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Port sampler interviewing returning anglers.

Welcome to the Ocean Salmon Management Program
(commercial troll salmon and ocean recreational salmon fisheries)

First time ocean salmon angler.

Recreational ocean salmon regulations:

 

State waters only fall Chinook terminal area seasons:

  • None scheduled for fall of 2019

Commercial troller waiting and watching.

Commercial ocean troll salmon regulations:

 

State waters only fall Chinook terminal area seasons:

  • None scheduled for fall of 2019

Oregon Managment Areas

Other regulation information:

 

Related links:

Two Chinook on top and one coho on bottom.

Catch and quota updates:

 

Updated through September 29, 2019 (pdf) – last updated October 3, 2019

Updated through September 29, 2019 (pdf) - last updated October 3, 2019

Recent management actions and updates:

September 20, 2019 - ACTION NOTICE - Recreational Ocean Salmon: NOAA Fisheries in consultation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, and a member of the Salmon Technical Team, has taken the following in-season action with respect to the recreational non mark selective coho salmon fishery in the area from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain:

ACTION TAKEN:

  • Retention of coho in the non-mark selective season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. is now allowed all days from Friday, September 20 through Sunday, September 29.

RATIONALE AND NOTES: The recreational non mark selective coho salmon season in the area from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. was scheduled to be open each Friday through Sunday in September. The last two open Sundays saw poor ocean conditions and resulted in lower than anticipated total catch in those openings. Overall angling participation is declining and catch rates are starting to decline as more coho leave the ocean. There is approximately 40% of the quota remaining and adding the four weekdays is not expected to result in early attainment of the quota. The Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife will continue to monitor the landings in the event that catches exceed expectations.

 

September 17, 2019 - Update - Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. Non Selective Coho Recreational Season: The season will be open this Friday through Sunday (September 20-22). Through the third open period a total of 9,073 coho have been landed out of the adjusted quota of 15,640 coho. This leaves 42% of the quota remaining. Fishery managers will evaluate the status of the fishery early next week, and announce any changes to the season dates if needed at that time.

 

September 12, 2019 - Update - Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. Non Selective Coho Recreational Season: The season will be open this Friday through Sunday (September 13-15. Through the second open period a total of 7,950 coho have been landed out of the adjusted quota of 15,640 coho. This leaves 49% of the quota remaining. Fishery managers will evaluate the status of the fishery early next week, and announce any changes to the season dates if needed at that time.

 

September 4, 2019 - ACTION NOTICE - Recreational Ocean Salmon: NOAA Fisheries in consultation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, representatives from the recreational salmon fishery, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, and members of the Salmon Technical Team, has taken the following in-season action with respect to the recreational salmon fishery in the area from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain:

ACTION TAKEN:

  • There is an impact neutral rollover of coho remaining from the mark selective summer season to the non mark selective September season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. This results in a n10/07/2019 3:34 PMevised quota of 15,640 coho.
  • The non selective coho season is open each Friday through Sunday through the earlier of the quota or September 30. Open days within September may be adjusted by further action.
  • Angling for Chinook salmon is open 7 days per week through October 31 within the area from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt.

RATIONALE AND NOTES: The recreational season in the area from Cape Falcon to the Oregon/California Border landed an estimated 40,404 coho during the June 22 to August 25 mark selective season. This left 49,596 coho available to rollover on an impact neutral basis to the non selective coho season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. which opened on August 31. This season was scheduled to open on Saturday, August 31, and then open each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through September or the quota of 9,000 coho. When the calculations for the impact neutral rollover were made by the Salmon Technical Team, the resulting rollover was 6,640 coho, and resulted in a revised non selective quota of 15,640 coho.

The opening two days of the non selective season (August 31 and September 1) saw total estimated landings of 5,164 coho or 57% of the original quota. With the rollover, there are enough coho remaining on the quota to insure the next three day opener from Friday, Sept. 6 through Sunday, Sept. 8 could proceed. Catches from this opening will be evaluated early next week to determine if any changes need to be considered for the next open period.

