Recreational bottomfish and halibut

Reminder that Barbless Hooks are required for all species in Marine Areas 5 through 13—including for halibut and bottomfish—except when using forage fish jig gear to target forage fish (herring, sandlance, anchovy, sardine and smelt). See Marine Area Rules & Definitions in the Washington Sport Fishing Rules.

Recreational fishing seasons and regulations in Washington's waters for bottomfish and halibut, including weekly updates.

2023 bottomfish and lingcod seasons, bag limit highlights*

Marine Areas 1-3 and Marine Area 4 west of Bonilla-Tatoosh:

  • March 11 – October 21, 2023
  • Daily bag limit of two lingcod per angler no minimum size limit
  • Rockfish: New for 2023, in May, June, and July the possession limit for copper rockfish, quillback rockfish, and vermilion rockfish is 0.

Marine Area 4 (east of Bonilla-Tatoosh): 

  • Recreational bottomfish: open year round
  • Recreational lingcod: March 11 – October 21, 2023
  • Daily bag limit of two lingcod per angler, no minimum size limit

*See regulation pamphlet for complete listing of bag limits at:

Public meetings

WDFW held a virtual public meeting Oct. 11 to discuss season structure and proposed dates for the 2024 recreational halibut season. The meeting was to gather stakeholder input before the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meeting in November, when the Council will take final action on the season structure for 2024. WDFW staff also provided an overview of the PFMC’s groundfish (bottomfish) biennial process for 2025-2026.

View the Oct. 11 public meeting PowerPoint presentation.


WDFW hosted a virtual public webinar meeting regarding the recreational Pacific halibut fishery on Aug. 2. Halibut managers reviewed the 2023 season and took input on general ideas for structuring the 2024 season that were presented as preliminary options during the Sept. 7-14 Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting at the Doubletree by Hilton Spokane City Center.


Important dates:

The PFMC will meet Nov. 1-8, 2023. View meeting details.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission will meet Jan 22-26, 2024. View meeting details.

More information