There is an error in the 2014 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations book in the waypoint for the Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area (YRCA). On page 105, the latitude for waypoints 3, 4 and 5 are incorrect. The map for the YRCA on page 105, however, is correct. The waypoints for the Stonewall bank YRCA are the same as in previous years. The waypoints for the YRCA on the ODFW web site are correct.
Here are the correct coordinates (the bold and underlined minutes are corrected from the 2014 regulations book):
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Fishing Boats, Newport
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-
Saltwater News Bulletins
You can subscribe to receive e-mails and text message alerts for marine topics you are interested in. Sign up 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.
Prohibitions at Oregon’s marine reserves at Cascade Head, Cape Perpetua, 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:
This week we resume our spring and summer reports from the sport fishing samplers at several coastal ports. Right now ODFW has samplers at Garibaldi, Depoe Bay, Newport, Charleston and Brookings.
All five ports report limits or near limits of rockfish for fishers on charter boats. Rockfish catches from private vessels were fewer – between three and five fish – but often private fishers only catch what they can eat in the next day or two.
Lingcod catches were about one fish for every two anglers. The exception was Brookings, where anglers caught an average of one ling or better.
The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve (defined by coordinates) is closed to bottom fishing from April 1 to Sept. 30.
The cabezon season is closed until July 1.
The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish. 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 take of rockfish, lingcod, flatfish and other species in the groundfish group.
Visibility for spearfishing along rocky jetties and rocky outcrops in bays is still good this time of year, except in bays following heavy rains. On good ocean days a boat trip to rocky ocean reefs will provide excellent hunting.
The early recreational ocean salmon from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain opened March 15 and runs through April 30 for all salmon except coho. All other regulations including length limits, bag limits, gear restrictions and area restrictions from the 2013 ocean salmon regulations are in effect.
The early 2014 ocean salmon seasons (prior to May 1) were set under the 2013 season setting process. Other salmon seasons for the year are still under development.
Fishing for Pacific halibut in Oregon is closed.
After a public meeting and on-line survey, ODFW staff recommends these dates for sport Pacific halibut all-depth seasons between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain:
- Spring all-depth Fixed Dates: May 8-10; May 22-24, June 5-7, and June 19-21
- Spring all-depth Back-up Dates, if quota remaining: July 3-5, July 17-19 and July 31
- Summer all-depth: opens Aug 1-2, every other Friday and Saturday until quota is attained
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission could make changes before granting final approval at its April 25 meeting. A complete map of the recommended regulations for 2014 is available on the sport halibut webpage.
The entire Oregon coast is open for razor clamming.
The next minus tide series began March 25 mid-afternoon. You will need a lantern as the low tides get later in the evening, but midwinter clamming can be productive. 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.
-Photo by Bob Swingle, ODFW-
Recreational shellfish safety status as of April 8:
- On April 3, mussel harvesting was reopend from Cape Arago in Coos County south to the California border. It had been closed because of biotoxin concerns.
- With this reopening, all recreational shellfish harvesting is open from the Columbia River to the California border.
- Due to potential biotoxins, consuming whole scallops is not recommended. However, a scallop’s adductor muscle does not accumulate biotoxins and may be safe for consumption. Scallops are not being sampled for biotoxins at this time.
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. Press 1 for biotoxin closures and 2 for general safety recommendations.
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 is very slow this time of year. The best months for bay crabbing in Oregon are August through November, although success usually declines after significant rainfall as estuary salinity drops. Look for bay crabbing to pick up again in June.
The ODFW crabbing report shows average number of legal-sized Dungeness crab per person in various bays by month over the past year through September.
Crabbing in the ocean opened Dec. 1.
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. See an illustration showing the correct measurement.
- Photo by Kathy Munsel-
The whales go by
The network of whale watchers along the coast reported more than 700 whale sightings for the first three days of “Whale Watch Week” going on right now. Of course, many of the sightings are multiple views of the same whale. A ranger at the Depoe Bay Whale watch Center reports some spectacular behavior, including breaches by some whales and many mothers with calves. The whales move more slowly and closer to the beach during the spring migration because there are calves in the pod. About 18,000 gray whales will pass by the Oregon coast.
