Updated sport halibut seasons for 2023

July 24, 2023


  • Opens the following all-depth halibut days in Marine areas 1 and 2:  August 26 and 27, and September 8, 9, and 22, 2023.
  • Opens the following days in Marine areas 3 through 10:  August 17 through September 30, 2023. (Open 7 days/wk.)
  • Allows halibut legally retained in Area 5 to be landed in Marine Area 4 on days Area 4 is closed to halibut fishing.
  • Temporarily raises the annual halibut limit to 6 fish, beginning Aug. 17, 2023.

Species affected:  Pacific halibut

Locations and specific open dates:  

Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco/Chinook):

The all-depth fishery opens August 26 and 27, and September 8, 9, and 22, 2023, as long as there is sufficient quota.

Effective immediately through September 27, 2023, the nearshore area is open Mondays through Wednesdays, 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 Aug. 26 and 27, and Sept. 8, 9, and 22, 2023, as long as there is sufficient quota available.

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

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

Open 7 days/wk from Aug. 17 through Sept. 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 7 days/wk from Aug. 17 through Sept. 30, as long as there is sufficient quota.

Marine Areas 11 – 13 (Puget Sound): Closed

Rules:  Daily limit is 1 halibut per angler, with no minimum size limit.  Annual limit is temporarily increased to 6 halibut for 2023. 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:  To date, catch rates indicate there is sufficient quota to allow for these additional openings. Additional openings and increased annual limit will help utilize the Washington quota.

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.

Supplemental Catch Record Cards (CRC) will be available in early August. Anglers who have already purchased a halibut CRC will be able to obtain a free supplemental CRC with two halibut lines.  Anglers who have not yet obtained a halibut CRC will receive the supplemental halibut CRC when they purchase a halibut CRC.  Anglers are reminded that the quickest way to obtain a fishing license and/or CRC is directly from a dealer. Online transactions take between seven (7)  and nine (9) business days to arrive by mail.  

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.