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Washington Halibut Seasons 2014

Here in Washington, there are few fish that draw more attention than the Pacific Halibut. Even as I try and stumble through writing this synopsis of the 2014 Washington Season, memories of the Barndoor Halibut we’ve landed, memories of incredibly fast-paced fishing, memories of almost getting pulled in by a just-harpooned-trophy, all those memories of great fishing days and the tonnage of fillets we brought back gets me too excited to focus. There is always a huge amount of excitement and anticipation geared around the upcoming Halibut seasons. This year we should see a great season, both on the Washington Coast and inside the Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Here is a basic rundown on this year’s seasons and quotas, as always please refer to the Washington Fishing Regulation Pamphlet along with the Official Halibut Season Press Release and the Washington Halibut Reports for every detail.

[table caption=”Coastal Halibut Season 2014″ width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
colalign=”left|left|left “]
Marine Area,Season,Days
MA1 Columbia River (all depths),May 1 until quota (or Sept 30),Thursdays-Sundays Only
MA1 Columbia River (nearshore),May 5 until quota (or Sept 30),Mondays-Wednesdays Only
MA2: Westport (all depths),May 4 until quota,Sundays & Tuesdays Only (Except closed May 25 & 27). Might re-open June 1/3 if quota remains
MA2: Westport (north inside 30 fathoms),May 4 until sub-quota, 7 days a week
MA3: La Push,May 15 until quota,Thursdays & Sundays Only thru May 24 (or quota). Closed May 29-31. Might re-open June 5/7 if quota remains
MA4: Neah Bay,May 15 until quota,Thursdays & Sundays Only thru May 24 (or quota). Closed May 29-31. Might re-open June 5/7 if quota remains.
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[table caption=”Puget Sound Halibut Season 2014″ width=”500″ colwidth=”100”
colalign=”left|left|left “]
Marine Area,Season,Days
MA5: Sekiu,May 22-June7,May 22-May 25 Thursday-Saturday Only; May 29-31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only*
MA6: East Straits,May 9-June 7,May 9-May 10 Friday & Saturday Only; May 17 Saturday Only; May 22-May 25 Thursday-Sunday Only; May 29-May 31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only
MA7: San Juan Islands,May 9-June 7,May 9-May 10 Friday & Saturday Only; May 17 Saturday Only; May 22-May 25 Thursday-Sunday Only; May 29-May 31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only
MA8-1: Skagit Bay,May 9-June 7,May 9-May 10 Friday & Saturday Only; May 17 Saturday Only; May 22-May 25 Thursday-Sunday Only; May 29-May 31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only
MA8-2: Everett,May 9-June 7,May 9-May 10 Friday & Saturday Only; May 17 Saturday Only; May 22-May 25 Thursday-Sunday Only; May 29-May 31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only
MA9: Admiralty Inlet,May 9-June 7,May 9-May 10 Friday & Saturday Only; May 17 Saturday Only; May 22-May 25 Thursday-Sunday Only; May 29-May 31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only
MA10: Seattle,May 9-June 7,May 9-May 10 Friday & Saturday Only; May 17 Saturday Only; May 22-May 25 Thursday-Sunday Only; May 29-May 31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only
MA11: Tacoma,CLOSED,NO SEASON
MA12: Hood Canal,CLOSED,NO SEASON
MA13: South Sound,CLOSED,NO SEASON

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Ilwaco Halibut Season

Halibut anglers fishing from Ilwaco will have the longest halibut season in the state. The Marine Area 1 halibut quota isn’t usually reached, meaning that a season could potentially run through September 30. There is a clause in the quota arrangement that if 80% of the quota is reached early in the season, there will be a break to allow some dates later on in the season. At the very least, there is 20% of the quota saved for later in the season! There is also a nearshore halibut fishery at the mouth of the Columbia River that is available.

Westport Halibut Season

Westport hosts dozens of fishing charters that hit the offshore halibut grounds and are joined by many private boaters. Typically the majority of Westport’s fishing fleet heads out to fish along the Quinault, Grays and Guides Canyons way offshore where the halibut are plentiful. There is a nearshore halibut fishery in Marine Area 2 north of the entrance to Grays Harbor and inside of the 30 fathom mark (this inside fishery is mainly designed around allowing folks fishing for bottomfish to keep a halibut if they incidentally catch one). Don’t be surprised if the South Coast Quota is harvested within 5 to 6 days of fishing.

La Push & Neah Bay Halibut Season

Both Neah Bay and La Push are quiet coastal hamlets that become a hive of activity during the halibut seasons. Both harbors fill with boats, every hotel will be at capacity, and the fillet tables will be packed. While the North Coast is allotted 108,030 pounds for the recreational catch, this quota will usually be filled within 4 to 5 days of fishing.

Sekiu & Puget Sound Halibut Season

It seems that every year the Puget Sound halibut fishery becomes even more popular. An on-the-water survey of the angler effort on any day open to fishing will stun the Average Joe. While the Halibut seem to be spread out because there are just so many great fishing areas in the Eastern Straits and Admiraly Inlet, anglers find their fish. Once the annual quota is announced, it allows the state to create a set season which will stay open through June 7.

[table caption=”Washington Halibut Quotas 2014″ width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
colalign=”left|left|left “]
Marine Area,Season,Days
MA1: Columbia River (Early), 9516 pounds
MA1: Columbia River (Late), 2379 pounds
MA1: Columbia River (Nearshore), 2000 pounds
MA2: Westport (Total),42739 pounds
MA2: Westport (Primary),40739 pounds
MA2: Westport (Nearshore),2000 pounds
MA3-4: Neah Bay & La Push,108030 pounds
MA5-10: Puget Sound, 57393 pounds

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