Ilwaco / Marine Area 1 Fishing

Ash posing with 38 lb lingcod


Ilwaco / Marine Area 1 – Recent Posts and WDFW News

Ilwaco / Marine Area 1 Salmon Fishing 2023

Every year, the State of Washington represented by WDFW engages with federal regulatory bodies and tribal co-managers to figure out appropriate salmon seasons on stocks of salmon bound for their natal streams.

The process begins in March and culminates towards the end of June as salmon seasons are finalized and communicated to the public.

During this period, one needs to consult emergency regulations more so than permanent regulations for any openers in that time-period of March – June. I’ve described this topic extensively in my guide to understanding WDFW saltwater salmon regulations.

As the forecasts for the salmon seasons are released and made public I will post them to this page.

Typically, a season for salmon in Marine Area 1 will kick off in mid – late June and go until the quota is exhausted. Allowing retention of 2 salmon, 1 of which can be a chinook and a requirement to release wild coho.

Again, the above are not the actual current year fishing regulations, but to give you an idea if you’re making trip planning decisions. Chinook retention ended in mid-August in 2022.

A lot of salmon fishing in Marine Area 1 and saltwater locations in general is done with downriggers. I’ve written an extensive guide to fishing for salmon with downriggers and also posted a how-to video for beginners to help you get started:

Proposed Salmon Seasons from WDFW for Marine Area 1 / Ilwaco

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) approved a recreational Chinook catch quota of 39,000 fish, up from last year’s quota of 27,000. The PFMC, which establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters 3 to 200 miles off the Pacific coast, also adopted a quota of 159,600 hatchery coho for this year’s recreational ocean fishery. This represents a decrease over last year’s initial coho quota of 168,000.  

Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco): Opens June 24. Open seven days per week with a daily limit of two salmon, no more than one of which may be a Chinook. Chinook minimum size is 22 inches and coho minimum size is 16 inches. Anglers must release wild coho.

Ilwaco / Marine Area 1 Bottom Fishing 2023

Fishing for a variety of bottom fish out of Ilwaco / Marine Area 1 can be exceptional when the season is open. This typically occurs from the second Sat. in March until the Third Sat. in October. Note: Halibut is different, has special opening days linked below and a quota system.

For Lingcod, you should refer to the permanent regulations as there are a variety of day periods which determine what depths and areas can be fished throughout the season.

For ideas on how to fish for lingcod off Washington coastal waters see this link. Also, checkout our new page on fishing for lingcod here.

Catching rockfish in our nearshore waters off of the Washington coast provides some of the best and easiest angling opportunities. Look for any rock piles in water depths typically < 100 ft and you will find significant populations of rockfish.

There’s more details on catching rockfish on my page here.

The below video was shot in Marine Area 2, but everything in there for targeting lingcod and rockfish applies to Marine Area 1 as well:

Halibut Fishing out of Ilwaco / Marine Area 1

Here’s a link to the WDFW page on halibut fishing in Marine Area 1. It should get updated as seasons and quota are announced, but there’s a good description of what you can expect if you are trying to make trip planning decisions.

Staying safe while fishing out of Ilwaco / Marine Area 1

The reality is that there isn’t bigger water anywhere than what you can experience heading over the Columbia River bar from Ilwaco to fish Marine Area 1. The graveyard of the Pacific. I highly recommend booking a charter if it’s your first time going over a river bar, and even if it’s just your first time going over the Columbia River bar.

I’ve written a page on marine weather safety that’s extensive and one of the best references I’ve found that’s free on the internet, which attempts to explain many of the concepts you need to understand heading over river bars and making trip planning decisions to fish the ocean.

Here’s a video I posted about going over the Westport bar in a smaller boat:

Ilwaco / Marine Area 1 Fishing Regulations 2023

Here’s a link to WDFW’s marine area rules and definitions.

Marine Area permanent regulations are updated in late June / early July of the year as salmon seasons are finalized, and you can access the current Marine Area 1 regulations here.

Emergency Fishing Regulations for Ilwaco / Marine Area 1 2023

The above permanent regulations for Marine Area 1 are subject to change at any time and without being updated on this blog. One must consult the WDFW Emergency Regulations before any trips to ensure they are in full compliance with state laws regulating fisheries.