 

August 15, 2019 ACTION NOTICE - Commercial Troll Salmon: NOAA Fisheries in consultation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Fish an 10/07/2019 3:34 PM the Pacific Fishery Management Council, has taken in-season actions with respect to the commercial ocean troll salmon fishery from the US/Canada Border to Cape Falcon, Oregon:

ACTION TAKEN:

  • In all areas to the North of Cape Falcon, the Chinook landing week limit (Thursday through Wednesday) is increased from 125 Chinook per landing week to 160 Chinook per landing week effective at 00:01 on Friday, August 16. The 150 marked coho per vessel per landing week remains unchanged.

RATIONALE: As of today’s action, 5,373 Chinook and 27,427 coho remain on the respective quotas for the US/Canada Border to Cape Falcon commercial troll fishery. The 125 Chinook per week limit was limiting some vessels, and the quota is not currently at risk of being met with the level of participation and catch rates.

 

August 2, 2019 ACTION NOTICE – Commercial Troll Salmon: NOAA Fisheries in consultation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, has taken in-season action in the commercial troll salmon fishery in the area from Humbug Mt. to the Oregon/California Border.

ACTION TAKEN:

  • The August Chinook salmon quota for the area from Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border is increased by 3,130 Chinook to a revised quota of 4,330 Chinook.

RATIONALE: An estimated total of 584 Chinook were caught during the month of July on the adjusted July quota of 4,495 Chinook. When the remaining 3,911 Chinook from the July quota were rolled forward to August on an impact neutral basis for all management stocks, it resulted in a net increase in the transferred quota at a rate of approximately 0.80 August equivalents for each July fish being transferred, and an increase of 3,130 Chinook in the August quota. These rollovers allow for more flexibility and better planning in the Humbug Mt. to OR/CA Border area that is managed via monthly quotas.

Participating vessels are reminded of the mandatory reporting of landings within one hour of delivery or prior to transport away from the port of landing. Reports may be made by phone to (541)867-0300 ext. 252 or by email to kmzor.trollreport@state.or.us. Report should include the vessel name and documentation number, the number of salmon being by species, the port of landing, the name of the fish buyer to whom the fish are being sold, and the estimated time of delivery.

 

July 24, 2019 ACTION NOTICE - Commercial Troll Salmon: NOAA Fisheries in consultation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, representatives from the commercial troll fishery, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council, has taken in-season actions with respect to the retention of Pacific Halibut in the ocean troll fishery from the US/Canada Border to the US/Mexico Border.

ACTION TAKEN:

  • The landing limit of Pacific Halibut in the ocean troll salmon fishery (incidental take for those troll vessels with an incidental troll permit from the IPHC) will be reduced to no more than 2 total halibut per trip effective at 00:01 on Saturday, July 27. Any vessels that are in possession of more than 2 Pacific Halibut (up to the current limit of 4 halibut per trip), must land and deliver their halibut along with the required ratio of Chinook per halibut no later than 12:00 (noon) on Saturday, July 27. There is no change to the ratio requirement of 1 Pacific Halibut per 2 Chinook Salmon (1 halibut may also be landed outside of the ratio).

RATIONALE: As of July 24, estimated Pacific Halibut total landings of 46,396 lbs. (head on) had been recorded out of the head-on quota of 51,022 lbs. leaving 12,695 lbs. remaining (9.1% of the quota remaining). In order to allow access to the remaining quota, providing an extended period for incidental halibut retention, while minimizing the risk of exceeding the quota, the landing limit was reduced for the third time this season. Fishery managers will revisit this issue as needed.

 

July 17, 2019 ACTION NOTICE - Commercial Troll Salmon (2 of 2): NOAA Fisheries in consultation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, representatives from the commercial troll fishery, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council, has taken in-season actions with respect to the commercial ocean troll salmon fishery from the US/Canada Border to Cape Falcon, Oregon:

ACTION TAKEN:

  • In all areas to the North of Cape Falcon, a Chinook landing week limit (Thursday through Wednesday) of 125 Chinook per vessel per week will take effect at 00:01 on Friday, July 19. This is in addition to the 150 marked coho per vessel per landing week that is currently in effect.

RATIONALE: In order to allow for commercial salmon to remain available to the local markets this move should allow the fishery to continue for much of the remaining scheduled fishing season. Chinook landings have reached a point where there was concern that an early closure may be needed. Trollers fishing N. of Cape Falcon and landing into Oregon are reminded of the mandatory reporting of catch within one hour of landing.

