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Marine Zone weekly fishing update, Aug. 7

MARINE FISHING

Saltwater News Bulletins

You can subscribe to receive e-mails and text message alerts for marine topics you are interested in. To sign up go to http://dfw.state.or.us/MRP/bulletins/index.asp and enter your phone for text alerts and e-mail information to subscribe to email updates. It’s easy to unsubscribe at any time. Your phone and e-mail information will remain confidential. Six different lists of interest to ocean enthusiasts are available: Bottomfish (recreational), Halibut (recreational), Ocean Salmon (recreational), Ocean Salmon (commercial troll), Commercial Nearshore Groundfish, and Marine Reserves.

Send us your fishing report

We’d love to hear about your recent fishing experience. Send us your own fishing report through ODFW Fishing Reports -- the information will be forwarded to the local biologist who may use it to update various ODFW resources such as the Weekly Recreation Report.

Marine Reserves

Prohibitions at Oregon’s marine reserves at Redfish Rocks and Otter Rock are in effect. Fishing, crabbing, clamming, hunting and gathering seaweed are all prohibited. Beach walking, surfing, bird watching, diving and other non-extractive uses continue to be allowed. See complete details and a map of the boundaries of the reserves:

Otter Rock Marine Reserve

Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve and Marine Protected Area

TUNA

Ports from Astoria to Charleston reported catches of two or three tuna per angler last week. The tuna are still about 30 miles out seem to be feeding deep. Not much action on the surface of the ocean.

BOTTOM FISHING

The hot ports last week were Brookings, Charleston, Garibaldi and Pacific City with most bottom fishers getting between five and six rockfish and at least one lingcod. Most other ports reported catches of between three and four rockfish.

Fishing for groundfish is closed offshore of the 30-fathom line defined by latitude and longitude.

Cabezon retention is allowed July 1 through Sept. 30. Under the federal cabezon quota, there is only enough cabezon to be open for two to three months during the busy summer period. When ODFW asked for public input in the fall, many people said they preferred a later season (July-September) over an earlier season. The daily bag and size limits remain the same (one-fish sublimit, 16-inch minimum length).

The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish (of which no more than one may be a cabezon during the cabezon season). There are separate daily limits for lingcod (two) and flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25).

Remember: yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish may not be retained.

The Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area, approximately 15 miles west of Newport, is closed to the harvest of rockfish, lingcod, flatfish and other species in the groundfish group.

OCEAN SALMON

Astoria was the hot spot for salmon fishing last week with most anglers returning with a coho or a Chinook. Fishing for Chinook in Brookings was markedly slower last week than previous weeks with only six in 10 anglers catching a fish, the same as Winchester Bay. About half the fishers out of Charleston landed a Chinook. About half the anglers going after salmon came back with coho in Newport and Depoe Bay, but fewer than one in 10 caught a Chinook. No salmon catches were reported in other posts.

Anglers fishing in ocean waters adjacent to Tillamook Bay between Twin Rocks and Pyramid Rock and within the 15-fathom depth contour are reminded that only adipose fin clipped Chinook salmon may be retained.

Fishing for Chinook salmon from Humbug Mountain to the Oregon/California border is open through Sept. 8.

Retained Chinook salmon statewide must be 24 inches or larger.

PACIFIC HALIBUT

Columbia River Subarea

Effort was low out of Astoria, but about half the anglers fishing for halibut got one. So far anglers landed 4,725 pounds of halibut. This leaves 4,791 pounds (50 percent) of the spring quota remaining. Any quota remaining from the spring fishery will be rolled into the summer fishery. The spring and summer fisheries are both open every Friday-Sunday. Average weight so far this season is 15 pounds.

Central Oregon Coast Subarea The first three-day summer all-depth season was last weekend with nearly every angler catching a halibut. Fishery managers will determine later this week if there is enough quota to continue the fishery. It is scheduled to be open every other Friday and Saturday until the quota is attained.

Nearshore Season met its quota and is closed.

South of Humbug Mountain

Open through Oct. 31, seven days per week.

For the most up-to-date Pacific halibut information visit: http://dfw.state.or.us/mrp/finfish/halibut/index.asp

SHELLFISH

New for 2012

Limits double on purple varnish calms

Clam diggers may harvest twice as many purple varnish clams in 2013 than they did in previous years. In response to a public proposal, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission increased the daily catch limit for purple varnish clams from 36 per day to 72 per day. Purple Varnish Clams are a non-native species that has become established in several Oregon bays and estuaries over the past decade.

Scallops require report card

Also starting in 2013, divers who harvest rock scallops will be required to report their catch to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife using a free harvest card. Divers will provide important information about this resource to ODFW biologists that will enable them to better manage the resource. Since 1996, ODFW has required similar reporting by all recreational abalone harvesters who complete an annual harvest card. This program helps ODFW biologists understand and monitor the abalone fishery. This same card now includes space for rock scallop harvesters to report their catch. Anyone recreationally harvesting abalone or rock scallops will need to obtain the free abalone and scallop harvest card in addition to an Oregon Shellfish License. The harvest card is easy to get and simple to complete. Limits for abalone and rock scallops remain the same: one per day and five per year for abalone and 24 rock scallops per day.

Divers can get abalone/scallop permits by contacting ODFW Marine Resources Program in Newport 541-867-4741, Charleston 541-888-5515 or Astoria 503-325-2462. For more information visit the ODFW website.

Razor clams

Razor clamming will close Monday, July 15, on the Clatsop beaches for the annual conservation closure to protect newly-set young clams. Since 1967 the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has closed the 18 miles of beaches in Clatsop County to razor clam digging, while young clams establish themselves on the beach during the summer. By not disturbing the young razor clams it increases the chance of good recruitment. The Clatsop beaches will reopen to razor clamming on Sept. 31.

Digging for razor clams continues to be open on other state beaches south of Tillamook Head. For best results, clammers should pay close attention to surf forecasts and be on the beach one to two hours before low tide. If the forecast calls for combined seas over 8 or 10 feet, razor clam harvesting can be difficult because the clams tend to show much less in those conditions. When referencing tide tables, Clatsop beach razor clam harvesters should use the tide gauge at the Columbia River entrance.

Recreational shellfish safety status as of Aug. 6:

Shellfish harvesting is open along the entire Oregon coast.

The consumption of whole recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended, however. Coastal scallops are not affected by toxin closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture's shellfish safety hotline is toll free and provides the most current information regarding shellfish safety closures. Please call the hotline before harvesting: 1-800-448-2474.

Check out the recreational shellfish pages on the ODFW website. The pages contain everything you need to know for identifying and harvesting Oregon’s clams, including maps of individual estuaries that show where to crab and clam.

Crabs

Bay crabbing is picking up, with more legal-sized male Dungeness crab entering the fishery after successfully molting. Bay crabbing success should continue to improve over the next few months. Newly-molted crabs are lighter in weight and have softer shells.

Ocean crabbing has been good. Recreational crabbing in the ocean is open along the entire Oregon coast.

The ODFW crabbing report shows average number of legal-sized Dungeness crab per person in various bays by month over the past year: check it out.

Some sport crabbers have difficulty correctly measuring the minimum size for Dungeness crab, which is 5 3⁄4 inches measured in a straight line across the back immediately in front of, but not including, the points.

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