The first of Oregon’s eagerly-awaited Pacific halibut seasons open Tuesday, May 1, and this year anglers can look forward to more fishing days thanks to a nine percent increase in this year’s quota.
Here are the 2012 sport Pacific Halibut seasons for the three sub-areas on the Oregon Coast:
Leadbetter Point, Wash., to Cape Falcon:
- All-Depth Seasons have a combined quota of 11,985 pounds. Spring: Open three days a week (Thursday –Saturday) May 3 to July 15 or until the quota 9,516 pounds is met. Summer: Open three days a week (Friday-Sunday), Aug. 3 to Sept. 30 or until remaining quota is met.
Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain:
- Nearshore Season (inside 40-fathom line) open seven days a week from May 1 to Oct. 31, or until harvest quota of 23,014 pounds is met.
- All-Depth Seasons have a combined quota of 168,766 pounds. Spring dates: Fixed days occur every Thursday – Saturday beginning May 10, Backup days are on every other Thursday –Saturday beginning June 14. The spring quota is 120,821 lbs. Summer dates: The summer fishery occurs every other Friday and Saturday beginning August 3 and continues until the quota is reached.
South of Humbug Mountain:
The season will be open seven days a week from May 1 to Oct. 31.
Lynn Mattes, ODFW halibut project leader, said this year anglers should also be aware of some new bottomfish rules that could affect halibut anglers:
- When participating in the nearshore halibut fishery, on days when the all-depth fishery is not open, anglers may have bottomfish onboard their vessel but only inside the 30-fm line.
- Between 30 and 40 fathoms, anglers can fish for and retain halibut, however they cannot retain bottomfish or have bottomfish on board when fishing in in this depth.
- Inside the 30-fathom line, Pacific halibut can be retained along with bottomfish from May 1 to Oct. 31 on all days that the all-depth halibut fishery is closed.
The new rules were put in place to help reduce bycatch impacts to yelloweye rockfish in the bottomfish fishery.
“So a good game plan if you want to fish for halibut outside the 30-fathom line, is to catch your halibut first, then move inside of the 30-fathom line to catch bottomfish,” Mattes said. “We realize this is a little complicated, but based on feedback from anglers, this seemed like the best compromise to maximize opportunity in both the nearshore halibut fishery and the bottomfish fishery.”
Additional details of the 2012 Pacific halibut sport season are available on the ODFW website.