Skagit County, WA– The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) sent out a press release stating that Anglers fishing for Halibut in Washington waters will see a similar season structure as compared to 2017 when fishing gets underway in May.
The WDFW establishes halibut season using catch quotas adopted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission for Coastal fisheries from California to Alaska. Washington recreational halibut fisheries will be managed to a quota of 225,366 pounds, slightly less than in 2017.
This year’s overall recreational halibut quota would have been about 11,000 pounds lower if not for a shift in quota from the commercial sablefish fishery, which catches halibut incidentally. The commercial fishery’s allocation of halibut was reduced in an effort to provide more opportunity for recreational halibut anglers, according to the release.
Marine area in Puget Sound and on the coast, with the exception of Marine Area 1 (IIwaco) will be open on the same days throughout the season. IIwaco will be open three days per week until the quota is met.
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 fish in any form while in the field and must record their catch on a WDFW catch record card. New for 2018, in response to public input, there will be an annual limit of four halibut.
Puget Sound Marine areas 5-10 will be open May 11, 13, 25 and 27. Puget Sound will be managed by an overall quota of 60,995 pounds. Depending on available quota, areas will re-open to halibut fishing June 7, 9, 16, 21, 23, 28, and 30th.
Marine areas 11, 12, and 13 will remain closed to halibut fishing to protect threatened and endangered rockfish species.
For information on additional Marine areas, Anglers should check the WDFW website to ensure a specific area is open prior to fishing. Complete information on recreational halibut regulations and seasons can be found by clicking here.
Source: Heather Reed, WDFW