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Originally published Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 8:04 PM

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Spring, summer halibut fishery looks good

State Fish and Wildlife recommendations forecast fishing similar to 2011.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Anglers can expect another blissful spring and summer halibut fishery.

State Fish and Wildlife submitted their recommendations this past week to the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) and National Marine Fisheries Service, and final approval will be made by early March.

"We don't anticipate any changes, and the catch-sharing plan should be pretty much the same as 2011," said Heather Reed, a state Fish and Wildlife halibut resource manager. "In general the coast had a good season last year, and we didn't hear anything negative."

At the IPHC meeting late last month, it was decided the Marine Catch Area 2A commercial, tribal and sport catch quota — which covers marine areas in Washington, Oregon and California — will be 989,000 pounds compared to 910,000 last year.

Of that the sport halibut fishery in Washington will be allowed a catch quota of 214,110 pounds compared to 216,489 last year.

The North Coast halibut fishery off Neah Bay and La Push caught 103,741 pounds under a quota of 108,792 last year. Westport caught 45,100 pounds under a quota of 43,500 last year.

Under the suggested plan, Ilwaco (Marine Catch Area 1) will be open for halibut Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays beginning May 3, and close once the quota is achieved. This area will also have a reserve quota which reopens Aug. 3 on a Friday to Sunday schedule.

"There is a slight difference for Area 1 where this year 80 percent of the quota will go toward the early season compared to last year's 70 percent," Reed said.

In Westport (Area 2) fishing will open Sundays and Tuesdays on May 6 and 8, May 13 and 15, and May 20 and 22. Fisheries managers will reassess the catch quota soon after, and if enough remains it would reopen June 3 and/or June 5.

There will also be a nearshore halibut fishery off Westport, which will be open daily beginning May 6 with a 2,000 pound quota.

Neah Bay and La Push (Areas 3 and 4) will be open Thursdays and Saturdays on May 10 and 12 and May 17 and 19. Depending on what is left it could reopen on May 31 and/or June 2.

The good news for Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca east of Sekiu (Areas 5 to 10) was that anglers caught 45,856 pounds last year under a quota of 58,155.

"The Puget Sound fishery (last year) wasn't as successful as 2008, 2009 and 2010 which were phenomenal, and as a result we exceeded the quotas in each of those years," Reed said. "Last season they didn't catch all of the quota, so we were able to add a couple of extra days this season."

The eastern Strait and Puget Sound (Areas 6 to 10) will be open for halibut May 3 to June 2. Fishing will be open Thursdays to Saturdays only, except for Memorial Day when it will be open Thursday to Monday.

The western Strait of Juan de Fuca off Sekiu (Area 5) will be open for halibut May 24 to June 23. Fishing will be open Thursdays to Saturdays only, except for Memorial Day when it will be open Thursday to Monday.

The daily limit in all these areas will be one halibut with no minimum size limit.

Slopeside happenings

• Spectators are welcome to view the North Face Masters of Snowboarding, the largest North American big mountain snowboarding tour, which comes to the slopes of Crystal Mountain Resort Wednesday through Friday. For details, visit www.thenorthfacemasters.com.

• The Summit at Snoqualmie is offering the Sweet Heart on the Slopes Deal from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, with two-for-one lift tickets and chocolate. For details, visit www.summitatsnoqualmie.com.

• The Cascade Foothills Farmland Association and Leavenworth Winter Sports Club are hosting the Wine, Chocolate & Ski Event Sunday through Tuesday from noon to 5 p.m. each day in downtown Leavenworth. Local wineries will offer wine tastings paired with chocolate, and provide discount vouchers to nordic and ski trails and venues. For details, visit www.visitwashingtonfarms.com.

• The Panorama Mountain Village Resort in British Columbia has a 49-Hour Sale, Sunday through Tuesday. The deal includes $49 per night for a condo or townhome; a $49 lift ticket; a $49 per person half-day group ski or snowboard lesson; $49 equipment rental per person for two days; $49 child care per day in Wee Wascals; and $49 dining for two entrees and two desserts at Wildfire Rustic Grill or Chopper's Landing. For details, visit www.panoramaresort.com or call 888-776-7730.

