Sport halibut season dates approved for June; additional dates proposed

June sport halibut season dates have been announced, and additional dates are being proposed for August and September.

Locally, open recreational fishing will open in Marine Area 2 (Westport) on June 17, 20, and 24, with dates for the Ilwaco fishery this month as well. 

Both Westport and Ilwaco will close all depth and nearshore areas after June 24/

Effective date: 

  • Marine Area 1: Open June 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, close all depth and nearshore areas after June 24.
  • Marine Area 2: Open June 17, 20, and 24, close all depth and nearshore areas after June 24.
  • Marine Areas 3 – 4: Open June 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26.
  • Marine Areas 5 – 10: Open June 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26.

Species affected: Pacific halibut

Location: Marine Areas 1 – 10

Reason for action: Prior to the start of the recreational halibut season, additional days were identified that could be opened if recreational catch in Marine Area 2 (Westport) was tracking slower than expected. Those days are June 17, 20, 24, and 27. Quota remaining in Marine Area 2 is sufficient to cover much of the expected catch through June 24. Similarly, in Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco/Chinook), there is quota remaining to support keeping the all depth and nearshore areas open through June 24. 

Washington sport allocation will be used to ensure that the fishery can remain open in these areas through June 24 without exceeding the overall statewide sport allocation. This approach provides some certainty relative to expected fishing days and allows recreational anglers to make plans to participate in the remaining June fishing dates. 

Additional Information: WDFW is working with National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to re-open Marine Areas 3 – 10 to sport halibut fishing in August and September. Anglers can plan for late summer halibut fishing under these additional dates, pending federal approval.

Even though increased fishing opportunity was provided early in the season by adding more consecutive fishing days in the Puget Sound region and opening the eastern Puget Sound region (Marine Areas 6 – 10) in mid-April, recreational catch in these areas and in Neah Bay and La Push (Marine Areas 3 and 4) is lower than expected at this point in the season. To maximize fishing opportunity and provide recreational anglers with the opportunity to access the remaining Washington sport allocation,

openings in Marine Areas 3 and 4 (La Push/Neah Bay) and Marine Areas 5 – 10 (Puget Sound) are proposed to begin on Thursday, August 19, three days per week, Thursday through Saturday, through September 24 or, until the quota is projected to be taken, whichever occurs first. 

Sport halibut season dates in August and September will remain open as long as there is enough quota to open for another day but may close prior to September 24 if the Washington sport allocation is projected to be taken. Alternately, additional days per week could be added, as well as openings in other areas, to access the Washington sport allocation through the close of the Washington sport season at the end of September.

Anglers are reminded that the Makah and Quileute Reservations, including marinas and all services, remain closed to visitors to support public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Neah Bay on the Makah Reservation and La Push on the Quileute Reservation represent the primary direct boat access in Marine Areas 3 and 4, and as a result, those fishing in these areas must launch from and land in other areas. Anglers fishing in Marine Areas 3 and 4 are required to follow all rules and regulations for that area, regardless of where they return with their catch.

Yelloweye retention is prohibited in all Washington Marine Areas.

It is unlawful to land halibut in an area that is closed to halibut fishing.

Information contact: Heather Hall, Intergovernmental Policy Manager, 360-490-9628