Vicki Wallner hauled in this 64-inch long halibut estimated at 134 pounds in the waters of Marine Area 5 while fishing for lingcod over Memorial Day weekend.

Vicki Wallner hauled in this 64-inch long halibut estimated at 134 pounds in the waters of Marine Area 5 while fishing for lingcod over Memorial Day weekend.

OUTDOORS: Giant halibut landed on light tackle as lingcod outing turns ‘unexpected’

Port Angeles angler catches a sea beast

THE HEAVIEST HAUL of halibut so far this season?

The flatfish brought to the boat by Port Angeles’ Vicki Wallner over the Memorial Day Weekend is definitely in the running, if not the clubhouse leader.

Wallner was fishing for lingcod when the halibut hookup happened, so the entire fish tale was “unexpected,” Wallner said.

She was rigged up with 20-pound test line on a Lamiglas salmon fishing pole in about 55 feet of water when the beast bit down.

“It broke my pole in half, and needless to say it was complete chaos in our boat,” Wallner said. “My fish was 64-inches long weighing an estimated 134-pounds and caught on a pink rubber worm.”

Now insert the portion of anglers or citizens who will criticize the retention of a halibut that size (or anybody that prints such a photo) for the potential genetic losses incurred in the taking.

But then there’s the other set who say the big flatties aren’t as productive as say, a 45-pound specimen in the prime of it’s reproductive health.

It’s a question I should pose to biologists someday soon.

Big Salmon derby

Big Salmon Fishing Resort in Neah Bay is hosting a halibut derby through Sunday.

Anglers can register their boats at the bait shop until 10 a.m. Saturday.

Entrance fee is $100 per boat.

The derby will end at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Not quite as free

The state’s annual Free Fishing Weekend is Saturday and Sunday, with a notable change for 2023.

In past years, nearly any species of fish or shellfish open for harvest could be harvested without a license during Free Fishing Weekend.

Beginning this year, any fish requiring a catch record card (including sturgeon, salmon, steelhead and halibut) and all shellfish will still require a license on Free Fishing Weekend. All other species open for harvest can still be harvested without a license.

The decision to make the change to the Free Fishing Weekend rule was unanimously adopted by the state’s Fish and Wildlife Commission in July 2022 to address concerns about illegal or uncounted harvest and promote conservation of fish and shellfish populations.

Ocean salmon June 17

June 17 is the season opener for ocean-going salmon anglers off the coast.

Marine Area 3 (La Push)

June 17 through Sept. 30: Open seven days per week with a daily limit of two salmon, no more than one of which may be a chinook; no chum may be retained beginning Aug. 1.

Chinook minimum size is 24 inches and the coho minimum size is 16 inches. Anglers must release wild coho.

La Push Bubble Fishery opens Oct. 3-7 and details are listed in the Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet.

The overall Marine Area 3 chinook guideline is 1,590 and the coho quota is 4,150.

Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay)

June 17 through Sept. 30: Open seven days per week with a daily limit of two salmon, no more than one of which may be a chinook; no chum may be retained beginning Aug. 1.

Chinook minimum size is 24 inches and coho minimum size is 16 inches. Anglers must release wild coho. The Marine Area 4 chinook guideline is 8,710 and the coho quota is 16,600.

Waters east of a true north-south line running through Sail Rock are closed in July.

No chinook retention allowed east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line beginning Aug. 1.

The area bounded by a line from Kydaka Point to Shipwreck Point is closed to salmon angling.

Ocean salmon quota numbers and in-season updates are available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports/creel/ocean.

________

Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at mcarman@peninsuladailynews.com.

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