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Fish MARINE RESOURCES
Commercial and recreational marine fisheries
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Port sampler interviewing returning anglers.

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

New ocean salmon anglers.

Recreational ocean salmon regulations:


State waters only fall Chinook terminal area seasons:

Commercial troller waiting and watching.

Commercial ocean troll salmon regulations:

 

State waters only fall Chinook terminal area seasons:

Oregon Managment Areas

Other regulation information:

 

Related links:

 

Two Chinook on top and one coho on bottom.

Catch and quota updates:

Last updated: May 24, 2024

 

Updated through September 30, 2023 (pdf) - last updated October 24, 2023

Updated through May 19, 2024(pdf) - last updated May 24, 2024

Last updated May 24, 2024

Recent management actions and updates:

 

May 16, 2024 RECREATIONAL OCEAN SALMON ACTION NOTICE (2 of 2): The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in consultation with the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), the State of Oregon, the State of California, and fishery representatives met today via conference call and have taken the following in-season management action related to the recreational ocean salmon season from the Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border:

ACTIONS TAKEN:
All salmon caught in the area from Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border must be landed within the State of Oregon for any opening salmon seasons from May 16 through October 31, 2024.


RATIONALE: 
Recent concerns were raised by the State of California regarding the recreational salmon fishery just across the border in Oregon.  Specifically, as California has no salmon openings this year, the concerns included enforcement of the existing regulations and California’s inability to adequately monitor the fishery landings in Crescent City, CA.   It is still legal for Californians to trailer their boat to an Oregon port, purchase Oregon angling licenses and catch record cards, fish within waters off Oregon, and travel back to California with their catch by land.

May 16, 2024 COMMERCIAL TROLL SALMON ACTION NOTICE (1 of 2): The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in consultation with the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), the State of Oregon, the State of Washington, and fishery representatives met today via conference call and have taken the following in-season management action related to the commercial troll salmon season from the US/Canada border to Cape Falcon:

ACTIONS TAKEN:
NMFS has modified the Chinook salmon landing and possession limits for the commercial salmon troll fishery north of Cape Falcon as follows:

Effective 12:30 PM Thursday, May 16 the following modifications are in place:

  • Overall landing and possession limit for the entire area between Cape Falcon and the U.S./Canada border of 225 Chinook per vessel per landing week, defined as Thursday through Wednesday.
  • Landing and possession limit in the area between the U.S./Canada border and the Queets River of 70 Chinook per vessel per landing week, defined as Thursday through Wednesday.
  • Landing and possession limit in the area between the Queets River and Leadbetter Point of 225 Chinook per vessel per landing week, defined as Thursday through Wednesday.
  • Landing and possession limit in the area between Leadbetter Point and Cape Falcon of 80 Chinook per vessel per landing week, defined as Thursday through Wednesday.

RATIONALE:  The total Chinook landings in the area from the US/Canada Border to Cape Falcon, Oregon have been relatively slow during the first two openings with only 3,425 Chinook landed out of the overall quota of 24,600.  Relative to Oregon fishers:

  • Vessels landing in Oregon are limited to only fishing between Leadbetter Pt., WA and Cape Falcon, OR.
  • Vessels landing into Oregon must possess a valid commercial license and a valid troll salmon permit.
  • Vessels landing into Oregon are limited to locations on the Oregon side of the Columbia River to the West of Tongue Point, the beaches at Gearhart/Seaside and Cannon Beach, or into Garibaldi.
  • Fishers may not possess Chinook salmon South of Cape Falcon, OR that are less than 28” total length, except that fishers may possess and land Chinook salmon that meet the minimum length of 27” total length on those dates when the troll salmon season has been closed South of Cape Falcon for 48 hours or more (those dates for the 2024 seasons are anticipated to be June 8-11, June 19-25, July 3-25, August 2-3, and August 11-31).
  • All salmon must be delivered during the landing week or they will apply against the week in which they are possessed and delivered.
  • Vessels landing salmon in Oregon from any season North of Cape Falcon are required to notify ODFW within one hour of delivery or prior to transport away from the port of landing by either calling 541-857-2546 or sending notification via e-mail to nfalcon.trollreport@odfw.oregon.gov Notification shall include vessel name and number, number of salmon by species, port of landing and location of delivery, and estimated time of delivery.

