Ilwaco will become the first coastal area to soon close for what has turned out to be a rather productive spring sport halibut fishery.
Fishing will close at the end of the day Friday, May 29 after four weeks of fishing when anglers are expected to hit the 11,014-pound catch quota.
Halibut fishing has been open three days a week (Thursdays through Saturdays only) since May 1. Any quota remaining after May 29 will be added to the quota for the late-season fishery scheduled to open Aug. 7 on Fridays to Sundays only.
Halibut fishing remains open on Sundays only off Westport (Marine Catch Area 2); and La Push and Neah Bay (Marine Catch Areas 3 and 4) will be open two more days, May 21 and 23. If sufficient quota remains, the fishery will reopen June 4 and 6.
“Tons of effort at Neah Bay, and good catches of nice-sized halibut averaging about 25 pounds and the largest was 136 pounds,” said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “At Neah Bay, they caught just under half their quota in the first two days of fishing. All coastal areas are within striking distance of their quotas right now.”
Beeghly says it has been pretty much limits of halibut at Westport and Ilwaco too.
The halibut fishery in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and all other areas of Puget Sound except Hood Canal are open Thursdays through Mondays only.