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ODFW WEEKLY RECREATION REPORT
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Marine Zone Map

Weekly Recreation Report: Marine Zone

 

July 28, 2015

 Marine Zone Fishing

Huge Halibut
A nice halibut
-Photo by Matt Frank -

Weekend opportunities:

  • The Central Coast (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt.) nearshore Pacific halibut fishery opened July 1, seven days per week.
  • A fin-clipped coho salmon may be in your future: the ocean season from Cape Falcon to the Calif. border is open.
  • It must be summer - albacore tuna are here! Reports put fish at 20+miles offshore, with good catches for those equipped to go that distance.
  • Low tides this week bring good clamming and tidepooling opportunities. Call the OR Department of Agriculture’s Shellfish Safety Hotline at 1-800-448-2474 to check for shellfish harvest closures.

 Crabbing workshops Aug. 8 and 9 in Newport

These one-day family-friendly workshops will cover everything you need to know to get your catch from the ocean to the dinner plate. Registration fee includes the use of all equipment, instruction/materials and lunch. For additional information and to register.

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

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:

 In addition to 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 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations (pages 94-98). Depth restrictions for bottomfish and Pacific halibut fishing are defined by waypoints.

Salmon

Adipose fin-clipped coho salmon seasons are now open in ocean waters along the entire Oregon Coast. Catch rates last week were good in Astoria, Garibaldi, Depoe Bay, and Pacific City. Catch per angler in ports from Newport south had slowed from the prior week, and were only fair. The best catch rates continue to be among anglers fishing off the Columbia River.

Ocean recreational fishing is open for Chinook salmon along the entire Oregon coast. Anglers fishing in ocean waters adjacent to Tillamook Bay between Twin Rocks and Pyramid Rock and within the 15-fathom depth contour are reminded that only adipose fin-clipped Chinook salmon may be retained or on board while fishing prior to Aug. 1.

Bag limits (all salmon): two per day, except from Cape Falcon to Leadbetter Point, WA, only one may be a Chinook. All coho must have a healed adipose fin clip.

The Columbia River Control Zone is closed.

Pacific Halibut

The Columbia River Subarea (Cape Falcon to Leadbetter Point, WA) nearshore fishery is open daily until Sept. 30 or the adjusted quota has been met; fishing has been slow. The all-depth Pacific halibut fishery in this subarea is closed for the remainder of 2015.

The nearshore halibut fishery between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mt. opened July 1, seven days per week until the quota is caught or October 31. Approximately 82 percent of the quota remains. The nearshore fishery is open inside of a line approximating the 40-fathom depth contour. Waypoints for the line (pdf). Good sized fish (32 to 40-inches) have been coming in slowly but steadily.

The Southern Oregon Subarea (Humbug Mt. to the Calif. border) is open daily, but fishing has been slow.

Additional information about the sport halibut fishery.

Albacore Tuna
Linda Zasky with a nice Tuna.
-Photo by Tony Zasky-

Tuna

Recreational albacore catches have been good. Winds are expected to continue to limit access to the “tuna grounds” this week, but some reports had albacore available as close as 10-15 miles. 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.

What to do after a successful tuna fishing trip? Get out the grill! The Oregon Albacore Commission and Oregon State University’s Extension Service have recipes and information on canning and smoking fish.

Misc Fishing

Redtail and silver surfperch can be caught from ocean beaches throughout the year.

Bottom Fishing

Rockfish catches were fairly good last week, particularly out of the Charleston area. Lingcod catches were slower.

REMINDERS: The ocean is open for bottom fishing only inside of the 30-fathom regulatory line (30-fathom waypoints) through Sept. 30.

New for 2015. China, copper, and quillback rockfish (in addition to yelloweye rockfish) may not be retained.

New for 2015. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish, of which no more than three can be blue rockfish and no more than one can be a canary rockfish. Anglers are also reminded that no more than one can be a cabezon (no change from last year).

Although anglers may retain one canary rockfish, there is an annual quota, so anglers are urged to avoid canary rockfish (retaining one only if it is injured and caught incidentally while targeting other species such as black rockfish) and to use a descending device for any that are released. Releasing individuals that are not bleeding from the gills or showing signs of injury other than barotrauma will help preserve fishing opportunity for other species such as black rockfish and lingcod throughout the year.

