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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking ahead to next summer, like most of us. It appears to me that the Swiftsure Bank would be a fairly easy run out of Neah Bay on good days. By my GPS it's only 21 miles. No real bar to worry about, either.

Has anyone here fished for halibut there? Or is it mostly lings and rockfish? Tracker mentioned he took his 14' aluminum boat out there. What did you catch?
 

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I fish swiftsure in the spring. I fish the Canadian side because there is a two hali limit and you can fish any day. We catch Halis ling cod and true and black cod at times. There is what is kind of a bar where the Pacific ocean meets the Straihghts of San Jaun De Fuca. Gets rough there during a hard vtide just like a bar, often smoothing out when you get past it. Much shallower that some of the hali holes in oregon.
 

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I fish both the US and Canadian. The Canadian side is open 11 months of the year, where as the US side is only open several days (7-10) until the catch quota is reached. Easy run from Neah Bay, but as Tracker mentioned you will need to watch the convergence of heavy tidal movements where the Pacific ocean meets the Straights of San Juan DeFuca. A good strategy is to fish Neah Bay for salmon which typically has been Tuesdays-Saturday, then fish Canadian Swiftsure for Halibut on Sunday. Last year, Washington did allow you to bring back Canadian salmon but there was some restrictions in place to land those Canadian fish in US waters.
 

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Canadian side is the way to go. If you go out of neah bay and come around Waddah Island stay within a mile or 2 of the main land until you pass Tatoosh Island. It is a calmer run IMO. It is not a straight shot but if it is a little rough it will save you some pounding.

When you get around Tatoosh Island you will notice the increased tidal influence on the waves. This is also when the ocean swell becomes aparent.

The regulations are very confusing just like O.L. said. It is a fun place to fish. If you fish the Canadian side watch out for the Closed Zone that is described in the regs. I have heard stories about people getting a ticket for just drifting into it, but have never seen this happen.

Good Luck.
 

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The closed Zone is a great place to fish! The first trip up there with my new boat we caught the heck out of the lings and halibut. Got back to Neah Bay and was talking to a guy and he pointed out to me that I had been in the closed Zone. I sure have some good numbers to the spot! :blush: Guess I wont get to use them again! :shocked:
 

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I have heard that it is pretty hot..... If you look at one of those charts with the GPS numbers on them there are some sweet lookin spots in that closed zone.

I have always done the best on the northeast corner of the closure in about 200-250 feet.

When we were fishing out of Garibaldi this past year and saw all the people fishing "Halibut Hill" I think it is called and it was 750 feet, I felt spoiled.
 

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I agree with the halibut hill thing. When we inadvertantly fished the closed area it was less than 200'. I was culling 25lb lings. I kept catching bigger and bigger ones. Wished I had not wondered in there. I now fondly look in that direction everytime I am out there. Oh well!
 

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Also, there are a LOT of large ships going through that passage. It can be very dangerous in fog without a radar.

LR_
 

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Lip Rip'r,
Thanks for the safety tip!
 

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We fished out of Renfrew a couple of years ago, and I didn't have the closed zone marked on my new gps. There were five boats fishing in a group, so I pulled in the middle of them and started fishing. The fog rolled in and this big zodiac pulled up and informed me I was in the closed zone. Long story short $250.00 C. fine and they took my fishing pole. They got six boats out there that day including two guides. I don't know how many tickets they handed out. On the way home I blew up two tires and lost the lugs on one hub. It was a trip to remember, or try and forget.
 

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Here are the coordinates for the Swiftsure Closure for you. Enter these coordinatees in your chartplotter as a course, then turn the course on. This should leave it on your screen. You can then keep from drifting into it.

I fish it a lot myself. One of the hottest areas is north of the SW corner. Enter these and then use this to find your spots on the outside. Start on your chart plotter and run up the border going to the NW from the SW corner. We find the shallowest spots and fish them. These produce well. If BC wants to board you, Make sure and have them follow you away from the closure before you board so they don't write you up while you are drifting into it talking to them. I have heard of this happening. I have also been out there when the BC boys drift into the closure during the fog on purpose. They usually have a watchdog that radios them, If the "grey ghost" is coming out. This is also a major shipping lane as mentioned above. A huge cargo ship cannot stop and throws one hell of a wake.