 

July 17, 2019 ACTION NOTICE - Commercial Troll Salmon (1 of 2): NOAA Fisheries in consultation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, representatives from the commercial troll fishery, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council, has taken in-season actions with respect to the retention of Pacific Halibut in the ocean troll fishery from the US/Canada Border to the US/Mexico Border.

ACTION TAKEN:

  • The landing limit of Pacific Halibut in the ocean troll salmon fishery (incidental take for those troll vessels with an incidental troll permit from the IPHC) will be reduced to no more than 4 total halibut per trip effective at 00:01 on Friday, July 19. Any vessels that are in possession of more than 4 Pacific Halibut (up to the current limit of 15 halibut per trip), must land and deliver their halibut along with the required ratio of Chinook per halibut no later than 23:59 on Friday, July 19. There is no change to the ratio requirement of 1 Pacific Halibut per 2 Chinook Salmon (1 halibut may also be landed outside of the ratio).
RATIONALE: As of July 10, total landings of 38,328 lbs. (head on) had been recorded out of the head-on quota of 51,022 lbs. leaving 12,695 lbs. remaining (24.9% of the quota remaining). Forecast landings for the week of July 11-17 are 6,425 lbs. leaving only 6,270 lbs. (12.3% remaining on the quota). In order to allow access to the remaining quota, while minimizing the risk of exceeding the quota, the landing limit was reduced. Fishery managers are expecting to revisit this issue in the afternoon on Wednesday, July 24.

 

July 12, 2019 ACTION NOTICE - Commercial Troll Salmon: NOAA Fisheries in consultation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, representatives from the commercial troll fishery, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council, has taken in-season actions with respect to the commercial troll salmon fishery from the US/Canada Border to Cape Falcon:

ACTION TAKEN:

  • Remaining Chinook quota from the May-June commercial fishery North of Cape Falcon is rolled over to the July-September fishery on an impact-neutral basis. The July-September quota is increased from 13,050 to 19,257 Chinook salmon.

RATIONALE: The Chinook remaining from the May-June US/Canada Border to Cape Falcon troll salmon fishery were evaluated for potential rollover to the July-September troll salmon fishery in the same area. The impacts were neutral or better on all management stocks, and NOAA Fisheries approved the rollover on a 1:1 ratio.

 

July 3, 2019 ACTION NOTICE – Commercial Troll Salmon: NOAA Fisheries in consultation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, and fishery representatives has taken the following in-season action in the commercial troll salmon fishery in the area from Humbug Mt. to the Oregon/California Border:

ACTIONS TAKEN:

  • The July Chinook salmon quota for the area from Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border is increased by 1,995 Chinook to a revised quota of 4,495 Chinook
  • The weekly landing and possession limit in the area from Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border is increased to 125 Chinook per vessel per landing week (Thursday-Wednesday) beginning 12:01 AM July 4, 2019

RATIONALE:  Estimated June landings totaled 71 Chinook out of the quota of 3,200 Chinook, leaving 3,129 Chinook on the quota. When the remaining Chinook from the June quota were rolled forward to July on an impact neutral basis for all management stocks, it resulted in a net increase in the transferred quota at a rate of approximately 0.64 July equivalents for each June fish being transferred, and resulted in a net increase of 1,995 Chinook available to the July quota. The weekly landing limit per vessel will be increased from 50 Chinook per landing week (Thursday through Wednesday) to 125 Chinook beginning July 4 in order to provide a better opportunity for the troll fishery to access their allocation.  The revised landing limit will remain in effect for the remainder of the 2019 season unless adjusted by future management action.

Participating vessels are reminded of the mandatory reporting of landings within one hour of delivery or prior to transport away from the port of landing. Reports may be made by phone to (541)867-0300 ext. 252 or by email to kmzor.trollreport@state.or.us. Report should include the vessel name and documentation number, the number of salmon being by species, the port of landing, the name of the fish buyer to whom the fish are being sold, and the estimated time of delivery.

