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May 17, 2005
Contact: Michele Culver, (360) 249-1211

Halibut fishing to close May 18 off La Push, Neah Bay

OLYMPIA - The recreational halibut fishery off the north coast of Washington will close May 18 at 11:59 p.m., when the May catch quota is expected to be taken, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

In just five days of fishing, anglers have hauled in 3,637 halibut averaging 20.5 pounds apiece in marine areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay), said Phil Anderson, special assistant to the WDFW director.

"Fishing was excellent, and the number of anglers on the water was phenomenal," Anderson said. "With those factors in play, the quota goes pretty quickly."

According to preliminary estimates, the number of anglers fishing off La Push was up 50 percent from last year, Anderson said. The number of anglers fishing off Neah Bay was up by about 20 percent, he said.

Once catch figures have been confirmed, WDFW plans to reopen those areas for up to two days during the week of June 13, Anderson said. Specific dates and times for the fishery will be announced prior to that opening, when anglers will have a chance to harvest the remainder of the annual 115,437-pound quota for the north coast.

Anderson noted that halibut fishing remains good farther south on the coast and in Puget Sound.

"Fishing is good off Westport and Ilwaco," Anderson said. "Most anglers are getting their limit of one fish per day."