OLYMPIA - Anglers will be able to fish for halibut off Westport for two more days - Sunday (June 15) and Tuesday (June 17) - before the offshore portion of Marine Area 2 closes to halibut fishing for the season.
However, the nearshore waters of that marine area between Grays Harbor and the Queets River will remain open to halibut fishing on Fridays and Saturdays until further notice.
Since the fishery opened May 1, anglers have made steady progress toward harvesting this year's quota of 40,230 pounds for the offshore area, said Heather Reed, coastal policy coordinator. But enough of the 4,470-pound quota remains in the nearshore area to allow anglers two days of fishing a week until the quota is met, Reed said.
Although fishing was hampered by stormy weather this year, most anglers who were able to get on the water caught their daily limit of one halibut, Reed said.
"This spring's been rough so far, but hopefully it will take a turn for the better for those fishing the nearshore area," Reed said. "In the past week or two, we've been seeing some bigger fish."
Halibut caught during the past week weighed about 21 pounds, compared to 18 pounds in May, she said.
Sport halibut fishing will be open June 14 and 21 in marine areas 3 and 4 (La Push and Neah Bay) at all depths. The nearshore fishery in those areas will be open June 17 and 19, but halibut fishing will be restricted to waters no more than 30 fathoms deep. Coordinates and other regulations are included in the 2008-09 Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet.
All other marine areas are now closed to halibut fishing except Marine Area 5 (Sekiu), which is open five days a week (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays) through July 21.
Although halibut fishing is closed in Marine Area 2, fishing for other bottomfish will remain open. Fishing for, and possession of, rockfish and lingcod is prohibited seaward of 30 fathoms through June 15.
Anglers are advised to check the 2008-09 Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet for regulations specific to each area (/fishing/regulations). Details on halibut rules are online (halibut/http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/creel/halibut/).