 

June 28, 2019 ACTION NOTICE - Recreational Ocean Salmon: Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife has adopted special regulations at the mouth of Nehalem Bay that mimick the inside restrictions. From July 1 through Sept. 15 no more than one wild (non clipped) Chinook Salmon is allowed in aggregate from the special terminal area at the mouth of Nehalem Bay, Nehalem River, and Nehalem Bay. More details on the regulations and a description of the terminal area can be found at www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/salmon/regulations/docs/Nehalem_Ocean_Terminal_Area_2019.pdf

June 24, 2019 ACTION NOTICE - Commercial Troll Salmon: NOAA Fisheries in consultation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, representatives from the commercial troll fishery, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council, has taken in-season actions with respect to the retention of Pacific Halibut in the ocean troll fishery from the US/Canada Border to the US/Mexico Border.

ACTION TAKEN:

  • The landing limit of Pacific Halibut in the ocean troll salmon fishery (incidental take for those troll vessels with an incidental troll permit from the IPHC) will be reduced to no more than 15 total halibut per trip effective at 00:01 on Monday, July 1. Any vessels that are in possession of more than 15 Pacific Halibut, must land and deliver their halibut along with the required ratio of Chinook per halibut no later than 23:59 on Sunday, June 30. There is no change to the ratio requirement of 1 Pacific Halibut per 2 Chinook Salmon (1 halibut may also be landed outside of the ratio).
RATIONALE: As of June 19, total landings of 22,699 lbs. had been recorded out of the quota of 44,899 lbs. leaving 22,200 lbs. remaining (49.4% of the quota remaining). A preseason agreement between troll salmon representatives was made in April to make an inseason reduction in the landing limit in order to allow the incidental take to remain in place for most of the fishing season. By reducing to 15 halibut per trip, it is anticipated that most of the season will remain open for retention of halibut incidental to troll salmon fishing. Fishery managers will revisit this issue as needed, but not later than mid-August.

 

June 7, 2019 - Recommended best practices for reducing handling mortality for catching and releasing ocean salmon:

Hooks:

  • Single point barbless hooks are legally required and a best practice as well.
  • Using only one hook per lure or bait reduces handling time and simplifies releasing a fish. Two hook riggings often result in more than one injury to a fish, complicate unhooking the fish, and are more likely to get tangled in a landing net.
  • Hook size: Some prior mortality studies indicate that hook sizes in the 1/0 range may have a lower hooking mortality impact than larger sizes such as 5/0 and 6/0.
  • If trolling a whole or plug cut bait use one of the various hooking options that allow for a single hook to be used (cable baiter, crowbar, needle bait threader, etc.).

Handling:

  • For any salmon that are anticipated to be released, avoid using any landing net.
  • If you have a high sided boat that requires you to net every fish, consider investing in a landing net that uses less abrasive netting (rubber, soft nylon, etc.).
  • Have a de-hooking device ready when bringing the fish to the boat.
    • Gaff hooks work well for jaw hooked fish. Slide the gaff around the leader and then down the leader to the bend of the hook, at the same time holding the leader in your other hand, then push down on the leader while pulling up on the gaff handle to release the fish.
    • Fish hooked deeper inside the mouth/gullet/gills will likely require the use of pliers, hemostats, or another style of de-hooking device.
  • Use a heavy leader to better facilitate controlling the fish by hand as you prepare to release it.

Fishing Methods:

  • If you are targeting Chinook, then some of these tips will help avoid incidental coho contacts.
    • Fish deep: Chinook are usually going to be found deeper in the water column than coho. Coho are most commonly found in the top 30 feet of the water column. Getting deeper can be accomplished with the use of a downrigger, larger deep diving planes, or heavy leads.
    • Slow down: Coho are more likely to strike at faster moving baits and lures, while Chinook generally will take gear trolled slower.
    • Use longer leaders: Coho like a “frantic lure or bait”, so if you are using a dodger or flasher, a longer leader 20”-36” will slow the action down a bit.
    • Use large artificial plugs or whole bait early in the season: Early in the year, large (6” or larger) artificial plugs or bait are often larger than a coho will try to take. Later in the season this will no likely reduce coho contacts.
  • Bait has a higher likelihood of being taken deep and resulting in a deep hook-up than most lures.
  • If mooching/drifting whole or plug cut bait for salmon, a circle hook will result in fewer gullet and gill hooked salmon.

