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No Floaters - Release at Depth!
Just for the Halibut: Fish Soft Bottom Areas for Lower Yelloweye Rockfish Bycatch

Oregon's recreational fisheries for Pacific halibut and bottomfish are constrained by bycatch of yelloweye rockfish, an overfished species.  Many of the regulations on these fisheries exist to keep bycatch of yelloweye rockfish within sustainable limits, in order to help the stock recover (for example, depth restrictions in the bottomfish fishery, and no lingcod or rockfish during all-depth halibut days).  ODFW encourages anglers to reduce impacts by using descending devices to release yelloweye rockfish, and better yet, to avoid areas where they might be caught.

Bycatch of yelloweye rockfish is high during the all-depth halibut fisheries because many of the popular halibut fishing spots occur on or near the deep water rocky reefs where yelloweye rockfish reside.  This includes the Bandon High Spot, Heceta Bank, Stonewall Bank (a.k.a. “Rockpile”), Chicken Ranch, Nelson Island, Daisy Bank, and others.  Since bycatch rates of yelloweye rockfish in these rocky areas are approximately 10-20 times greater than in soft bottom halibut spots (such as Garibaldi’s Halibut Hill, Banana Bank, off the Yaquina Head Lighthouse), yelloweye rockfish bycatch in the recreational halibut fishery could be reduced if anglers shifted their efforts more toward soft bottom fishing grounds.

The two maps below show several soft bottom halibut grounds located off the central Oregon coast (Newport and Coos Bay areas).  Sport halibut anglers can target these spots to reduce bycatch of yelloweye rockfish while maintaining a good chance of success for halibut.  Areas with good halibut catch rates and low yelloweye rockfish bycatch other than those shown on the map may exist, and anglers are encouraged to share this information within the recreational halibut fishing community.

Recommended Halibut Fishing Grounds
with Low Yelloweye Rockfish Bycatch

Charleston Halibut Map
Newport
Click map to enlarge
Huge Halibut
Matt Blume with his
“monster” 106-pound halibut
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife -
Download Halibut XY Coordinates (xlsx)
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