Updated sport halibut seasons for 2023

June 1, 2023

Action:  Adds dates for recreational halibut seasons in Marine areas 1, 3, and 4.  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: 

  • Adds the following days to Marine Area 1:  June 13 and 20, 2023.
  • Adds the following days to Marine areas 3 and 4:  June 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, and 30, 2023.

Species affected:  Pacific halibut

Locations and specific open dates:  

  • Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco/Chinook):

The all-depth fishery opens June 1, 4, 8, 11, 13, 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, and 29, as long as there is sufficient quota.

The nearshore area opens to fishing May 8, 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 18,375 pounds; the nearshore quota is 500 pounds.

  • Marine Area 2 (Westport):

The all depth fishery opens June 15 and 18, as long as there is sufficient quota available. If sufficient quota remains, the all-depth fishery also opens June 22, and 25.

If there is remaining quota, the northern nearshore area will open the Saturday after the all-depth fishery closes and will continue seven days per week until the overall quota is taken. Coordinates for the nearshore fishery are available at  wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut/south-coast.

This area will be managed to an overall quota of 64,376 pounds.

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

Open June 1, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25, 29, and 30 as long as there is sufficient quota.

The combined quota for both areas is 129,668 pounds.

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

Open June 1-30 as long as there is sufficient quota.  

This area will be managed to a quota of 79,031 pounds.

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

Rules:  Daily limit of 1 halibut per angler, with no minimum size limit.  Annual limit of 4 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, 833-885-1012, TTY (711), or CivilRightsTeam@dfw.wa.gov.