A gray whale's blow is up to 15 feet high, and each blow is visible for about five seconds. When warm, moist air exhaled from the animals' lungs meets the cool air at the ocean surface, it creates the bushy column called a blow, or spout. Anticipate that the whale will dive for three to six minutes, then surface for three to five blows in row, 30 to 50 seconds apart, before diving deep for three to six minutes again.
To watch the migration, it is best to pick a calm day and find a view point that is high enough to spot the spouts. Learning good binocular technique will help spot the whales. Gaze out onto the ocean, focusing on medium distances until you see a puff of white. Then raise your binoculars while continuing to look at the place you saw the puff. This technique takes some practice, but generally works better than swinging the binoculars around looking for something. Just keep your eyes focused on the whale and raise the binoculars to your eyes, looking through them, not into them.
Gray whales are the most coastal of the baleen whales and are often found within a few miles of shore as they migrate from Alaska to Baja. Gray whales have baleen instead of teeth. To feed, they fill their vast mouths with mud from the sea bottom and strain it through their baleen to capture amphipods and other small animals. This is the only type of whale to feed in this manner.
Seeing killer whales off the Oregon coast is a rare treat, but whale watchers can usually count on a pod of orca’s patrolling the coast in mid April. Orcas shadow gray whales as they return from breeding in Mexico. They mostly target the gray whale calves. Orcas are most often seen in the ocean off Depoe Bay and Newport, but can be spotted coast wide. The first thing you are likely to see when sighting killer whales is their dorsal fin. Male orcas have a dorsal fin that can be six feet in height, juveniles and females have shorter fins. These large fins can be seen from quite a distance.
Rufous and Anna's hummingbirds are collecting nesting material this month. Hang out by some cattails and watch the fun. Check the out attached photo by Roy Lowe, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Congregations of herring in the bay attract hundreds of hungry waterfowl including of Surf Scoter, Scaup, Bufflehead and more.
|Tide-Pooling at Yaquina Bay
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-
Starting the end of March and continuing through April, are the first morning minus tides of the year. More hours of daylight make this prime time for visiting tide pools and watching the life that was just a few hours ago under as much as 10 feet of water.
The three series of morning minus tides are: March 30 to April 3, April 15 through 22 and April 27 through the end of the month.
Look for green anemones, hermit crabs, sea urchins, small fish, jelly fish, sea stars, pinkish corraline algae, lime green anemone, dark green sea lettuce, barnacles and other animals of the intertidal region.
There are dozens of good places on the Oregon coast to go tide pooling. Some of the best are in state parks and recreation areas, including Haystack Rocks, Hug Point, Seal Rock, Yachats State Recreation Area (or just about anywhere with 10 miles of Yachats), Strawberry Hill State Wayside, Neptune State Park, Sunset Bay State Park, Cape Arago State Park and Cape Blanco State Park. Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, four miles north of Newport, has outstanding tide pools and rangers on hand to provide tours and answer questions.
Don’t turn your back on the ocean because a large wave may get you wet or worse. Also, stay off beach logs! They can roll in the surf and crush you. High surf can make tide pooling on the ocean beaches uncomfortable and dangerous, so try looking for wildlife in the mud flats of coastal bays and rivers.
For more information.
Tufted Puffins arrive in early April at an offshore rock near you
Tufted Puffins sport a colorful bill and in the breeding season with two long, blond plumes at the end of a facial mask. These chunky black birds arrive every spring to breed on the coastal islands of Oregon that make up Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. From early April to late August they can be seen up and down the coast. Tufted puffins only come ashore to breed and raise their young. For the remainder of the year they live, feed, and sleep on the open ocean. Puffins arrive, along with thousands of other seabirds, to the coastal rocks of the refuge during the first week in April.
Summer birds return to the coast
The first brown pelicans have been spotted on the central Oregon coast. Turkey vultures are gliding above the beaches and fields. The first swallows are also back. Spring must be here.