NEWPORT, Ore. – Sport fishing for Pacific halibut in the ocean off the Columbia River area will be limited to two days when it reopens on Aug. 1.
Originally scheduled for a three-day a week opportunity starting early August, fishery managers determined there was sufficient catch limit remaining for only two days of fishing, Aug. 1 and 2. After Aug. 2 they will evaluate landing numbers and, if there is sufficient quota remaining, will reopen the fishery.
The spring fishery opened on May 1 seven days a week and closed on June 1 when fishery managers determined that anglers reached the harvest of 13,133 pounds of Pacific halibut. In fact, when actual landing numbers were tabulated it showed anglers exceeded the spring harvest quota by nearly 1,900 pounds leaving only 3,500 pounds for the August opening. The combined spring and summer harvest quota for the Columbia River subarea between Leadbetter Point in Washington and Cape Falcon in Oregon is 18,762 pounds.
Opportunities to fish for Pacific halibut also exist in other areas of Oregon.
Off the central Oregon coast between Cape Falcon (near Manzanita) and Humbug Mountain (near Port Orford), anglers may fish for halibut inside the 40-fathom line seven days a week through Oct. 31 or attainment of the harvest quota for that fishery. The all-depth halibut fishery off central Oregon is scheduled to be open July 24-26. A second season is scheduled to begin on August 1. The high-relief area of Stonewall Bank, west of Newport, is closed to all halibut fishing.
The area south of Humbug Mountain is open in all-depths for Pacific halibut through Oct. 31, seven days a week.
The daily bag limit is one fish and there is no minimum length for Pacific halibut. The possession limit is one daily limit at sea and three daily limits on land. The annual limit per angler is six fish.
Sport anglers are reminded possession of groundfish is not allowed north of Humbug Mountain when a Pacific halibut is aboard their vessel during all-depth Pacific halibut dates. The exception is sablefish (black cod) between Humbug Mt and Cape Falcon and both sablefish and Pacific cod north of Cape Falcon, which may be retained with halibut. Other non-groundfish species, such as tuna and salmon during authorized seasons, may be possessed with halibut on open all-depth Pacific halibut days.
Days on which Pacific halibut fishing is open will be announced on the NOAA Fisheries hotline (1-800-662-9825) and posted on the ODFW Marine Resources Program website at www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP. More information on regulations can be found in the 2008 Oregon Sport Ocean Regulations for Salmon, Halibut and Other Marine Species booklet. General regulations can be found in the 2008 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.