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ODFW WEEKLY RECREATION REPORT
Fishing, Hunting, Wildlife Viewing
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Marine Zone Map

Weekly Recreation Report: Marine Zone

 

February 2, 2016

 Marine Zone Fishing

Crabbing

Crab Tonight!
-Photo by Thomas Fisk-

Weekend opportunities:

  • Crabbing is open along the entire Oregon coast in the ocean and bays.

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.

Marine Reserves and Other Management Designations

Fishing, crabbing, clamming, hunting and gathering seaweed are prohibited at Oregon’s marine reserves. Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, restrictions go into effect at the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve and Marine Protected Area.

Beach walking, surfing, bird watching, diving and other non-extractive uses continue to be allowed at reserves. See complete details and marine reserve maps (listed north to south):

In addition to marine reserves, there are several other management areas to be aware of, such as the Stonewall Bank conservation area (west of Newport) and marine gardens, described in the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations (pages 79-83).

Bottom Fishing

Cabezon retention is prohibited January-June; this is an annual seasonal closure.

The few boats that were able to get out of Newport last week had limits of large rockfish and nearly one lingcod per angler. Effort in other places was limited due to rough seas. During safe weather windows, winter is a great time for bottom fishing: rockfish can be large and daily limits of lingcod are not unusual. Because of El Niño, anglers this winter might also run into uncommon or unusual species.

Deacon Rockfish
Deacon Rockfish (Sebastes diaconus)
-Photo by ODFW-

There’s a new rockfish on the block. Deacon rockfish is a newly identified species that was formerly referred to as the solid version of blue rockfish. What does that mean for you? Nothing in 2016. Every rule that refers to blue rockfish (like the daily bag limit of 3) now applies to blue rockfish and deacon rockfish combined.

If you’re lucky enough to catch a colorful assortment of fish, keep in mind that the following species of rockfish are prohibited: China, copper, quillback and yelloweye. Several handouts, including “What Can I Keep, and How Many?” and species identification tips, are available on the ODFW sport groundfish webpage.

Although anglers may legally retain one canary rockfish, there is an annual management quota that, if exceeded, could restrict angling opportunities for other species, including black rockfish and lingcod. Therefore, anglers are urged to (1) avoid canary rockfish and (2) retain 1 canary rockfish only if it is bleeding from injury.

What about barotrauma? Signs of barotrauma, such as bulging eyes and a gut protruding from the mouth, are reversible when fish are returned to depth with a descending device. ODFW encourages anglers to use a descending device when releasing rockfish with signs of barotrauma. An underwater video recorded by ODFW researchers shows the dramatic results of recompressing a fish; another video demonstrates various types of descending devices.

Shellfish

A couple of regulations were inadvertently left out of the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulation booklet. (1) The daily bag limit for shrimp (edible) is 20 lb. in the shell; may be taken by traps, pots or rings. (2) Each razor clam digger (as with all clams) must have his or her own container, must dig his or her own clams, and may not possess more than one limit of clams while in the digging area (except under a Disabled Clam Digger Permit).

Current shellfish harvest closures in the ocean and bays due to elevated levels of domoic acid as of Feb. 1:

  • Razor clams: Closed south of Tillamook Head
  • Bay clams: Open coastwide
  • Crabs: Open coastwide
  • Mussels: Open coastwide

The Oregon Dept. of Agriculture (ODA) will continue testing for shellfish toxins as ocean conditions allow. An area cannot reopen until two consecutive tests indicate toxin levels are safe. Commercial shellfish products sold in restaurants and retail markets are safe to eat.

Call the ODA shellfish safety hotline at 1-800-448-2474 before harvesting for the most current information about shellfish safety closures. Additional information is available from ODA’s Food Safety Program at (503) 986-4720 or the ODA shellfish closures website.

For everything you need to know about identifying and harvesting Oregon’s shellfish, including maps of individual estuaries that show where to crab and clam, see the recreational shellfish pages on the ODFW website.

Clams

Ocean crabbing out of Newport was slow last week; crabbing in the bay for Dungeness crab and red rock crab was up and down.

For bay clammers who don’t mind the dark, there will be minus tides during the evenings of Feb. 6-11. Take a headlamp or flashlight, warm clothing, and a spirit of adventure. Otherwise, during the day, several bay clam species can be found even when low tides aren’t so low: softshell and purple varnish clams occur primarily above +1.0, and cockles, butters and gapers can be found at tides as high as +1.0.

red rock vs pacific rock

Red and Pacific rock crabs
-Photo by ODFW-

Crabs

Ocean crabbing out of Newport was slow last week; crabbing in the bay for Dungeness crab and red rock crab was up and down.

Bay crabbing is best when there is not a lot of rainwater runoff to dilute salinity.

Red rock crab are caught using the same gear as Dungeness crab but have a larger daily limit (24), and, unlike Dungeness crab, any size or sex of red rock crab may be retained (although most crabbers keep only the largest crabs, which have a lot more meat than small ones). Red rock crab are not present in all Oregon bays; good places to harvest them include the docks in Tillamook, Yaquina and Coos bays.

For Dungeness crab, the correct way to check for minimum size (5 3⁄4 inches) is to measure a straight line across the back immediately in front of, but not including, the points. See an illustration (jpg).

ODA recommends always eviscerating crab before cooking and avoiding consumption of crab guts.

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 Marine Zone Wildlife Viewing

Surf Scotter

Surf Scoter Drake
- Photo by Kathy Munsel -

Birds like scoters and buffleheads winter along the coast. Bird viewing tips are available from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Another great source for birders is the Oregon Coast Birding Trail website, which includes self-guided itineraries for any area of the Oregon Coast and a species checklist.

All kinds of wonderful creatures – gumboot chitons and ribbed limpets, for example – can be viewed along the shoreline. The Oregon State Parks tidepools website has information on where and when to explore, what you can expect to see, and safety tips.

Additional coastal viewing ideas for marine wildlife are found on the ODFW wildlife viewing map.

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