OLYMPIA – The recreational halibut fishery off the north coast of Washington will reopen Thursday, May 31 for one day to allow anglers to harvest the remainder of the May catch quota for that area.
The fishery in marine areas 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay) will reopen at 12:01 a.m. and close at 11:59 p.m. that day, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Rough weather kept many anglers off the water Saturday, May 19, leaving 24,888 pounds of halibut still available for harvest when the fishery closed at the end of the day, said Phil Anderson, special assistant to the WDFW director. The May quota this year is 83,663 pounds.
Anderson noted that anglers fishing the first two days of the season, May 15 and May 17, reeled in 2,100 halibut at a record rate. Those fish weighed an average of 21.9 pounds apiece.
After this month’s fishery closes, marine areas 3 and 4 are scheduled to reopen for halibut fishing June 19 and 21 under a separate quota. Anglers fishing those days in those two areas will be restricted to waters no more than 30 fathoms deep, as specified in WDFW’s 2007-08 Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet.
Meanwhile, halibut fishing remains open seven days a week in Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco), and five days a week (Thursday through Monday) in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and all other areas of Puget Sound except Hood Canal.