely to spot cute little otters playing through the shores, sea lions, seals, beavers, porpoises, and even a dolphin or two (always a favorite of the kids’!). It’s lovely to see the marine life living in harmony with one another and with nature in such an awe-inspiring setting.

Turn your eyes to the sky to spot eagles and falcons, puffins and murre, black-billed magpies and Steller’s jay. By land, watch out for Canadian lynx and wolves, coyotes and brown and black bears. You may even spot a few porcupines waddling past, or mountain goats trotting through the brush. Have your camera ready in case you spot a moose!

There’s no question that the Kenai Fjord’s National park is a top spot to visit in your Alaska SUV rentals. Reserve your Alaska SUV rentals today to begin your wildlife adventure.