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Originally published Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 8:06 PM

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Hopes are high for halibut seasons | Outdoors notebook

At the International Pacific Halibut Commission meeting last week in Victoria, B.C., it was decided that the Marine Catch Area 2A catch quota — which covers all saltwater areas in Washington, Oregon and California — will increase from 810,000 pounds last year to 910,000 this coming season.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Reel Time Northwest

Seattle native and lifelong angler Mark Yuasa blogs on fishing in the Pacific Northwest.

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Halibut anglers will be glad to know that more fish are on the table to catch this spring and summer as fisheries managers finalize the seasons.

At the International Pacific Halibut Commission meeting last week in Victoria, B.C., it was decided that the Marine Catch Area 2A catch quota — which covers all saltwater areas in Washington, Oregon and California — will increase from 810,000 pounds last year to 910,000 this coming season.

"It is a nice little bump in the catch quota, and not a huge one, but I think it's definitely a positive for our fisheries," said Heather Reed, a state Fish and Wildlife halibut biologist. "We know things haven't changed much with the catch sharing plans on the coast, so it should be pretty much the same as last year."

Reed says all the coastal ports will open in early May, and will follow the same fishing structure as last season.

Neah Bay and La Push will be open Thursdays and Saturdays only, and will close after two weeks of fishing to assess catch rates. If enough remains in the quota, then they will reopen in early June.

The Westport area will be open Sundays and Tuesdays only, and will close once the catch quota has been achieved. There will also be a near shore halibut fishery with a 2,000-pound quota that will be open daily.

Ilwaco will be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only until the catch quota is achieved. This area will have a reserve quota set aside for an early August halibut fishery, and will be open Fridays and weekends only.

The halibut fishing seasons for Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca east of Sekiu will be discussed at a public meeting 9:30 a.m. Feb. 11 at the Natural Resources Building, Room 175, in Olympia. All the Washington halibut fishing seasons will be announced by early March.

State Fish and Wildlife also announced that lingcod fishing will open March 12 on the coast from Ilwaco to La Push (Marine Catch Areas 1 to 3), which is one week earlier than listed in the current sportfishing rules pamphlet.

Reed says the change was to conform to federal rules.

The fishing season in those areas will remain open through Oct. 15, as previously planned.

The season dates will remain unchanged at Neah Bay (Area 4), which will be open for lingcod fishing from April 16 through Oct. 15.

There is a 22-inch minimum size limit and a two-fish daily catch limit for lingcod in Marine Areas 1 to 3. In Marine Area 4, there is a 24-inch minimum size limit and a two-fish daily limit for lingcod.

Another coastwide change effective immediately is that it is unlawful for any person to retain or possess more than 12 bottomfish species for personal use per day. The 12 fish in the aggregate limit of all species may include no more than two cabezon daily in addition to current daily sublimits of 10 rockfish and two lingcod.

Outdoor calendar

Today: North Face Masters of Snowboarding, Crystal Mountain Resort (www.crystalmountainresort.com); Feb. 9: The Washington Trails Association Hiker Lobby Day, 8:30 a.m. in Olympia (www.wta.org); Feb. 9-13: Pacific Northwest Sportsmen's Show at Portland Expo Center, Oregon (www.otshows.com); Feb. 18-19: Seattle Sportsmen's Convention at Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue (www.working4wildlife.com); Feb. 16: Sekiu and Port Angeles in Strait of Juan de Fuca reopens for hatchery chinook fishing; Feb. 17: Tentative razor clam opener at Twin Harbors; Feb. 18-19: Tentative razor clam opener at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks and Kalaloch (http://wdfw.wa.gov); Feb. 19-21: Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby (www.gardinersalmonderby.org).

March 1: State Fish and Wildlife 2011 salmon forecasts and fishing opportunities meeting in Olympia (http://wdfw.wa.gov); March 19: Ilwaco, Westport and LaPush reopens for lingcod fishing; April 16: Neah Bay reopens for lingcod fishing; April 29-30: Washington State Federation of Fly Fishers Show at Ellensburg Event Center/Fairgrounds (www.washingtoncouncilfff.org); April 30: Washington lowland lakes trout fishing opener: May 21-22: South Olympic Peninsula Outdoor Adventure & Recreation Expo at Grays Harbor Fairgrounds in Elma (www.ghcfairgrounds.com); June 19: The Jimmy Green Memorial Fly Fishing Show and Casting Expo at Lake Tye in Monroe (www.jimmygreenflyexpo.com).

