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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 13, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Northern coast halibut fishery runs into bad weather on opener, while Ilwaco and Westport remain good

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Halibut fishing off the southern coastal ports was good, while those to the north struggled with terrible weather conditions.

“The boats at Ilwaco that went out did well (May 14), and halibut averaged 20 pounds, which is bigger than those caught at Westport (16 pound average dressed),” said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “It was also good (Thursday) at Ilwaco, and I heard the charter boats at Westport got ’em again on Tuesday.”

Up to the northern coast it was a much different story where the open ocean churned up some nasty weather.

“At Neah Bay (on the Thursday, May 12 opener) the boats struggled to find the fish, the water conditions were bad, and by 9 a.m. the winds had picked up,” Beeghly said.

Neah Bay and La Push are open Saturday, May 14. Halibut fishing is allowed Thursdays and Saturdays only through May 21, and closed May 26-28. If enough remains in the quota (which there might be after a lousy opener) then the fishery will reopen June 2 and/or June 4.

Westport is open for halibut Sundays and Tuesdays only except closed May 24. The fishery will close once the halibut quota is achieved. The black rockfish and lingcod fishery remains very good.

The Ilwaco halibut fishery is open Thursdays through Sundays only. The fishery will close once the halibut quota is achieved.

Halibut fishing in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca remained fair to good off Port Angeles, when it reopened Thursday, May 12. Fishing here is open Thursdays through Saturdays only, and one exception is when it is open May 26-29.

The Sekiu area opens for halibut May 26 to May 29, and then open Thursdays through Saturdays only from June 2-18.

The lingcod fishery off Sekiu and northern Puget Sound remains fairly good, and those who retreated from the winds after trying for halibut up at Neah Bay found excellent bottomfishing for mainly lingcod, rockfish and kelp greenling off Waadah Island, the garbage dump and green buoy right in front of the marina.

(Photo courtesy of Toby Black with state Fish and Wildlife)

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