WDFW: Additional recreational halibut opportunities off coast and Puget Sound in August and September

By on June 27, 2024

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today additional recreational halibut fishing dates for August and September, pending final approval by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

“Spring halibut catches, and effort were lower than anticipated, which means we have sufficient remaining quota to offer more harvest opportunity,” said Lorna Wargo, WDFW intergovernmental ocean policy coordinator. “The proposed schedule for August and September reflects angler input and expands late season opportunity compared to previous years.”

The 2024 fishing season is based on statewide recreational quota of 299,781 pounds with 116,227 pounds remaining. The annual catch quota is the result of a fixed annual allocation that the International Pacific Halibut Commission approved in early 2024 for fisheries in Washington, Oregon, and California. This approach, which has been in place since 2019, has allocated a total of 1.65 million pounds to all halibut fisheries off the West Coast and Puget Sound in 2024. The consistent annual allocation provides stability for recreational fisheries from year to year. For halibut seasons and quota information, refer to the WDFW website.

Additional 2024 coast and Puget Sound halibut dates, subject to available Washington quota:

  • Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5, 6, 7, 8-1, 8-2, 9, and 10): Open daily through June 30 and then from Aug. 16 through Sept. 30.
  • Neah Bay and La Push (Marine Areas 4 and 3): Open June 27-30 then open daily from Aug. 16 through Sept. 30.
  • Westport/Ocean Shores (Marine Area 2): The all-depth fishery will be open June 27 and 30 and then open Aug. 22 through Sept. 3, and Sept. 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17,19, 22, 24, 26, and 29.
  • Ilwaco/Columbia River (Marine Area 1): The all-depth fishery will be open June 27 and 30 and then open Aug. 22 through Sept. 3, and Sept 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, and 29. The Marine Area 1 nearshore area is open Mondays through Wednesdays until the nearshore allocation is taken or Sept. 30, whichever comes first. The coordinates for the nearshore fishery are available on the WDFW webpage.
  • Tacoma-Vashon Island, Hood Canal, and southern Puget Sound (Marine Areas 11, 12 and 13): Closed.

In all marine areas open to halibut fishing, there is a one-fish daily catch limit and no minimum size restriction. Possession limit is two daily limits in any form, except only one daily limit while aboard the fishing vessel. Anglers must record their catch on a WDFW catch record card. New for 2024, the annual limit is six halibut per angler; a two-line catch record card (CRC) is available free of charge for those who have obtained a four-line CRC. Anglers cannot fish for, retain, possess, or land halibut into a port located within an area closed to halibut fishing, except anglers can land halibut that they lawfully retained in Marine Area 5 into a port within Marine Area 4 when Marine Area 4 is closed.

Fishing regulations include depth restrictions and area closures designed to reduce encounters with yelloweye rockfish, which must be released under state and federal law. 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. Refer to WDFW’s webpage for information about descending devices. There are two helpful WDFW blogs about descending device requirements and rockfish identification and retentions rules.

WDFW reminds anglers that creel staff will be present at many coastal boat launches and access sites to gather additional 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 these staff members collect is important for fishery management.

WDFW will host a virtual public webinar meeting in early August and the date will be announced soon. This meeting initiates the planning process for the 2025 recreational halibut fishery. Halibut managers will review the 2024 season and take input on ideas for structuring the 2025 season to present preliminary options during the Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting at the Doubletree by Hilton Spokane City Center on Sept.18-24.

Anglers can find complete information on recreational halibut fishing regulations and seasons on the WDFW halibut webpage. For full fishery details and regulations, see the emergency rule change at WDFW’s website. Permanent regulations can be found in the 2024-25 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet. To be notified of in-season rule changes as they are announced sign up for email notifications at wdfw.wa.gov/about/lists.

Salmon University Staff
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