 

 

April 15, 2019 - OCEAN SALMON ACTION NOTICE: The Pacific Fishery Management Council finalized their recommendations for 2019 ocean salmon seasons on Monday, April 15.  Draft copies of the adopted seasons will be available at the PMFC’s website in the near future ( www.pcouncil.org), and graphics of the recreational and commercial troll seasons will also be available on www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/salmon/ by Tuesday, April 16.  Seasons beginning in May are not official until receiving final approval by the Secretary of Commerce, and adopted by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission for waters within 3 nautical miles of shore.

The adopted regulations for Chinook Salmon reflect the improved status of Sacramento River fall Chinook, and the Rogue River fall Chinook and Klamath River fall Chinook populations both are in good and fair condition respectively.  Also most of the north migrating stocks of Chinook (Oregon Coastal Chinook stocks from the Nehalem River south to the Elk River as well as a number of Columbia River Chinook stocks) are in moderate to poor condition. These north migrating stocks of Chinook contribute very little to Oregon’s ocean seasons, but are very important to Oregon’s inside estuary and river recreational seasons.

Columbia basin hatchery Coho Salmon abundance is forecast to be very good and is reflected in the greatly expanded fin-clipped recreational coho seasons both north and south of Cape Falcon this year.

Recreational Season Summary:

Ocean waters off the Columbia River from Leadbetter Pt., Washington to Cape Falcon, Oregon will be open for recreational salmon fishing from June 22 through the earlier of September 30 or quota with a hatchery mark selective Coho Salmon quota of 79,800 and a Chinook Salmon guideline of 7,150.  The daily bag limit will be two salmon, but no more than one Chinook Salmon and all Coho Salmon must have a healed adipose fin clip.

Recreational Chinook Salmon seasons on the central Oregon Coast from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. opened for Chinook Salmon on March 15 and will continue through October 31.  The area from Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border will be open for recreational Chinook Salmon beginning on May 25 and continuing through September 2. 

The hatchery mark selective Coho Salmon season from Cape Falcon to the OR/CA Border will be open from June 22 through the earlier of August 25 or the quota of 90,000 adipose fin-clipped Coho Salmon. There will be a more limited non-selective Coho Salmon season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. that is scheduled to be open each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday beginning on August 31 and continuing through the earlier of September 30 or the quota of 9,000 non mark selective Coho Salmon.

Commercial Troll Season Summary:

The commercial troll salmon seasons north of Cape Falcon will have very limited Chinook Salmon quotas again this year. The fishery will be managed by quotas, season length, and vessel landing week (Thursday-Wednesday) limits.  The early Chinook Salmon only season will start on May 6 and will continue through the earlier of June 28, the overall quota of 13,200 Chinook Salmon, or the Leadbetter Pt. to Cape Falcon subarea cap of 1,800 Chinook Salmon. The season will open with a 100 Chinook Salmon per vessel cap for the period of May 6-15, and then shift to a 50 Chinook Salmon per vessel per landing week (Thurs-Wed) beginning on May 16.

The summer all salmon fishery north of Cape Falcon will open on July 1 and continue through the earlier of the overall Chinook Salmon quota of 13,050 Chinook or 30,400 fin clipped coho. Landing week (Thurs-Wed) limit of 150 adipose fin-clipped Coho Salmon per vessel. Mandatory call-in requirements within an hour of landing are in place for all quota managed seasons. Vessels must call in to (541)867-0300 x271 with vessel name, vessel number, number of harvested salmon by species, port of landing, destination, and estimated time of delivery. The mandatory report can also be made by email to nfalcon.trollreport@state.or.us

From Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. the Chinook Salmon season will be open April 20-30, May 6-30, June 1-August 29, and September 1 through October 31. Beginning September 1, a 75 Chinook Salmon per vessel weekly limit (Thursday through Wednesday) will be in place. 

From Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border, the commercial troll fishery will be open April 20-30 and May 6-30. Beginning June 1, landing week (Thurs-Wed) limits of 50 Chinook Salmon per vessel will go into effect along with monthly quotas of 3,200 Chinook Salmon in June (6/1-30 or quota), 2,500 in July (7/1-31 or quota), and 1,200 in August (8/1-29 or quota). Unused quota may be transferred forward to the next open quota period on an impact neutral basis. Mandatory call-in requirements within an hour of landing are in place for all quota managed seasons. Vessels must call in to (541)867-0300 x252 with vessel name, vessel number, number of harvested salmon by species, port of landing, destination, and estimated time of delivery. The report may also be made by email to kmzor.trollreport@state.or.us

Other Information:

Both commercial troll salmon fishermen and recreational anglers should review the full regulations prior to participating in the ocean salmon fisheries.  Commercial reporting requirements via phone or email remain in effect for all quota managed salmon seasons.

