Ann Jagger of Sequim caught this halibut while fishing out of John Wayne Marina on Sunday morning. The fish was measured by fish checkers on the dock at just under 46 inches in length. It weighed 45 pounds. (Steve Hazard)

Ann Jagger of Sequim caught this halibut while fishing out of John Wayne Marina on Sunday morning. The fish was measured by fish checkers on the dock at just under 46 inches in length. It weighed 45 pounds. (Steve Hazard)

OUTDOORS: Hundreds hit the water for halibut

PORT ANGELES — Halibut pressure and production increased as anglers hit the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound for the Memorial Day weekend.

Last Friday was still slow in terms of angler effort and catch totals, but the action heated up Sunday from Seiku to Port Townsend with a good number of flatfish brought aboard by a surge in anglers.

Curious about turnout in the North Olympic Peninsula’s first test of a true destination weekend since the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, a glance back at catch totals from the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend 2019 when compared to last Sunday reveals some interesting information.

It’s not apples to apples, of course. The 2019 halibut season opened about a month earlier and all Marine Areas were open to fishing— obviously not the case this season with areas 1-4 off the Pacific Coast shut down to halibut anglers.

Off Port Angeles, Sunday’s effort and catch results nearly mimicked 2019. In total, 73 halibut were landed by 273 anglers in 118 interviews conducted by creel reporters at the Ediz Hook ramp on Sunday. That compares to 46 halibut landed by 255 anglers in 118 interviews at Ediz Hook on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend 2019.

Checkers at the Port Angeles West Ramp counted 39 halibut when conducting 62 interviews of 167 anglers Sunday. That resembles the 29 halibut brought in by 140 anglers in 51 interviews from the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in 2019.

There was a significant uptick in pressure at Sequim’s John Wayne Marina where 20 halibut were counted in 72 interviews of 174 anglers. No fish were counted in two interviews with seven anglers on the same Memorial Day weekend Sunday in 2019.

Angling effort also was up big from 2019 out west at Sekiu at both Mason’s Olson’s Resort and Van Ripers’ Resort.

Fish checkers at Van Ripers’ Resort counted two halibut landed by 46 anglers in 17 interviews Sunday, compared to two halibut landed by 17 anglers in five interviews of those fishing in Marine Area 5.

Checkers at Mason’s counted four halibut caught by 129 anglers in 48 interviews, a climb in pressure from 2019, when 11 halibut were landed in Marine Area 5 by 54 anglers in 24 interviews.

These catch totals do not reflect all fish caught or all angler pressure, but they are a pretty good indicator of success and effort.

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Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected].

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