Signs of barotrauma, such as bulging eyes and a protruding gut out of the mouth, result from the change in pressure as fish are reeled to the surface. Happily, symptoms are reversible when fish are returned to depth with a descending device. ODFW encourages anglers to use a descending device to release rockfish with signs of barotrauma.

Canary Rockfish
Canary Rockfish
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

See ODFW’s sport groundfish webpage for an underwater video of a fish recompressed and released by ODFW researchers, and an entertaining and informative video showing several different types of descending devices (both videos are at the bottom of the page).

There are separate daily limits for lingcod (2) and flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25). Several handouts – including “What Can I Keep, and How Many?” and species identification tips – are available on the OFDW sport groundfish webpage.

Shellfish

Recreational shellfish safety status, as of July 28:

  • Recreational harvest of mussels is closed from Cape Arago (south of Coos Bay) to the California border for elevated levels of domoic acid, and includes all beaches, rocks, jetties and bays. The recreational harvest of mussels is open from the Columbia River south to Cape Arago.
  • Recreational harvest of razor clams is closed along the entire Oregon coast from the Columbia River to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This closure includes all beaches and bays. Concentrations of domoic acid are reaching levels not seen since 1998, and ODFW shellfish biologists see no possibility that razor clamming will re-open before the annual conservation closure on Clatsop beaches begins on July 15. June 16 news release
  • The recreational harvest of bay clams is open along the entire Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to the California border.
  • Scallops are not affected by closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten.
  • The recent closure of the southern Washington coast to recreational and commercial crab harvest due to elevated domoic acid levels has prompted questions about the safety of crab caught in Oregon. The Oregon Department of Agriculture recently tested Dungeness crab samples from ocean and estuary areas in Oregon and found biotoxin levels below the human health concern threshold. However, consumption of crab viscera (“butter”) is not recommended.
  • Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers; samples show no 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 webpage.

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 clams

Coos Bay, Yaquina Bay, Netarts Bay, and Tillamook Bay are four bays where bay clams, like gaper clams, butter clams and cockles, can be taken if not affected by shellfish safety closures. Recent stock assessments have revealed abundant populations and that current harvest levels are sustainable. See ODFW’s bay clam webpage for more information on where and how to dig, clam ID, etc.

The Oregon Health Authority has issued an advisory about naturally occurring arsenic found in softshell clams along the Oregon coast. Removing skin from clam’s siphon dramatically reduces arsenic levels, public health officials say. More info

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

Crabs
 
Ocean crabbing has been improving and many boats are retaining limits. Bay crabbing has also been getting better, though catch can be hit or miss depending on the day and the place. The large algal bloom that closed the crabbing in southern Washington has not impacted the crabbing in Oregon. Tests show no harmful levels of domoic acid in Oregon crab. 

Larger ocean crab off the central coast are molting, and a soft shell indicates the meat will be watery. Smaller crab that have not yet molted – look for barnacles on the shell – are a better option for the crab kettle. Bay crabbing has improved but is still slower than ocean crabbing at this time. Bay and ocean crabbers might run into red rock crab as well as Dungeness crab. Red rock crab is a native species but is not present in all of Oregon’s bays. Good places to try are from the docks in Tillamook Bay, Yaquina Bay, and Coos Bay.

Red rock crab are caught just like Dungeness and have a larger daily limit (24); check out these “How to Crab” tips. Unlike Dungeness crab, any size or sex of red rock crab can be retained, but most crabbers keep only the largest ones which have much more meat than small ones.

Some sport crabbers sometimes 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 Wildlife Viewing

Tide Pool
Father and son at the tide pools
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

Low tides and great summer weather make good opportunities for tidepooling and exploring Oregon’s rocky and sandy shores. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s tidepooling website (http://oregontidepools.org/) has information on where and when to go, what you can expect to see, safety tips, etc.

It’s a great time of year to see gray whales. On a calm day, their blows can be easy to spot from a high vantage point on the shore, or take advantage of a whale-watching tour to see – and perhaps even smell – them from sea level.

Yaquina Head is always an outstanding site to look for gray whales from shore.

Seabirds

Check out the Oregon Coast Birding Trail website for birding hotspots and self-guided itineraries for birders in any area of the Oregon Coast. Some especially 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).

Wildlife Viewing Map

Get more coastal viewing ideas from the ODFW wildlife viewing map. For example, at Cape Blanco, trails lead to the beach and viewpoints where marbled murrelets, rhinoceros auklets and raptors can be seen throughout the year.

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