Questions should be directed to Eric Schindler at (541)867-0300 x252 or Justine Kenyon-Benson at (541)867-0300 x271.

 

March 13, 2019 Ocean Salmon Season Alternatives: The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) with input from their Salmon Advisory Subpanel and analysis by the Salmon Technical Team has completed development of the range of commercial troll and recreational ocean salmon season alternatives for 2019 ocean salmon seasons. These alternatives can be found on the PFMC website. A series of graphical representation of the Oregon alternatives in PDF format is here. The PFMC will finalize a single set of ocean salmon seasons at their meeting in Rohnert Park, California (April 9-16).

 

March 11, 2019 COMMERCIAL TROLL SALMON ACTION NOTICE: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in consultation with the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), the State of Oregon, and the State of California met this evening in Vancouver, Washington and have taken the following in-season management action to the scheduled March and April commercial troll Chinook salmon openings off Oregon:

ACTIONS TAKEN: 

(1) The commercial troll salmon fishery scheduled to open on March 15 in the area from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. will remain closed to commercial troll salmon fishing for the period of March 15 through April 19, and open for all salmon except coho on April 20 with a 28” minimum length for Chinook Salmon.

(2) The commercial troll salmon fishery scheduled to open on March 15 in the area from Humbug Mt. to the Oregon/California Border will remain closed to commercial troll salmon fishing for the period of March 15 through April 19, and open for all salmon except coho on April 20 with a 28” minimum length for Chinook Salmon. 

RATIONALE:  Fishery managers and industry representatives agreed that this closure was needed to help manage impacts on both Klamath River fall Chinook in order to provide adequate opportunity as requested from fishery participants throughout the remainder of the fishing seasons that are currently under development. The April 20 opening date may still be modified by inseason action in early April. 
Seasons from May 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020 are currently being developed. Season alternatives will be reviewed and a final season recommendation made at the Pacific Fishery Management Council public meeting April 9-16 in Rohnert Park, California.

 

March 11, 2019 RECREATIONAL OCEAN SALMON ACTION NOTICE: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in consultation with the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), the State of Oregon, and the State of California met this evening in Vancouver, Washington and have taken the following in-season management action to the scheduled March and April recreational ocean Chinook salmon openings off Oregon:

ACTION TAKEN:  The planned ocean Chinook salmon (all-salmon-except coho) season will open as scheduled from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. from March 15 through April 30, 2019.  The bag limit will be two salmon, except closed to retention of coho, with a minimum size of 24” for Chinook and a minimum size of 20” for steelhead.

RATIONALE:  The recreational ocean fishery off Oregon in March and April typically has very low effort and Chinook catch.  Fishery managers and industry representatives agreed that this opening would not create any difficulty in developing the remainder of the ocean seasons for the 2019 fishing year.   Seasons from May 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020 are currently being developed. Season alternatives will be reviewed and a final season recommendation made at the Pacific Fishery Management Council public meeting April 9-16 in Rohnert Park, California.

 

2019 PRE-SEASON PLANNING: OCEAN SALMON MEETING NOTICE: The 2019 Ocean Salmon Industry Group meeting (OSIG) is scheduled for Thursday, February 28, 2019. This pre-season planning meeting will provide a review of the 2018 seasons, take a first look at the 2019 salmon forecasts, and develop a set of Oregon preferred recreational and commercial ocean salmon season concepts via public input to take forward through the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) regulation setting process. The OSIG meeting will be held at the Shilo Inn, 536 SW Elizabeth Street, Newport, OR.

The OSIG meeting is open to all ocean sport fishing anglers and charter operators, commercial salmon troll fishers, and any others interested in participating in the development of the 2019 ocean salmon seasons. Staff from ODFW will provide background materials and presentations and then work with meeting attendees to develop preferred season alternatives to use as guidance moving forward through the Pacific Fishery Management Council's season setting process. Doors open at 9:30 AM at the Shilo Inn with presentations scheduled to start at 10:00 AM and conclude by 3:00 PM. There will be a lunch break between 12:00 PM and 1:15 PM,. Links to the agenda and briefing materials for the meeting will be posted here as they come available in January and February.

