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Weekly Recreation Report: Marine Zone


July 29, 2014

 Marine Zone Fishing


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):

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

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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. 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.

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:


Tuna are still out there; last week Charleston saw higher levels of effort and catch than other ports with anglers bringing in 5-6 fish per fisherman, followed by Astoria and then Newport. A small number of Winchester Bay tuna anglers had good success with more than 5 fish each. Strong northwest winds are limiting fishing opportunity and may be moving fish offshore. Albacore are typically in areas where sea surface temperatures are warmer than 58 degrees and in areas where chlorophyll concentrations are close to 0.25 milligrams per cubic meter. Weather conditions can change the SST temperature breaks and upwelling will affect the chlorophyll concentration very quickly. The albacore will move when those conditions change. Most years tuna move to within 20 miles of the coast, but around August they tend to become harder to catch and some anglers switch from trolling to jigging iron for tuna.

Huge Halibut
A nice halibut
-Photo by Matt Frank -

Pacific Halibut

The Nearshore Pacific halibut season (inside the 40-fathom line) opened July 1 seven days a week until the quota is taken or Oct. 31. There were almost no halibut trips last week. As of July 24, 65 percent of the quota remains for that fishery.

The Summer Pacific halibut all-depth seasons between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain opens Friday, Aug 1 and Saturday, Aug 2. The all-depth halibut fishery continues every other Friday and Saturday until quota is attained.  In recent years, the summer all-depth fishery has gone quickly. The forecast for this weekend’s opener may not be ideal, however, which could put a damper on effort and possibly allow a second open weekend. ODFW staff will evaluate halibut catch numbers on Aug. 7 and a decision on a second opener will be made shortly thereafter. 

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

The Columbia River Subarea (from Leadbetter Point to Cape Falcon) is open inside the 40-fathom line on days when the all-depth halibut fishery is closed (Monday through Wednesday).

As of July 24, 3 percent of the all-depth quota and 88 percent of the nearshore quota remains for the Columbia River Subarea.

As of July 24, 41 percent of the quota remains for the Southern Oregon Subarea (Humbug Mountain to the Oregon-California border).

Bottom Fishing

Fishing for bottomfish remains good coast wide when weather permits with most anglers returning with four or five rockfish. Lingcod catches are about one fish for every two to three anglers.

The cabezon season opened July 1. The limit is one fish per day as part of the seven marine fish bag.

The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve (defined by coordinates) is closed to bottom fishing from April 1 to Sept. 30.
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.

Ocean Fishing
Ocean Fishing
-Photo by Jessica Sall-

Ocean Salmon

Ocean salmon fishing continued fairly steadily in most Oregon ports. Coho are the predominant fish north of Brookings. In Astoria, the catch per angler was down slightly from 1.7 to 1.5 fish last week, with fewer than 10 percent of those being Chinook. Depoe Bay, Newport, and Pacific City anglers returned with more than one coho per angler. The salmon catch rate out of Brookings was only 0.16 salmon each, with 78 percent of the catch being Chinook.

Tremendous returns of Chinook are forecast for the Columbia River this summer and should provide great fishing both in the ocean and the Columbia River in August.

Thanks to improved hatchery and naturally-produced coho populations, the 2014 ocean coho seasons should provide the most time on the water for coho fishing since the 2010 season. Selective fishing for fin-clipped hatchery coho beginning in late June has been very good along the Oregon Coast, especially from Bandon north to the Columbia River. The Cape Falcon to OR/CA border selective coho season will be closed starting Aug. 11.  The Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain non-selective coho season will open on Aug. 30 to coincide with Labor Day weekend.

Summary of the Ocean Seasons:

North of Cape Falcon to Leadbetter Point, Washington

  • Recreational season for all salmon from June 14-Sept. 30 with a two fish limit, of which only one can be a Chinook and all coho must be fin-clipped. Quota of 92,400 coho with 13,100 Chinook guideline.

South of Cape Falcon

  • Sport Chinook from Cape Falcon south to Humbug Mountain open March 15 through Oct. 31, and from Humbug Mountain to the Oregon-California border open May 10 through Sept. 7.
  • Sport fin-clipped coho open June 21-Aug. 10 (quota of 80,000 coho) from Cape Falcon south to Oregon-California border
  • Sport non-selective coho from Aug. 30 through Sept. 30 with a quota of 20,000. Open from Cape Falcon south to Humbug Mountain.


Razor Clam
Razor Clams
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Razor clams

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

There are still opportunities to razor clam along the Oregon coast. Cannon Beaches, Cape Meares, Agate Beach, North Jetty, South Beach, Bob’s Creek, Bastendorff Beach, North Spit, Bailey Beach and Myers Creek are some of the most consistent. The beaches with the best opportunity are around Newport.

Harvesters 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 clam harvesting can be very 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 July 29:

  • As of July 18 the entire Oregon coast is open to all recreational mussel harvesting. Prior to that date all mussel harvesting was closed due to elevated levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning. Now, all recreational shellfish harvesting is open, except razor clams on the Clatsop beaches, which have a conservation closure.
  • 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 picking up in most Oregon bays and estuaries. Tillamook and Alsea bays are particularly good. Crabbing is also good in the ocean from Bandon to Winchester Bay. Shellfish biologists report that crabbing is much better this year than last. The best months for bay crabbing in Oregon are August through November, although success usually declines after significant rainfall as salinity in the estuary drops.

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 (jpg).

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 Marine Zone Viewing

Seabird nesting in full swing

Common Murre
Common Murre
-Royalty Free Image-

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.

OSU researchers conducting an ongoing study at Yaquina Head in Newport are tracking over 200 breeding pairs of common murres in 2014. Disturbances by bald eagles, turkey vultures, and gulls have caused nest failure in many cases, but over 27 chicks have made it to fledging age (15 days from the first time the chick was sighted), with several more due to fledge anytime now. Visit the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area with binoculars for great bird viewing. There will be a seminar titled, “Top-down influences of Bald Eagles on Common Murre populations in Oregon” at the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Guin Library on Thursday, August 14 at 3:30 pm.More information at

The OSU team also passed on reports from Mexico and California that the brown pelicans have abandoned breeding attempts, started moving northward earlier than usual, and may be arriving on the Oregon coast sooner than expected.  Flocks of brown pelicans have been observed in the Yaquina Head area.  Additionally, they are seeing a lot of Heermann’s Gulls along the coast and offshore, which is early in the season for this species.

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