For those who want to experience a do-it-yourself sea fishing adventure and enjoy fresh fish tacos in a real form of fishing and cooking, Westport Pier is a destination for keen anglers. No boat no problem, just park your vehicle at Westhaven State Park, which requires a Discovery Pass, and prepare your gear for the short scenic hike to Chehalis Point. There is a beautiful stretch of beach to enjoy with versatile activities to discover such as surfing, beach fishing and bird watching.
When to go pier fishing in Westport
Spring and summer are the ideal times to catch groundfish. With the right bait, the right gear, patience and a bit of luck, expect to catch rockfish – the most common being black bass – lingcod and sea bass. Westport Pier s stretches nearly a mile out into the Pacific Ocean and the north side of the harbor offers calmer waters for launching. There is a major wave break on the south side that attracts surfers from across the state. Finding the right spot along the 17,000 foot stretch of rock is a combination of intuition, physical adaptability and keen eyesight to find a rock flat enough to get as close to the water’s edge as possible while staying safe and staying dry from the occasional big swell. It’s not a crowded fishing destination, so there are plenty of opportunities to get around if the bite is slow.
Choosing your gear for fishing on Westport Pier
Scott Turner with Silhouette Outdoors of Boise, Idaho has had great success fishing from the pier in Westport and plans to return next spring to film the experience for his YouTube channel. “I love the challenge, I enjoy the dynamic nature of sea fishing as well as the variety of fish that can be caught without paying for charter service,” says Turner, who holds several state fishing records. in Idaho. “My go-to setup is a ¼ ounce lead head with a ‘Gulp’ sandworm larva using 8 pound fluorocarbon fishing line on a light action rod. For lingcod, I like a medium heavy salmon fishing setup with a 30 pound test monofilament using a 1 ounce lead head and a big curly white tail, usually 4-6 inches long. Be sure to bring a net for larger fish. Drop the bait to the bottom and slowly retrieve.
Scott offered the following tips for fishing at Westport Pier:
- Pay attention to the wind as anything above 15 mph makes casting difficult and it becomes harder to detect strikes
- Take a 5 gallon bucket for your fish and add salt water to keep them fresh.
- Black rockfish and yellow perch are prime meats for fish tacos. Lingcod breaded in beer and fried in hot oil is an excellent preparation for your catch.
Pier Fishing Safety Considerations
Coastal weather changes quickly, so plan ahead by checking the weather forecast and always bring layers like rain gear and a hat. Water reflection can cause severe sunburn on the face and lips, so apply sunscreen. Plan to take anything you might need with you for the day, as getting back to the car would be a major journey. Hiking shoes and comfortable clothes are best for jumping on the pier, so rubber boots or waders are not recommended. Choose a day without rain as the rocks can be very slippery when wet. Wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) is suggested if casting near water as there is always a risk of sneaker waves, especially for youngsters who might join in the fun.
Rules and Resources
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife lists Westport Pier as Marine Zone 2, so be sure to check Marine Zone Fishing Regulations 2022/23 before you go and take note of the daily limits. As a general rule, the groundfish opening begins in mid-March and ends in mid-October. Be sure to purchase the appropriate saltwater or combo license in advance, which can be purchased at local tackle stores or online.