The halibut fishery off the coast at Ilwaco and Westport has been good.
In fact, fishing has been so good at Westport that state Fish and Wildlife officials are planning on closing it down after this Sunday (May 18). Fishing had been open at Westport on Sundays and Tuesdays only since May 4.
“We did have a conference call this morning (Thursday, May 15), and got the preliminary catch through Tuesday,” said Heather Reed, the state Fish and Wildlife halibut resource manager.
The total catch through Tuesday at Westport is 29,960 pounds, and leaves just 10,779 pounds left to catch (40,739 pounds was the preseason sport catch quota), which anglers were expected to approach after this Sunday (May 18).
“We’re planning to to close the primary halibut fishery at Westport at the end of the day on Sunday, and with those catch numbers we don’t think we can get through another opener on Tuesday,” Reed said. “There will be no change to the near-shore halibut fishery, which will remain open daily.”
The updated balance remaining in the near-shore halibut catch quota is 1,804 pounds (2,000 pounds is the sport catch quota).
“If we don’t catch the rest of the primary Westport quota then we will shift to remainder of the that to the near-shore quota, and we should know more about that after Sunday,” Reed said.
To the southern-most port of Ilwaco halibut fishing remains good too, which is open Thursdays to Sundays only. Ilwaco will close once 80 percent of the 8,564 pound quota is achieved.
“We sampled this past week, and saw a lot of halibut (one-fish daily) limits at Ilwaco, and it has been very good at Westport too,” said Wendy Beeghly, a State Fish and Wildlife biologist.
Reed says the Ilwaco area halibut catch updates are reported to their officeonce every two weeks.
“We’ll get another update, and gauge where they’re at next week,” Reed said.
La Push and Neah Bay opened Thursday for halibut, and is open Thursdays and Saturdays only through May 24 or until the catch quota is achieved. If enough remains it will reopen June 5 and/or June 7.