April 24, 2024 COMMERCIAL TROLL SALMON ACTION NOTICE: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in consultation with the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), the State of Oregon, the State of Washington, and fishery representatives met Tuesday via conference call and have taken the following in-season management action related to the commercial troll salmon season from the US/Canada border to Cape Falcon:
ACTIONS TAKEN:

  • The commercial troll salmon fishery for all salmon except coho from the US/Canada Border to Cape Falcon including the subarea from Leadbetter Point, Washington to Cape Falcon, Oregon will open beginning May 1.  This season will follow the rules and specifications adopted by the PFMC on April 10 for the 2024 seasons.  This season will continue through the earlier of June 29; the May-June overall quota of 24,600 Chinook salmon; or the Leadbetter Pt. to Cape Falcon, May-June subarea quota of 5,710 Chinook salmon (see additional regulations below).
  • The minimum length for Chinook salmon beginning with the May 1, 2024 season opening from the US/Canada Border to Cape Falcon will be 27” total length (this length will apply in all open seasons in this area through May 15, 2025 unless modified by in-season action).

RATIONALE:  These actions will bring the adopted seasons from the 2023 season setting process for the period of May 1-15 into compliance with the recently adopted seasons for 2024 which encompasses salmon seasons for the period of May 16, 2024 through May 15, 2025.  Additional regulations that apply to vessels fishing out of Oregon North of Cape Falcon that apply to the 2024 seasons include:

  • Vessels landing in Oregon are limited to only fishing between Leadbetter Pt., WA and Cape Falcon, OR. 
  • Only vessels with a Washington troll permit may fish within the area from Leadbetter Pt. to the Columbia River within 3 nautical miles of shore.
  • Vessels landing into Oregon must possess a valid commercial license and a valid troll salmon permit.
  • Vessels landing into Oregon are limited to landing locations on the Oregon side of the Columbia River West of Tongue Point, the beaches at Gearhart/Seaside and Cannon Beach, or into Garibaldi.
  • Fishers may not possess Chinook salmon South of Cape Falcon, OR that are less than 28” total length, except that fishers may possess and land Chinook salmon that meet the minimum length of 27” total length from North of Cape Falcon on those dates when the troll salmon season has been closed South of Cape Falcon for more than 48 hours (those dates for the 2024 May through September seasons will be June 8-11, June 19-25, July 3-25, August 2-3, and August 11-31).
  • Vessels fishing in the area between Leadbetter Pt., WA and Cape Falcon, OR are limited to no more than 60 Chinook for the period of May 1-8, and 60 Chinook per landing week (Thursday through Wednesday) from May 9 through June 29.  All salmon must be delivered during the landing week in which they were caught, or they will also apply against any landing week limit in which they are possessed.
  • Vessels landing salmon into Oregon from any season North of Cape Falcon are required to notify ODFW within one hour of delivery or prior to transport away from the port of landing by either calling 541-857-2546 or sending notification via e-mail to nfalcon.trollreport@odfw.oregon.gov Notification shall include vessel name and number, number of salmon by species, port of landing, location of delivery, and estimated time of delivery.

4/10/2024 OCEAN SALMON ACTION NOTICE: The Pacific Fishery Management Council finalized their recommendations for 2024 ocean salmon seasons on Wednesday, April 10.  The adopted seasons will be available at the PMFC’s website (www.pcouncil.org) in Preseason Report III, and graphics of the Oregon recreational and commercial troll seasons are available at www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/salmon/ 

Seasons from May 16, 2024 forward are not official until final approval by the Secretary of Commerce and adopted by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission for waters within 3 nautical miles of shore.

Conservation concerns for both Sacramento and Klamath River fall Chinook salmon stocks were constraints on seasons from Cape Falcon through California.  This year’s Columbia basin hatchery coho salmon abundance is forecast to be less than half of the preseason forecast abundance in 2023, but the natural production forecasts for both lower Columbia River and Oregon Coastal stocks are strong with coho quotas and seasons reflecting the available abundances.  Coho fisheries were most constrained by sharing of the Lower Columbia River Natural (LCN) coho and the Southern Oregon Northern California Coastal Coho (SONCC).