The first of the two salmon season setting meetings by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) will be held at the Hilton Vancouver Washington (301 W. Sixth Street, Vancouver, WA) from March 5-12. This first PFMC meeting in Vancouver will establish a range of alternatives for further review. The final season setting meeting will occur at the DoubleTree by Hilton Sonoma in Rohnert Park, California (One DoubleTree Drive, Rohnert Park, CA) from April 9-16. More information on these meetings can be found at the PFMC's website.

 

Project Overview

The Ocean Sampling Project (Ocean Salmon Management Program (OSMP)) monitors ocean commercial and recreational salmon fisheries for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). The project collects and analyzes data from Oregon's commercial and recreational ocean salmon fisheries, including catch and fishing effort, recovers these and other sources to assist in the develop of management.

The Ocean Sampling Project is made up of two sub-units: The Commercial Troll Salmon Project (CTSP) and the Ocean Recreational Boat Survey (ORBS). ORBS collects the information needed to managed all ocean recreational fisheries, and the CTSP collects the information needed information for managing the ocean commercial troll salmon fishery.

ORBS makes estimates of the ocean recreational catch and effort by boat type (charter and private). Interviews are conducted randomly of ocean boats to generate estimates of catch for both salmon and non-salmon species. All sampled salmon are examined for the presence of a CWT. Additional biological data are collected from salmon and non-salmon species, and anglers are also interviewed regarding released fish species.

The Ocean Sampling Project is staffed by a project leader and an assistant project leader at Newport, and two sampling coordinators; one each at Tillamook and Charleston. The sampling coordinators serve as liaison between field samplers, fishery participants, and program staff at Newport; deliver data and coded wire tags to Newport; and also provide additional sampling when needed. We regularly sample fishery landings at all primary Oregon coastal ports, utilizing approximately 20 to 30 seasonal samplers.

 

The Ocean Salmon Management Program

The Ocean Salmon Management Program (OSMP) monitors ocean commercial and recreational salmon fisheries, and conducts ocean and coastal river's investigations for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). The program uses data from these and other sources to develop management recommendations for the best use of Oregon's salmon resources, and to evaluate proposed ocean salmon fishery regulations.

The Ocean Sampling Project collects and analyzes data on Oregon's commercial ocean salmon fishery, including catch and fishing effort, recovers coded wire tags (CWTs), and gathers average weight data from commercial salmon landings.

The Ocean Sampling Project also conducts the Ocean Recreational Boat Survey (ORBS) to estimate effort and catch in the ocean recreational boat fishery. The ORBS estimates total ocean sport effort by boat type (charter and private), and interviews are conducted randomly of ocean boats to generate estimates of catch for both salmon and non-salmon species.  All sampled salmon are examined for the presence of a CWT.  Additional biological data are collected from salmon and non-salmon species, and anglers are also interviewed regarding released fish species and other specifics about their trip.

The OSMP sampling project is staffed by a project leader and an assistant project leader at Newport, and two sampling coordinators; one each at Tillamook and Charleston. The sampling coordinators serve as liaison between field samplers, fishery participants, and program staff at Newport; deliver data and coded wire tags to Newport; and also provide additional sampling when needed. We regularly sample fishery landings at all primary Oregon coastal ports, utilizing approximately 20 to 30 seasonal samplers.

OCEAN TROLL SALMON FISHERY

The commercial salmon troll fishery was developing off the Oregon Coast by the year 1912. By 1919, there were between one and two thousand boats trolling off the mouth of the Columbia River. The State of Oregon began recording troll landings separately from gillnet fisheries in 1925.

