North coast and Puget Sound halibut fishing to re-open Aug. 19

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WDFW Fish Program, 360-902-2700
Media Contact: Eryn Couch, 360-890-6604

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OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed today that sport halibut fishing will re-open along the north coast (Marine Areas 3 and 4) and in Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5 - 10) on Thursday, Aug. 19.  

“Last year, we saw lot of popularity with this late summer halibut fishery, which we had delayed in many areas to support public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Heather Hall, WDFW intergovernmental fisheries policy manager. “By providing these additional fishing dates in August and September again this year, recreational anglers will have the opportunity to access the remaining Washington sport allocation still available after the traditional season in May and June.” 

The fishery in these areas will be open three days per week, Thursday through Saturday until the remaining quota is reached or through Saturday, Sept. 25, whichever comes first. 

The Columbia River area (Marine Area 1) and Westport (Marine Area 2) will not re-open for additional fishing days in August and September. The full quota for these areas was reached during the regular late spring season. 

Anglers should be sure to check ahead of time if their preferred fishing destination or launch area is open; many launches and beaches are managed under local, tribal, or federal jurisdiction, and may not be operating normally.

The Makah Reservation, including marinas and all services, remains closed to visitors. Neah Bay on the Makah Reservation represents the primary direct boat access in Marine Areas 4. Those fishing in these areas will have to launch from, and return to, other areas that are also open for halibut fishing. Anglers fishing in Marine 4 must follow all rules and regulations for that area, regardless of where they return with their catch. 

Anglers should check the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations and WDFW’s emergency rules page at fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ before heading out, and download the Fish Washington mobile app for up-to-date regulations at their destination.

Coastal halibut dates:  
La Push and Neah Bay (Marine Areas 3 and 4): Open Thursday, August 19. The fishery in this area will be open three days per week, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, August 19 through September 25 or until the remaining quota is reached.  
 
Puget Sound halibut season: 

Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5 – 10): Open Thursday, August 19. The fishery in this area will be open three days per week, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, August 19 through September 25 or until the remaining quota is reached. 

In all marine areas open to halibut fishing, there is a one-fish daily catch limit and no minimum size restriction. Anglers may possess a maximum of two halibut in any form while in the field and must record their catch on a WDFW halibut catch record card. Anglers are limited to four halibut per year.

Yelloweye rockfish, which are sometimes encountered when fishing for halibut, cannot be retained in any Washington marine area. It is unlawful to land halibut in an area that is closed to halibut fishing.

Recreational fishery samplers will be available to collect catch information at fishing access sites throughout Puget Sound and the coast while practicing physical distancing guidelines.

Because halibut fisheries are managed to a quota, closures can happen quickly. Anglers should check the WDFW website or Fish Washington App to ensure a specific area is open prior to fishing. Complete information on recreational halibut regulations and seasons is available online at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email (Title6@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.