Anglers found some halibut on yesterday’s eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca and North Sound opener, fishing under beautiful skies that have since given way to a wee bit of wind that wants to continue into Saturday.
WDFW catch data shows 344 fishermen in 153 boats with 56 halibut on Marine Area 6 Thursday, catch rates of .16 halibut per fisherman and .36 per boat, while 104 anglers and 37 boats came off Marine Area 7 with 24 fish, or catch rates of .23 and .64.
Chase Gunnell was aboard one of those boats in the San Juans yesterday, albeit on a ride-along with WDFW officers instead of jigging bottom.
“Great weather but a fairly slow halibut opener,” reported the agency spokesman. “We only checked five halibut, all but one at Hein Bank and all caught during the morning ebb tide. Two were nice halibut in the 30- to 40-pound range.”
Gunnell said they checked approximately 40 anglers in roughly 20 boats.
Further south, WDFW’s Area 9 stats show 57 anglers and 28 boats with zero fish.
Halibut fishing is also open tomorrow on Areas 6 through 10, but given the unsettled weather – there’s a gale warning up through 2 a.m. tonight, and then increasing winds through Saturday – anglers will want to double check the forecasts, Gunnell advises.
And the status of their hooks.
“Unfortunately there were many barbed hook violations, and WDFW reminds anglers that barbless hooks are required in Marine Areas 5-13, including for halibut,” he reports.
Flattie season in Washington’s inside waters runs Thursdays-Saturdays through June 30, except Friday-Sunday May 27-29, or until the quota of 83,210 pounds (which is shared with Area 5, the fishier western Straits, which opens May 5) is reached.