Recreational Season Summary:
The all-salmon season North of Cape Falcon will open on June 22 and continue through the earlier of September 30 or the hatchery mark-selective coho quota of 39,900.  There is also a guideline in this area for 12,510 Chinook.  The daily bag limit will be two salmon, but no more than one Chinook and all coho must have a healed adipose fin clip.  Minimum length for Chinook is 22” and the coho minimum length is 16”.

Recreational Chinook seasons on the central Oregon Coast from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. opened on March 15 and will continue through October 31.  During October the fishery is only open shoreward of the 40-fathom management line.  The Chinook minimum length from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. is 24”.

The area from Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border will open for recreational Chinook on May 16 and continue through August 31.  The Chinook minimum length from Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border is 24”.

The hatchery mark-selective coho salmon season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. will be open from June 15 through the earlier of August 18 or the Cape Falcon to OR/CA Border quota of 45,000 adipose fin-clipped coho. There will also be a non-selective coho season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. which will be open September 1 through the earlier of September 30 or the quota of 25,000 non-mark selective coho (clipped or unclipped coho allowed). The coho minimum length from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. is 16”.  

From Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border, the hatchery mark-selective coho salmon season will be open from June 15 through the earlier of August 4 or the Cape Falcon to OR/CA Border quota of 45,000 adipose fin-clipped coho.  The shortened coho season in this area was a result of the conservation limitations for the Southern Oregon Northern California Coastal (SONCC) coho stock. The coho minimum length from Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border is 16”.

All recreational anglers are limited to no more than 2 single point barbless hook per line when fishing for salmon, and for any species when salmon are on board the vessel.

Commercial Troll Season Summary:
The commercial troll salmon seasons north of Cape Falcon will have limited Chinook quotas again this year.  The fishery will be managed by quotas, season length, and vessel landing week (Thurs.-Wed.) limits.  The early all salmon except coho season opens May 1 and will continue through the earlier of June 29 or the overall quota of 24,600 Chinook salmon, or the Leadbetter Pt. to Cape Falcon subarea cap of 5,710 Chinook.  The early season will have a 60 Chinook per vessel per landing week (Thurs-Wed) limit.

The summer all-salmon fishery north of Cape Falcon will open on July 1 and continue through the earlier of the overall Chinook quota of 16,400 Chinook or quota of 15,200 adipose fin-clipped coho.  The season will open for the period of July 1-10 with open period landing and possession limits of 70 Chinook and 100 adipose fin-clipped coho. Beginning July 11, the fishery will transition to landing and possession limits of 120 Chinook and 100 adipose fin-clipped coho per vessel per week (Thurs-Wed).

Minimum lengths for the commercial troll salmon seasons north of Cape Falcon are 27” for Chinook and 16” for coho.  Vessels with catch from this area must land in the area (and within the Columbia River West of Tongue Pt.) or into Garibaldi.  Mandatory call-in requirements within an hour of landing are in place for all troll salmon seasons in this area.  Vessels must call in to (541)857-2546 with vessel name, vessel number, number of harvested salmon by species, port of landing, destination of fish, and estimated time of delivery.  The mandatory report may alternately be made by email to nfalcon.trollreport@odfw.oregon.gov   Oregon permitted vessels may only fish south of Leadbetter Pt., Washington and outside of 3 nautical miles of shore between the Columbia River and Leadbetter Pt., Washington.

NOTE:  Any boats fishing in the area North of Cape Falcon and retaining Chinook that are greater than 27” but less than 28” must land all salmon into ports N. of Cape Falcon, except that boats may land Chinook that are less than 28” but greater than 27” into Garibaldi if the season S. of Cape Falcon has been closed more than 48 hours. The dates when the area S. of Cape Falcon will be closed to salmon fishing for more than 48 hours include:  June 8-11, June 19-25, July 3-25, August 2-3, and August 11-31.

In the area from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. the all-salmon-except coho seasons will be open for the following periods:  April 16-May 29; June 1-5, 12-16, & 26-30; July 26-30; Aug. 4-8; and Oct. 1-31. 

