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April 16, 1999
Contact: Greg Bargmann, (360) 902-2825

Halibut expected to offer fine recreational fishing

OLYMPIA—Halibut are expected to offer excellent sport fishing opportunities off the Washington coast and in parts of Puget Sound this year when the season opens in some areas May 1.

Biologists from the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have determined there are large numbers of halibut along the west coast due to conservative management of the fish in recent years and increased numbers of young fish.

"These large fish offer a wonderful opportunity to Washington anglers. And the season shows the benefits that can come from careful stewardship of the state's natural resources," said Jeff Koenings, WDFW director.

The seasons are as follows:

  • Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco): Open May 1 through Sept. 30 or until the halibut quota of 7,747 pounds of fish is taken. The fishery is open seven days per week. The daily limit is the first halibut 32 inches or longer.

  • Marine Area 3 (LaPush) and Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay) west of Cape Flattery): Open May 1 until 76,484 pounds of halibut have been caught. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays. Daily bag limit is one halibut of any size. If the quota is caught prior to July 1, the season will reopen July 1 and continue five days per week (closed Sundays and Mondays) until the overall quota of 91,484 pounds of halibut is taken. See the 1999-2000 Fishing in Washington regulation pamphlet for area closures.

  • Marine Area 2 (Westport): Open May 2 until a quota of 32,081 pounds of halibut is caught or Sept. 30, whichever occurs first. The daily limit is one halibut with no size restriction. Shallow waters are open seven days a week, and deeper waters, where most halibut are caught, are open five days (Fridays and Saturdays closed). A small area approximately 16 miles west of Cape Elizabeth is closed to halibut fishing at all times. See the regulation pamphlet for specific longitude and latitude information about the restrictions.

  • Marine Areas 5-13 (Puget Sound plus that portion of Area 4 east of Cape Flattery): Open May 27 through July 12 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays). Daily limit is one halibut of any size. A free halibut catch record card is required. The quota is 52,623 pounds.