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Halibut fishing is open in local waters now through June 30 on alternating days, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced last week.

The fishery is open in Marine Areas 5 through 10. The opening was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The season structure is different than usual to promote guidelines that limit travel, WDFW officials said. Anglers are encouraged to participate only if they can do so locally as part of a day trip, while also practicing physical distancing. 

"In talking with public health officials and our partners at Washington's ports, we think we've found a balance between being able to provide these opportunities and bring that value back into these communities, while also continuing to prioritize public health," Larry Phillips, coastal region director, said in a news release. "These dates depend on anglers continuing to get outdoors responsibly — something we know folks can do because we've seen a lot of great examples of it these last couple of weeks."

Officials recommend people bring their own personal hygiene materials, such as hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and face masks or bandanas. People are also reminded to be prepared to change plans if access sites are congested. Fishers should check ahead to ensure that the intended access site is open and be aware of local alternatives. 

In all marine areas open to halibut fishing, there is a one-fish daily catch limit and no minimum size restriction.

Because halibut fisheries are managed to an overall quota of 77,550 pounds, anglers should check the WDFW website to ensure a specific area is open prior to fishing. Learn more at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut.

Marine Areas 5-10 are open May 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, and June 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29. 

Marine Areas 1-4 will remain closed as WDFW officials, public health officials and partners at coastal Washington ports develop a halibut season opening plan for coastal marine areas.

 

Contact reporter Evan Caldwell at ecaldwell@scnews.com and follow him on Twitter @Evan_SCN for updates throughout the week and on Instagram @evancaldwell.scn for more photos.

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