There will be an all-salmon season from Sept. 1 through the earlier of Sept. 30 or the coho quota of 2,500 coho.  Vessels in September and October are limited to no more than 75 Chinook per vessel per landing week (Thurs.-Wed.).  In September the coho landing and possession limit is 25 coho per landing week.  If the coho quota is met prior to September 30, then the season will continue for all salmon except coho.  Minimum lengths from Cape Falcon to the OR/CA Border are 28” for Chinook, and 16” for coho.

Vessels landing any coho in this fishery are required to report their landing within one hour of delivery or prior to transport away from the point of landing by phone call to (541) 857-2546 with vessel name, vessel number, number of harvested salmon by species, port of landing, destination of fish, and estimated time of delivery.  The mandatory report may alternately be made by email to nfalcon.trollreport@odfw.oregon.gov.

From Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA border, the all-salmon-except coho season will only be open April 16-30.  Vessels may land catch taken in openings from the area from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. into Gold Beach or Brookings at any time during the general seasons.  All salmon caught off Oregon from Cape Falcon to the OR/CA Border must be landed and delivered in the State of Oregon.

Other Information:
Both commercial troll salmon fishermen and recreational anglers should review the full regulations prior to participating in the ocean salmon fisheries.  Single point barbless hooks are required in all ocean salmon seasons.  Commercial salmon trollers are reminded that they are restricted to no more than 4 spreads per wire for all seasons from Cape Falcon to the OR/CA border.

March 19, 2024 INFORMATIONAL UPDATE: On March 11 the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) adopted a range of ocean salmon fishing season alternatives for the 2024 fishing year (May 16, 2024-May 15, 2025). The alternatives also reflect any seasons in effect prior to May 16 as the impacts from those seasons are assessed in the development of the coming season. Interested individuals may provide comment on the proposed season alternatives including a mix of preferences between alternatives to the PFMC through several avenues.

First, you may attend the virtual public hearing that starts at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, March 26, 2024. Details on how to attend can be found here.

Second, you may submit written testimony up until April 2, 2024 via the PFMC's Public Comment Portal until that can be found here.

Third, you may register and testify on any of the PMFC's April Meeting agenda items for the meeting in Seattle, WA that is scheduled for April 5-11. You may sign up and testify remotely at this link please make sure to review the FAQ on how to testify including timeframes and how to connect using the RingCentral app.

You may review the PFMC adopted salmon season alternatives at the following links:

March 10, 2024 COMMERCIAL TROLL SALMON ACTION NOTICE: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in consultation with the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), the State of Oregon, the State of California, and advisory body members met today in Fresno, CA and have taken the following in-season management action related to the scheduled March and April commercial troll Chinook salmon openings off Oregon:

ACTION TAKEN:
The commercial troll salmon fishery scheduled to open on March 15 in the areas from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. and from Humbug Mt. to the Oregon/California Border will NOT OPEN and will REMAIN CLOSED through at least April 15, 2024.

RATIONALE:  The closures in the early commercial troll fisheries off Oregon were due to forecast impacts to Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon that were higher than initially anticipated.  Those high impacts were of concern for the ability to develop any seasons for the remainder of 2024.

Seasons from May 16, 2024 through early May 15, 2025 are currently being developed. Any season adjustments prior to May 16 will be addressed through further inseason action. Season alternatives for the remainder of 2024 will be reviewed and a final season recommendation made at the April Pacific Fishery Management Council public meeting in Seattle from April 5-11, 2024.  Interested members of the public should visit www.pcouncil.org for information on how to participate in the April meeting.


March 10, 2024 RECREATIONAL OCEAN SALMON ACTION NOTICE:

ACTION TAKEN (no action):  The planned ocean Chinook salmon season (all-salmon-except coho) will open as scheduled from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. from March 15 through May 15.  The bag limit will be two salmon, except closed to retention of coho, with minimum size limits of 24” for Chinook and 20” for steelhead.

RATIONALE:  The recreational ocean salmon fishery off Oregon in March, April, and early May 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 2024 fishing year.   Seasons from May 16, 2024 through May 15, 2025 are currently being developed. Season alternatives will be reviewed and a final season recommendation made at the Pacific Fishery Management Council public meeting in Seattle from April 5-11, 2024.  Interested members of the public should visit www.pcouncil.org for information on how to participate in the April meeting.
Visit www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/salmon/ for more information on Oregon's ocean salmon seasons and fisheries.