Canadian Swiftsure closure

NW corner
48 34.000' N
125 06.000' W
SW Corner
48 29.550' N
124 56.200' W
SE Corner
48 29.620' N
124 43.400' W
NE Corner
48 34.000' N
124 54.200' W
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the coordinates. I plotted them out and that looks like a narrow rectangle. It also looks like there are large areas open to fishing north and west of the closure.

I can't seem to find the BC regulations on line. Anybody have a link?
 

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Canadian Fisheries will be at the Sportsman Show again this year, pretty good group to talk to about fishing regs and such, they recognize the value ($$$) of sport fishing as well as the contribution made with catch information.
Regarding coordinates ... when I was a boy, grew up in Montana, flatlanders would come and look on a map thinking a "short" hike would bring them to the mountain top, not looking that there were several ridges and draws between them and the mountain and 1000's of feet elevation change, learning that ocean navigation is similiar, might look like a short run on the map but when you figure in current, tides, dodging shipping channel and battling the wind of Puget Sound, not the simple trip we thought ...
 

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Also, keep in mind that the new "online" license will allow you to fish for Halibut anywhere but Swiftsure Bank area (where all the US residents go).

You have to go to Canada to buy the license (to be legal anyway).

LR_
 

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This should be diamond shaped. Lip Rip'r is correct, you have to physically go to Canada for the license for Swiftsure. This bank has a total of 7 different currents. That is why you cannot find current info on it. It can go from calm to 12-15' rollers and back to anything at anytime out there. This is a dogfish haven. If you get into them lose the scent and bait. A pearl white B2 9" squid is the hot lure for the halibut there, not glow. We out fish bait with these out there. You can use big crippled herring types of jigs and catch a variety of fish with these.
 

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Paddler,
Yea, I can not find the BC Tidal Fishery links either. All of my book marks are not functioning. I did notice that they are "refreshing" the site and some of the links may be broken or their site is down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I think the site must be down. Nothing works. BTW, the Swiftsure Bank looks like a big shelf. It continues northwesterly and a portion of it is name the Soquel Bank. I don't know if any of the areas up there are subject to closure. Then beyond it is the Barkley Sound. It would be fun to explore the area.

Fishinut, you're right, the area I mapped out with the coordinates you gave is daimond-shaped. Hope I did it right. It looks like there's a big area, especially north, that is open to fishing. Don't know if the area right on the edge is better than the large flat, but I wouldn't be surprised because of upwelling.
 

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Hey another thing to remember about Canadian Halibut fishing:

If you are used to having a pistol in your boat to shoot halibut it is a HUGE NO-NO in Canadian waters. I don't take a gun period into canadian waters. If they hear shots they WILL start boarding searching boats. Been there done that, guy next to us had a .38 he shot a halibut with it and I swear the Canadians were there with in two minutes asking about gun shots and which boat.

As to Washington State Halibut fishing I don't mess aorund with Neah Bay too much. Areas 5 and 6 in the straits kick out a lot of Halibut and they are a lot bigger than what you catch out of Neah Bay. I have put several over a 100# each year for the last three years in my boat out of the straits. You will not catch as many Halibut but they will be better quality fish. I would say with two guys in the boat we average better than one fish per trip (closer to 1.5) for the last couple years now that I have figured out what I am doing. We are throwing back anything less than 40# (chickens and flyswatters) also to let "grow up". My favorites to eat are in the 50-65# range. I have yet to get a but over 40# out of Neah Bay with what I would guess to be a average of 20-30#. Yes some bigger fish do come in and pretty regularly but not like on the inside.
 

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Jason,

Have you ever fished any of the Canadian waters "inside"? It is too hard to coordinate my time off with the pathetically short Washington season.

LR_
 
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