Landings of ocean troll caught coho salmon remained relatively stable from 1925 to 1941, with landings between 2,000,000 and 4,000,000 pounds (dressed weight: head-on, viscera removed) for most years. From 1942 to 1950 catches remained near 1,000,000 pounds annually, but by 1957 landings had climbed back up to 3,400,000 pounds. The El Niño of 1958-59 resulted in landings dropping back below 1,000,000 pounds or 200,000 fish. During the 1960s and early 1970s, improved hatchery production and rearing techniques, a growing troll fleet, and good ocean survival rates of smolts to adults resulted in record landings that peaked in 1976 with 1,800,000 coho landed. From the mid 1970s and continuing into the 1990s, Oregon's ocean coho fishery has been characterized by continuing poor ocean environmental conditions and poor overall survival, increasing management restrictions, and reduced ocean harvest opportunities. Most recently, ocean conditions have shown improvements, and changes in management approaches for coho salmon have began to provide modest increases in fishing opportunity for recreational anglers.

Although chinook harvest by the Oregon troll fishery has also seen dramatic fluctuations, the long term trend was one of increasing landings. The troll chinook fishery had record harvests in 1987 and 1988. The late 1980s and early 1990s have seen a decline in harvest due to decreases in many stocks, concern for critical natural stocks under both state and federal management and the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), together with increasing allocation conflicts between river and ocean user groups. From 2006-10, there were major declines in first Klamath River fall Chinook and then Sacramento River fall Chinook that resulted in near complete closure of Chinook harvest in several years. By 2012, the situation had done a complete turn around with Sacramento Chinook back to average numbers and the Klamath coming in with a near record abundance.

Historically, coho salmon predominated in the landings, but since the mid-1980's Chinook landings have equaled coho, and in many years made up the majority of the catch. This is primarily due to lower coho survival rates and much higher chinook survival rates and catch in the late 1980s. The commercial troll fishery has not had any significant coho opportunity to the South of Cape Falcon since 1992, and Chinook will predominate in the landings unless coho populations recover substantially to allow directed coho fisheries to resume coast wide.

Entry into the troll fishery was unrestricted until 1980 when a permit moratorium was adopted. Although 4,311 vessels already had Oregon troll permits, a goal of 2,400 vessels licensed to troll for salmon in Oregon was established. At the request of the troll industry, the Legislature reduced the permit cap to 1,800 then to 1,200 and finally to 1,000. In 2012, the permit cap was eliminated, but no means to re-issue permits was provided. This will result in a continued slow decline in the number of permits in the fishery. In most recent years, approximately 40-60% of the issued permits have actually fished in any given season.

OCEAN RECREATIONAL SALMON FISHERY

Oregon's ocean recreational salmon fishery originated with boats fishing in the bays on stocks returning to freshwater in the fall. A few boats would venture out into the ocean on favorable days. The late 1940s and early 1950s marked the beginning of increasing effort by both the charter and private boat fleet in the ocean. Better and safer equipment plus the development of small boat basins and launching ramps and other support facilities in many coastal towns encouraged ocean fishing.

The primary targeted species of the Oregon recreational fleet has traditionally been coho salmon with chinook a distant second. The fishery has been sampled by ODFW's Ocean Salmon Management Program since the early 1960s. Ocean creel data was supplemented by salmon/steelhead tag license data through the 1980 season. An extensive statistical creel data collection program began in 1979, and that data has been the sole source since 1981.

The peak catch and effort year was 1976 when 538,400 angler trips resulted in a catch of 79,300 chinook and 501,300 coho. The daily bag limit in 1976 was 3 salmon and the season lasted from April 10 to December 31. In 1996, the seasons and catch quotas were very limited; and resulted in an ocean catch of only 11,210 chinook and 7,176 coho from 43,962 salmon angler trips.

Beginning in 1994, Oregon's ocean recreational fishery was limited to chinook salmon.  In 1998, the first selective hatchery coho (fin-clipped) fisheries were authorized off Oregon.  These selective fisheries have allowed limited, but successful, targeted coho salmon fisheries to resume. In 2011, small scale non-selective coho seasons were opened along the Central Coast in September. A result of strong recovery of the Oregon Coastal Natural (OCN) coho; this opportunity in September has proven to be an effective management option to target the abundant OCN coho while limiting fishery impacts on other coho populations of concern. These September seasons have also been very popular with the angling public.

 

Contact:

Eric Schindler - Project Leader
E-mail: Eric.D.Schindler@state.or.us

Justine Kenyon-Benson - Assistant Project Leader
E-mail: Justine.Kenyon-Benson@state.or.us

Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
2040 SE Marine Science Drive
Newport, Oregon 97365
(541) 867-4741

 

Link to salmon identification guide

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