2024 OCEAN SALMON PRESEASON PLANNING MEETING NOTICE: The meeting will be held in the OSU Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building on the Hatfield Marine Science Center's campus in Newport, Oregon.

The 2024 Ocean Salmon Industry Group Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 28, 2024. This meeting will provide a review of the 2023 seasons, take a first look at the 2024 salmon forecasts, and begin the development 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 meeting will be held both in person and virtually this year (see details below).

This 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 2024 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. The meeting is planned to start at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, February 28. It is recommended that participants attending on-line, test their system prior to the meeting to iron out any technical problems they may have.

There is also an option available to call in by phone.  There will be a lunch break between approximately 12:00 PM and 1:30 PM that will also provide participants time to formulate concepts for proposals.

Links to the agenda and briefing materials for the meeting will be posted below as they come available in January and February.

Please visit the PFMC’s website at https://www.pcouncil.org/  for details on their March and April meetings. 

For those attending in person, the meeting will be held in the auditorium of the OSU Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building on the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. No food or drink is allowed in the auditorium, so please plan accordingly.

Topic: 2024 Ocean Salmon Industry Group Meeting
Time: Feb 28, 2024; 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
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Meeting Materials: (will be posted here as they come available):

RECREATIONAL OCEAN SALMON ACTION NOTICE, September 19, 2023: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in consultation with the State of Oregon, the Pacific Fishery Management Council, and fishery representatives met today via conference call and have taken the following in-season management actions related to the ocean recreational non-mark selective coho salmon season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt.:
ACTIONS TAKEN:

  1. The remaining impact neutral rollover of coho remaining from the hatchery selective summer season was made to the non-mark selective September season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. This resulted in a net transfer of 2,000 coho and a revised quota of 42,500 coho for the September season.
  2. The ocean recreational salmon season between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mt. reopens to the retention of coho salmon effective Thursday, September 21 at 12:01 AM through the earlier of September 30 or the revised quota of 42,500 coho.

RATIONALE:
A provision included in the 2023 ocean adopted regulations for ocean salmon fisheries between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mt. allows for the transfer of quota remaining from the summer hatchery selective coho season to the September non-selective coho season on an impact neutral basis.  This year there are both commercial troll and recreational non-mark selective coho seasons within the area from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt.   The regulations this year stipulated that the transfer could be made to the recreational and/or the commercial troll seasons with a priority to the recreational season. 

This approved transfer utilizes the remaining coho available for transfer, and all rollover has been transferred to the recreational fishery. The commercial troll fishery is not approaching their quota of 10,000 coho, with catches from September 1-18 totaling 2,350 coho.  The most constraining stock in the transfer to the recreational fishery this season is the Oregon Coast Natural Coho, and the preseason impact rates on OCN coho are not exceeded by this transfer. 

The recreational fishery has taken 28,885 coho through September 17, with 8,014 landed in the week of September 11-17.  Forecasting the coho harvest for the remainder of the month starting on September 21 indicates that there is minimal risk to attain the remaining quota.  Managers will monitor the fishery for the remainder of September and will take additional inseason action if needed. 

 

 

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. A description of the ORBS design can be found here.

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 salmon harvest by the Oregon troll fishery has also seen dramatic fluctuations, the long term trend was one of increasing landings. The troll Chinook salmon 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 salmon and then Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon 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 salmon landings have equaled coho salmon, and in many years made up the majority of the catch. This is primarily due to lower coho salmon survival rates and much higher Chinook salmon survival rates and catch in the late 1980s. The commercial troll fishery has not had any significant coho salmon opportunity to the South of Cape Falcon since 1992, and Chinook salmon will predominate in the landings unless coho populations recover substantially to allow directed coho salmon 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 salmon 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 salmon and 501,300 coho salmon. 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 salmon and 7,176 coho salmon 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 salmon (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 salmon seasons were opened along the Central Coast in September. A result of strong recovery of the Oregon Coastal Natural (OCN) coho salmon; this opportunity in September has proven to be an effective management option to target the abundant OCN coho salmon while limiting fishery impacts on other coho salmon 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@odfw.oregon.gov

Justine Kenyon-Benson - Assistant Project Leader
E-mail: Justine.Kenyon-Benson@odfw.oregon.gov

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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