Coastal recreational bottomfishing opens March 9

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Lingcod.
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News release

Contact: Lorna Wargo, 360-581-5611
Media contact: Mark Yuasa, 360-902-2262

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today the recreational coastal bottomfishing season opens March 9.

Bottomfish regulations remain the same as in 2023. Anglers are reminded that possession of copper rockfish, quillback rockfish, and vermilion rockfish will be prohibited in May, June, and July, when peak effort for bottomfish occurs. This restriction is intended to reduce catch to stay within state specific federal harvest limits. Recent scientific assessments for the three rockfish species indicate populations are likely healthy but smaller than previously understood.

Allowing possession and retention of these three rockfish species during March, August, September, and October supports collection of crucial biological information such as length and age which are important for future scientific assessments.

Yelloweye rockfish retention is prohibited in all areas of Washington and yelloweye rockfish must be released. Anglers are reminded that a descending device must be on board vessels and rigged for immediate use when fishing for or possessing bottomfish and halibut. Information about descending devices can be found on WDFW’s webpage.

“The use of descending devices to release rockfish that can’t be kept is an effective way to improve their survival,” said Lorna Wargo, WDFW intergovernmental ocean policy coordinator. “We’ve been pleased at the way anglers have adopted the regular use of descending devices to release rockfish as a responsible fishing practice.”

2024 coastal recreational bottomfishing seasons

  • Ilwaco (Marine Area 1), Westport-Ocean Shores (Marine Area 2), La Push (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4 west of Bonilla-Tatoosh) will open March 9 through Oct. 19. Daily aggregate limit is nine bottomfish and includes a sub-limit of seven rockfish, two lingcod, one cabezon per angler with no minimum size restriction. A daily aggregate limit is a combination of nine bottomfish. Possession prohibited for copper rockfish, quillback rockfish, and vermilion rockfish in May, June, and July.
  • Neah Bay (Marine Area 4 east of Bonilla-Tatoosh) is open year-round for bottomfishing. Lingcod fishing is open March 9 through Oct. 19. Daily aggregate limit is nine bottomfish and includes a sub-limit of seven black, blue /deacon, yellowtail, and widow rockfishes, and two lingcod, one cabezon per angler with no minimum size restriction. A daily aggregate limit is a combination of nine bottomfish.

A bottomfish limit doesn’t include halibut, which is a daily limit of one halibut.

Surfperch and shiner perch are not part of the bottomfish limit. Surfperch has a daily limit of 12 and shiner perch has a daily limit of 15 with no minimum size restriction. Fishing is open on the second Saturday in March through the third Saturday in October except fishing for surfperch is open year-round from the beach.

Fishing for, retaining or possessing sixgill, sevengill, and thresher sharks is closed in all marine areas. A sixgill shark may not be removed from the water.

For additional information, regarding seasons, daily limits, gear rules, depth restrictions and bottomfish closure areas, please see the Washington Sportfishing Rules pamphlet webpage.

WDFW would like to remind anglers that creel staff will be present at many coastal boat launches and access sites to gather information regarding fishing and crabbing trips. Anglers may be interviewed by multiple staff members who collect different sets of information based on the species caught. The information collected by these staff members is important for fishery management.

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.

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.