MARINE ZONE 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.
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
Herring in Yaquina Bay
Anglers are catching large herring in Yaquina Bay. There are no other reports of significant herring catches from other Oregon bays or estuaries, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. While most anglers catch herring for bait, they are excellent eating and good for you with higher omega 3 oil content than salmon. Try them smoked. Delicious! This is also a really fun fishery for kids.
Fishing for rockfish has been good at times. Windy conditions make for a fast drift that can make lingcod hard to come by.
Fishing for groundfish is closed offshore of the 30-fathom line defined by latitude and longitude.
Cabezon retention is prohibited by all anglers until July 1. Retention of cabezon 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.
The weather has kept many anglers off the ocean recently, but the Astoria area opened for chinook salmon this last week to fair catches.
Fishing for chinook salmon from Leadbetter Point, WA, to Cape Falcon is open June 8 through the earlier of June 21 or quota. All retained chinook must have a healed adipose fin clip.
Fishing for chinook salmon from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain is open from March 15 through Oct. 31.
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 Ore/Cal border is open through Sept. 8.
Retained chinook salmon statewide must be 24 inches or larger.
Columbia River Subarea
Through June 2, anglers have landed 2,912 pounds. This leaves 6,604 pounds (69 percent) of the spring quota remaining. Average weight this season is 17 pounds. The spring all-depth season is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until the quota is reached or the start of the summer season on Aug. 2.
Central Oregon Coast Subarea
Through June 1, landings are 75,371 pounds, with 24,430 pounds coming in May 30-June 1. This leaves 45,576 pounds (38 percent) of the spring all-depth quota remaining. The catch rate during May 30-June 1 was 0.8 halibut per angler for private boats and over 0.9 halibut per angler for charter boats; average weight was 17 pounds, the highest so far this season. The season average is 16 pounds.
An announcement will be made by noon on Friday, June 14, as to whether or not enough quota remains for any additional spring all-depth open dates; the earliest open day or days would be during June 20-22. The summer all-depth fishery is scheduled to open on Aug. 2 under a separate quota.
Nearshore Season—Through June 2 nearshore landings are 1,139 pounds, leaving 95% of the nearshore quota remaining. Average weight this season is 19 pounds. The nearshore halibut fishery will next be open June 13-15.
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
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.
The current minus tide series continues through June 15. The entire Oregon coast is open to razor clam harvest.
During the previous tide series in late May, clamming success was again the best at the Seaside beach areas; Sunset Beach was also quite productive. Clammers averaged more than 13 clams per person in these areas while other beach areas averaged almost 12 clams per person. Many large clams (>5 inches) were taken during the beginning of the previous tide series in the Seaside area. These larger clams are from large sets that occurred in 2009 and 2011. Natural mortality from storms and erosion, as well as less than expected harvest, allowed these clams to continue to survive in greater numbers than normal.
Water temperatures have risen to above the spawning temperature threshold, and there is still a fair amount of food in the surf. This has made the clams show quite readily but has also initiated spawning in some of the larger clams. Once spawning becomes widespread, larger clams will not show as readily as they have during past low tides.
There was a significant set of clams in 2012, and those clams are yet less than 3½ inches, considered small by many. Because clammers must keep the first 15 razor clams they dig regardless of size or condition, clammers should choose to dig the largest shows in order to limit the chances of digging a small clam.
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 June 10:
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.
Bay crabbing in May was slow, with very few legal-sized male Dungeness crab caught. However, bay crabbing success should continue to improve over the next few months. May and June are transitional months when male crabs molt, increasing the availability of legal-sized crab. 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.
Seabird nesting in full swing
From mainland areas that overlook coastal rocks and islands, you can see bald eagles attack nesting common murres. Around 600,000 common murres return to each spring to Oregon’s wind-blown islands to raise their single chick.
Bald Eagles regularly fly out to these islands to kill a murre to feed their own chicks creating panic in the common murre colony. As the murres flee to avoid the eagles, ravens, crows and gulls often swoop in to make a meal of murre eggs and chicks.
Great places to view this wildlife spectacle are: Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area – the deck behind the lighthouse; Heceta Head State Park – the viewing area in front of the lighthouse; Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint – the north deck by the parking lot, and Ecola State Park – the westernmost viewing platform at Ecola Point overlook.
You can see nests with peregrine falcon chicks at both the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and at Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint.
April, May, June, July best time to see Puffins. Best Place is Haystack Rock because it’s so close to shore.
Tufted puffins are back on the Oregon Coast to nest for the summer and most of them are found on Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge. This sanctuary about two miles south of Cape Meares and one-half mile offshore west of Oceanside in Tillamook County. The three large rocks and six smaller ones make up the refuge, which is home to 12 species of seabirds breed here totaling 226,093 birds. This includes 30 percent of the Common murres breeding in Oregon and 21 percent of all common murres breeding in the eastern Pacific south of Alaska. This site also harbors 60 percent of the tufted puffin breeding population in Oregon. More than 800 brown pelicans have been seen here roosting and up to 13 bald eagles have been observed preying on seabirds.
Three Arch Rocks NWR can best be viewed from the mainland at Cape Meares and at Oceanside. To prevent disturbance to extremely sensitive seabirds, Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge is closed to public entry year-round and waters within 500 feet of the refuge are closed to all watercraft from May 1 through September 15.
There will be minus tides in the afternoon and evenings of June 5-13 and again June 20-29. A minus tide is an excellent time to visit tide pools and watch the life that was just a few hours ago under as much as 10 feet of water.
Look for green anemones, hermit crabs, sea urchins, small fish, jellyfish, sea stars, pinkish corraline algae, lime green anemone, dark green sea lettuce, barnacles and other animals of the intertidal region.