OLYMPIA — The recreational halibut fishery will reopen July 26 in nearshore areas off the north coast of Washington and along the western Strait of Juan de Fuca, followed Aug. 1 by a two-day halibut opening off Ilwaco.
On the north coast, the nearshore area will be open shoreward of 30 fathoms in marine areas 3 and 4 (La Push and Neah Bay), and at all depths in area 4B (Cape Flattery to the Sekiu River) from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, July 26.
If sufficient quota remains off the north coast after July 26, the nearshore fishery will re-open on Friday, Aug. 1, said Heather Reed, coastal policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
“There’s a small chance we could offer another nearshore fishing day after the 26th,” Reed said. “Unfortunately, we can’t say for sure until we’ve tallied that day’s catch data. Once we know, we’ll announce it as soon as possible.” Reed added that the offshore areas off the north coast (deeper than 30 fathoms) are now closed for the remainder of the year.
In the Columbia River area, Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) will reopen for halibut fishing from 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 1 to 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2. The rules for Marine Area 1 prohibit fishing for, retention or possession of bottomfish, except sablefish and Pacific cod when halibut is on board.
Recreational halibut fisheries remaining open are the nearshore fishery in Marine Area 2 (Westport), which is open Fridays and Saturdays, and Marine Area 5 (Sekiu), which is open five days a week, Thursdays through Mondays, through July 21.