Notes

• The Puget Sound Anglers of Lake Washington meeting is 7 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Community Center at Mercer View, 8236 S.E. 24th St. on Mercer Island. Jon Calvo and Gerhard Graumann will discuss catching cutthroat in Lake Washington year-round. Details: 425-823-0704.

• The Washington Fly Fishing Club meeting is Feb. 15. Guest speaker is Dave Williams who will discuss flay fishing for carp in the Columbia River Basin. Guest must RSVP to attend meeting. Details: www.wffc.com.

• The Orvis Store in Bellevue is hosting an Orvis Beginning Fly Tying School Feb. 14, 16, 28 and March 2. Cost is $100. Details: 425-452-9138.

• The Steelhead Trout Club meeting 6 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Orient Express Restaurant on Fourth Ave. So. in Seattle. Details: 425-941-1148.

• The Icicle Chapter of Trout Unlimited meeting is 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Kristall's Restaurant in Leavenworth. Travis Collier, assistant Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery manager, will host a presentation of the Gulf Oil Disaster. Details: www.icicletrout.org.

• The Washington Sea Grant and Port of Seattle Fishermen's Terminal are sponsoring two Coast Guard-approved First Aid at Sea course 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Nordby building at Fishermen's Terminal in Seattle. Cost is $80. Details: 206-543-1225 or e-mail sfisken@ u.washington.edu.

• The Olympic Fly Fishers of Edmonds Club meeting is 6 p.m. Feb. 9 at the South County Senior Center, 220 Railroad Ave. in Edmonds. Guest speaker fly-fishing writer, editor and publisher Tom Pero will read from stories he wrote on exotic worldwide fishing destinations and discuss his many adventures. Nonmembers are welcome, but must register in advance. Details: 425-774-4769 or www.olympicflyfish.com.

• Mount St. Helens climbing permits are on sale. Cost is $22. Permits are required year-round to climb above 4,800 feet. Details: 360-891-5007 or www.mshinstitute.org.

• Issaquah Paddle Sports is accepting registration for Lake Sammamish spring nature tours 9 a.m.-noon and 1:30-4:30 p.m. March 12, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. March 13 at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah. Cost is $6, and $10-$15 for kayak rentals. Preregistration is required. Details: 206-527-1825 or 866-306-1825 or www.kayakacademy.com.

• The South King County Puget Sound Anglers is offering a Marine Science Scholarship to a 2011 graduating high school senior who plans to pursue a Marine Science or Fisheries career. Apply at www.TheWashBoard.org. Details: www.pugetsoundanglers.net.

• The Washington Fly Fishing Club is offering a four-week Advanced Fly Casting Class starting April 6, and six-week Beginning Fly Casting Class starting April 7 at the Green Lake casting pier in Seattle. Cost is $50 for advanced and $45 for beginner class. Details: 206-542-4623 or www.wffc.com.

• The Washington Sea Grant and the Port of Seattle Fishermen's Terminal are hosting a four-week boat engine troubleshooting and maintenance workshop beginning March 8 at the Nordby Building at Fishermen's Terminal in Seattle. Cost is $150, and preregistration is advised. Details: 206-543-1225 or sfisken@u.washington.edu.

• The Issaquah Alps Trails Club hosts weekly hikes and meets in downtown Issaquah. Details: www.issaquahalps.org.

• The Washington Trails Association offers statewide trip reports and trail conditions. Details: www.wta.org.

• The Seattle Audubon Society offers field trips and classes every month. Details: 206-523-4483 or www.seattleaudubon.org.

• The Western Bass Club meets every third Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Kennydale Hall in Renton. Details: www.westernbassclub.comor www.nickbarrfishing.com.

• The new nonprofit Cascade Musky Association is looking for members. Cost is $25 or $35 for a couple/family membership. Details: www.cascademuskyassociation.com or www.wafish.com.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com; twitter.com/MarkKYuasa

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