WDFW announces additional halibut fishing day to round out 2021 season, seeks public input on 2022 halibut season

Halibut anglers now have an extra day to reel in halibut this season as well as two upcoming opportunities to help shape the 2022 season, fishery managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced.

Marine Area 2, covering Westport-Ocean Shores, will open to all-depth halibut fishing on Friday, Aug. 27. 

Marine Area 1 on the Columbia River will also open on the 27th.

An additional all-depth day could be added in September if there is enough quota. 

The additional August day falls between two virtual public meetings, slated for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Aug. 23 and Oct. 18, to discuss season structure and proposed dates for the 2022 sport halibut season.

“Based on what we’re seeing, there’s still enough sport allocation to support this additional opportunity for anglers in these two marine areas, said Heather Hall, WDFW intergovernmental fisheries policy manager. “As we wrap up this year’s season, these meetings are a good opportunity to hear from the public on how this year’s fishery went and how we might adjust in the upcoming year.

Just last week, fishery managers announced an extended halibut season for the north coast (Marine Areas 3 and 4) and in Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5 – 10), all of which will be reopening on Thursday, Aug. 19.

These meetings will help WDFW fishery managers gather stakeholder input prior to Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meetings in September and November when the Council will consider changes to season structure.

At the Aug. 23 meeting, state halibut managers will review preliminary 2021 season data and work with stakeholders to develop a range of preliminary options focused on general concepts such as ways to extend the season length and maximize fishing opportunity. 

At the Oct. 18 meeting, in addition to refining the options developed at the first meeting, WDFW staff will collect further public input, review tide calendars for next spring, and select specific season dates that attempt to balance needs across various fishing communities and charter and private fishing interests.

For more information about how to participate in the Aug. 23 and Oct. 18 Zoom webinars, visit wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut. The meetings will be recorded and posted online so people can also watch the meetings afterwards at their convenience.

For more information on the halibut season-setting process visit PFMC’s website at pcouncil.org/pacific-halibut/background-information/.

Because halibut fisheries are managed to a quota, closures can happen quickly. Anglers should check the WDFW website or Fish Washington App to ensure a specific area is open prior to fishing. Complete information on recreational halibut regulations and seasons is available online at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut. Anglers must record their catch on a WDFW halibut catch record card.