Anglers are reminded that a shellfish license is required to harvest all shellfish except fresh water clams and crayfish.
Springtime provides excellent marine fishing opportunities. Catch rates for near shore species of ground fish are often best in spring, and several species are available from ocean and bay shores and jetties. In particular, lingcod, greenling, black rockfish, and perch species are popular with anglers. Black rockfish and lingcod are often on the bite after recently completing their annual spawning cycle.
The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish, of which no more than 1 may be a cabezon from April 1 through Sept. 30. There are separate daily limits for lingcod (two) and flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25).
- Photo by bob Swingle-
Tillamook Bay and jetty: Lingcod, rockfish, greenling, and perch can be caught along the jetties of Tillamook Bay. Crabbing also is available in the bays and the ocean.
Coos County beaches and jetties: Redtail and silver surfperch, sand sole and starry flounder are biting in the spring and early summer. Striped bass can be a welcome surprise to those surfperch anglers casting in the surf. Anglers will find a mix of pile, white, and striped surfperch in Coos Bay around structures and along the Coos jetties in the spring and early summer. Also available are grass, black, blue, and copper rockfish, rock and kelp greenling, cabezon, lingcod, and starry flounder. Current regulations prohibit retention of yelloweye and canary rockfish and require a 10-inch minimum for greenling. Cabezon retention is prohibited by all anglers until July 1. Retention of cabezon is allowed July 1 through Sept. 30. Sardines, anchovies, and herring are often caught in spring and early summer off docks and piers around Coos Bay, when large schools enter the estuary. Razor clams are presently open coastwide; however, contact the Department of Agriculture’s Shellfish Hotline at 1-503-986-4728 for more information on periodic clamming closures.
Curry County beaches: Redtail, striped and silver surfperch are available in the spring and early summer. The most popular beaches are located at the mouth of Hunter Creek, Winchuck River, Elk River and at Nesika Beach. You can also catch surfperch from the Rogue River jetties.
Offshore opportunities also include coho salmon and Pacific halibut.
With improvements in the status of Sacramento and Klamath fall chinook, Oregon received another liberal chinook fishery with large quotas for fisheries north of Cape Falcon and more fishing days south of Cape Falcon. Managers are also predicting a strong Oregon coastal wild coho return and the opportunity for sport anglers to harvest wild coho south of Cape Falcon.This will allow for similar fishing opportunity to the 2012 season. Ocean chinook salmon fishing from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain opened March 15 and continues at least throughApril 30. All retained chinook salmon must be 24 inches or larger. The bag limit is two salmon per day, closed to retention of coho. Seasons coho and chinook from May 1 through April 30, 2014 are currently being developed. Season alternatives will be reviewed and a final season recommendation made at the Pacific Fishery Management Council public meeting in Portland, Oregon by April 11.
|A nice halibut
- Photo by Matt Frank -
May is a popular time for targeting Pacific halibut and Oregon’s quota, set by the International Pacific Halibut Commission, is about the same as last year. This year’s seasons are:
- North Coast (Leadbetter Point, Wash., to Cape Falcon): Spring All-Depth Halibut Season: Open May 3, three days per week, Friday-Sunday, through 9,516 pounds or the start of the summer season on Aug. 2.
- Central Coast (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain): Nearshore Season quota is 23,038 pounds. Open May 2, three days per week (Thursday-Saturday), inside the 40-fathom line (defined by waypoints) through the earlier of 23,038 pounds or Oct. 31. Spring All-Depth Season: Open May 9-11, May 16-18, May 30-June 1, and June 6-8. Backup days are June 20-22, July 4-6, and July 18-20.
- South Coast (south of Humbug Mountain): Open May 1, seven days per week, through Oct. 31.
The most up-to-date information
Clam diggers may harvest twice as many purple varnish clams in 2013 as they did in previous years, making it easier to dig a full meal of this small but tasty clam. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission increased the daily catch limit for purple varnish clams from 36 per day to 72 per day. The purple varnish clam is also known throughout the Pacific Northwest as the purple mahogany clam, the dark mahogany clam, the varnish clam, and the savory clam. Populations of purple varnish clams are well established in several Oregon bays and estuaries including Sand Lake, Siletz Bay, Alsea Bay, Siuslaw River estuary and Coos Bay.
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
Other bay clams – like the gaper, butter, littleneck, cockle, and softshell – are abundant in Oregon’s coastal estuaries and bays. Where and how to dig
Razor clams: Shellfish biologists predict another abundant year for razor clams with plenty of medium- and small-sized clams on the Clatsop beaches. The huge number of clams may be partly due to fewer diggers over the past few years. Not as many people seem to be willing to make the trip from the valley to dig recently. Where and how to dig for razor clams
This spring, several bays have better crabbing for Dungeness and red rock crab than in the ocean. However, during periods of rain, crabbing in bays may slow due to decreased salinity, but boat crabbers can still expect to land a few keepers. More crabbing information
Prohibitions at Oregon’s marine reserves at Redfish Rocks, near Port Orford, and Otter Rock, near Depoe Bay, went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012. 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.