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Weekly Recreation Report: Marine Zone


September 16, 2014

 Marine Zone Fishing

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.

Saltwater News Bulletins

You can subscribe to receive e-mails and text message alerts for marine topics you are interested in. 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.

High Definition Video Lander
-ODFW Video-

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:


As always, access to the albacore is highly dependent on weather and ocean conditions. Overall the fishing was fair to good last week, with the best catch rates out of Charleston and Winchester Bay with 4.5 to 5 fish per angler. Albacore were reported to be as close as 16 miles from shore at some ports.

Albacore are typically in areas where sea surface temperatures (SST) are warmer than 58 degrees and in areas where chlorophyll concentrations are close to 0.25 milligrams per cubic meter. Both of these conditions can change very quickly due to weather and upwelling.

Pacific Halibut

The summer all-depth Pacific halibut season in the Columbia River Subarea (from Leadbetter Point to Cape Falcon) is open Thursday-Sunday until the quota is reached or Sept. 30. Seventy-four percent of the summer quota remains.

The Columbia River Subarea is open inside the 40-fathom line on days when the all-depth halibut fishery is closed (Monday through Wednesday). Through Sept. 15, 88 percent of the nearshore quota remains.

The Central Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain) nearshore Pacific halibut season (inside the 40-fathom line) is open seven days a week until the quota is taken or Oct. 31. Through Sep. 15, 39 percent of the quota remains for this fishery.

The summer all-depth Pacific halibut season between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain is closed.

From Humbug Mountain to the Oregon-California border, Pacific halibut fishing is open seven days per week until the quota is reached or Oct. 31.

A complete map of the sport halibut regulations for 2014 is available on the sport halibut web page.


-Photo by Brandon Ford-

Bottom Fishing

Fishing for bottomfish has been spotty, perhaps due to cold ocean water temperatures. Anglers have had to work to fill their bag limits. A few more lingcod have been showing up in catches.

The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve (defined by coordinates) is closed to bottom fishing through Sept. 30. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish, including one cabezon during the cabezon season from July 1 until the quota is reached. 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. The waypoints are the same as in previous years but were misprinted on page 105 of the 2014 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations book. The correct coordinates are:

ID       Latitude         Longitude
1        44o 37.46'      124o 24.92'
2        44o 37.46'      124o 23.63'
3        44o 28.71'     124o 21.80'
4        44o 28.71'     124o 24.10'
5        44o 31.42'     124o 25.47'

Ocean Salmon

Fishing off the Columbia River is open for all coho (no fin clip restriction) and up to 2 Chinook in the daily bag limit. Salmon fishing continues to be great off the north coast, with many Astoria-based anglers getting their limits.

South of Cape Falcon, the non-selective season is continuing for ports from Garibaldi to Port Orford. Fishing for coho remained good from Garibaldi to Newport. Chinook catches were better at Winchester Bay and Charleston, but still generally only fair at best overall.


Razor clams

The annual razor clam conservation closure for Clatsop beaches started on July 15. Since 1967 ODFW has closed the 18 miles of beach north of Tillamook Head so that young clams can establish themselves there during the summer. ODFW’s annual razor clam stock assessment survey is underway. Preliminary information indicates that large numbers of small razor clams have entered the population, and adult razor clams should be abundant in 2015. Clatsop beaches will reopen to recreational razor clamming Oct. 1.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the closure of recreational and commercial harvesting of razor clams from the California border to Heceta Head, north of Florence on the central Oregon Coast. The closure is due to elevated levels of amnesic shellfish toxin (ASP) or domoic acid toxins and includes razor clams on all beaches, rocks, jetties, and at the entrance to bays in this section of the Oregon Coast. Opportunities to collect razor clam are still available along Oregon beaches in the region between Heceta Head and Tillamook Head.

Razor clammers should pay close attention to the 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 clamming can be very difficult because the clams tend to show much less in those conditions.

Bay Clams

Low tides are now in the evenings. Low tides as high as +1.0 to +2.0 feet can still allow clamming opportunities, especially for purple varnish clams that can sometimes be found when the tide is as high as +4.0 feet. Sport clammers should be able to collect daily limits of cockles, gaper clams and butter clams from the popular sites in Tillamook Bay, Netarts Bay, Siletz Bay, Yaquina Bay, Alsea Bay, Coos Bay and several other locations along the coast.

Recreational shellfish safety status, as of Aug. 29:

  • Razor clams are closed from the Oregon/California border north to Heceta Head (north of Florence) due to elevated levels of amnesic shellfish toxin (ASP) or domoic acid.
  • 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. For more information, call ODA’s Food Safety Program at (503) 986-4720 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page.

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.

Crabbing off the Oregon Coast near Newport
- Video by Bob Swingle, ODFW -


Bay crabbing has slowed in some estuaries, compared to recent weeks. The best months for bay crabbing in Oregon are August through November. Check out the monthly crabbing report for the most recent data.

Crabbing has been moderate to good in the ocean from virtually every port in Oregon, although some anecdotal reports suggest crabbers had to work harder for their catches last week. The recreational ocean crabbing season is open through Oct. 15.

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 (jpg).

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 Marine Zone Viewing

Gray whale
Gray whale
- Photo by Scott Groth, ODFW-

Marine Mammals

Boaters and beach-goers have enjoyed lots of marine mammal sightings on the central and south coast recently, including Steller sea lion mother-pup pairs and harbor seals around Orford Reef, widespread gray whale feeding activity, and one report of blue whales just south of Waldport.

Sea Turtles

A beached sea turtle was found in Florence last month, and returned to the ocean by well-intentioned passers-by. Although several species of sea turtles occur in the ocean off the Pacific Northwest coast, they typically are not found on our beaches unless they are seriously sick or injured. Strandings are often seen in late fall and early winter during a time when ocean conditions are transitioning, possibly trapping turtles in colder waters, where they may become hypothermic.

Stranded sea turtles (or cetaceans) should be reported to the Oregon State Police, Wildlife Division at 1-800-452-7888.

A trained response team will evaluate stranded turtles and transport them to an authorized rehabilitation facility such as the Oregon Coast Aquarium, for appropriate treatment and hopefully release in warmer waters after recovery.

More information on this and other wildlife topics is available from the US Fish & Wildlife Service.


Great places to view seabirds and perhaps a bald eagle 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.

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