Sport halibut seasons for 2024

March 14, 2024

Action:  Sets opening dates for recreational halibut seasons.  Raises annual halibut limit to six (6). Allows halibut legally retained in Area 5 to be landed in Marine Area 4 on days Area 4 is closed to halibut fishing.

Effective dates:  

  • Marine Areas 5 through 10: Open Thursday, April 4 through June 30, 2024
  • Marine Areas 1 through 4: Open Thursday, May 2, 2024 (see below for additional open dates by area.)

Species affected:  Pacific halibut

Locations and specific open dates:   

  • Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco/Chinook):

The all-depth fishery opens May 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, and 30; June 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, and 30, as long as there is sufficient quota. 

The nearshore area opens to fishing May 6, on a Monday-through-Wednesday schedule, as long as there is sufficient quota. Coordinates for the nearshore fishery are available at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut/columbia-river

The all- depth fishery will be managed to 18,112 pounds; the nearshore quota is 500 pounds.

  • Marine Area 2 (Westport)

The all-depth fishery opens May 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 28, and 30.  If sufficient quota remains the all-depth fishery will open June 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, and 30 depending on available quota. 

This area will be managed to an overall quota of 67,074 pounds. 

  •  Marine Areas 3 and 4 (Neah Bay and La Push)

Open May 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 24, 26, 30, and 31; June 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, and 30, as long as there is sufficient quota. 

The combined quota for both areas is 132,366 pounds.

In Marine Area 4 east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line, sablefish, Pacific cod, and lingcod may be retained in waters seaward of the 120’ bottomfish closure on days open for halibut. 

  • Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) and Marine Areas 6 – 10 (Puget Sound)

Open April 4 through June 30 (seven days per week), as long as there is sufficient quota.  

This area will be managed to a quota of 81,729 pounds.

In Marine Area 5 lingcod may be retained in waters deeper than 120 feet on days open for halibut from May 1 through June 15. 

In Marine Area 5 Pacific cod and sable fish may be retained in waters deeper than 120 feet on days open for halibut. The daily limit is 2 of each species. 

In Marine Area 6, Pacific cod may be retained in waters deeper than 120 feet on days open for halibut. 

  • Marine Areas 11 – 13 (Puget Sound): Closed

Halibut Rules:  Daily limit of 1halibut per angler, with no minimum size limit.  Annual limit of 6  halibut. All catch must be immediately recorded on a WDFW catch record card. Possession limit is two daily limits in any form, except only one daily limit while aboard the fishing vessel. 

Anglers cannot fish for, retain, possess, or land halibut into a port located within an area that is closed to halibut fishing, except anglers can land halibut that were lawfully retained in Marine Area 5 into a port within Marine Area 4 when Marine Area 4 is closed.

Reason for action:  This emergency rule revises state rules, to conform with proposed federal regulations.    

Additional information:   Recreational halibut is quota managed, days open are dependent on available quota and areas will close when the quota is projected to be taken. If quota remains after June 30, additional halibut fishing may be considered for August and September.   

Information contact:  Lorna Wargo, Intergovernmental Policy Coordinator, 360-581-5611

Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW "Fishing in Washington" rules pamphlet for details on definitions and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at 360-902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call toll free 866-880-5431.

Request this information in an alternative format or language at wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation, 833-855-1012, TTY (711), or CivilRightsTeam@dfw.wa.gov.