• The Crystal Mountain Resort Triple Crown of Washington State's Junior Freeride Championship is Saturday and April 21. The event is open to skiers and snowboarders 11 to 18, with limited slots available. Registration is online and costs $85. Ski terrain used for the event will be Throne, Elk Chutes, the King, Silver Basin and Bear Pits. For details, visit www.crystalmountainresort.com.

• The Vertfest, a celebration of backcountry culture, is Feb. 18-19 at Alpental at The Summit at Snoqualmie. The El Presidente Freestyle Camp, Feb. 18-19 at Summit Central, is open for intermediate or better snowboarders ages 8 and older. For details, visit www.summitatsnoqualmie.com.

Notes

• The Coast Guard Auxiliary of Edmonds, Washington Flotilla is hosting two boating classes for experienced and novice boaters. Weekend Navigator is an 11-week course that begins Tuesday on getting the most out of electronics and navigating in Puget Sound and offshore. Boating Skills and Seamanship is a study of all aspects of boating. The 12-week course begins Thursday. Details: 425-483-9684.

• The Washington Fly Fishing Club meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Seattle Tennis Club. Club member Preston Singletary will give a lecture on aquatic entomology. To attend the meeting contact the club on the website. Details: www.wffc.com.

• Mount Rainier National Park offers daily snowshoe walks on weekends through March 25. The walks are offered at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up at the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center information desk at Paradise beginning one hour before the start time.

Snowshoe walks cover approximately 1.5 miles, and last up to two hours. Snowshoes are provided, but visitors may use their own. A donation of $4 per person is requested. Participants must be at least 8 years old and should wear sturdy boots and dress in layers. Organized groups of 13 to 25 can reserve a snowshoe walk in advance. Group snowshoe walks begin at 10:30 a.m. For details, call 360-569-6575 or www.visitrainier.com.

• Washington Sea Grant and the Port of Seattle Fishermen's Terminal are hosting a Boat Engine Troubleshooting and Maintenance Workshop 6:30-9 p.m. March 6-8 at the Nordby Building at Fishermen's Terminal in Seattle for commercial fishermen and recreational boaters. Learn to troubleshoot problems in the fuel, lubrication, electrical, cooling, exhaust and drive systems of diesel and gas inboards, stern drives and outboards (two-cycle and four-stroke). Cost is $150. Details: 206-543-1225.

• Fly-fishing authors/instructors Skip Morris and Rick Hafele are offering a two-day workshop 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 25-26 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Issaquah, which is sponsored by the Creekside Angling Company fly shop in Issaquah.

Learn about the insects that move fish, how to imitate those insects with the right fly, learn from a fly-tying master on how to tie some of his favorite patterns, techniques for fishing a fly effectively, how to read the water, and more. Cost is $145 for both days, $80 for one day, and discounts offered for fly club members. Class size limited and preregistration required. Details: http://hookednow.com/events.

• The Washington Sea Grant and Port of Seattle Fishermen's Terminal are sponsoring a Coast Guard-approved First Aid at Sea course for commercial fishermen and recreational boaters 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 29 at the Fishermen's Terminal in Seattle. Topics include cardiopulmonary resuscitation, patient assessment, hypothermia, cold-water near-drowning, shock, trauma, burns, fractures, choking, immobilization techniques, first-aid kits and more. Cost is $80. Space is limited, and preregistration is advised. Details: 206-543-1225.

• Mountain Madness, Inc. is offering avalanche awareness clinic 7 p.m. Wednesday at the REI Store in Tukwila. Details: www.mountainmadness.com.

• The Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca will be Feb. 18-20, and is hosted by the Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, a nonprofit corporation that supports area emergency and other services. Cost is $40. Details: www.SwainsInc.com or http://gardinersalmonderby.org.

• The Northshore Trout Unlimited meeting is the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center, 18560 1st Ave. NE in Shoreline. Details: http://northshoretu.blogspot.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.

• The Issaquah Alps Trails Club holds 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

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