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

Weekly Recreation Report: Marine Zone

 

November 18, 2014

 Marine Zone Fishing

Fishing Boats , Newport

Boats at the Newport Dock
-Photo by Bob Swingle-

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

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:

Pacific Halibut

The 2014 Pacific halibut seasons have all closed for the remainder of the year. The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) will set 2015 quotas for all areas in late January 2015. More information on the 2015 seasons will be available after that time.

Bottom Fishing

The ocean is open to bottom fishing at all depths.

Fishers have had a few days of nice (if cold) weather and ocean conditions recently, and central coast charter anglers have been successful with rockfish limits, including some nice “colorful” fish such as yellowtail and blue rockfish in addition to the common black rockfish, and good lingcod catches.  Two charters loaded up with 35-40 cm Pacific Mackerel on one day last weekend, and the mackerel themselves were “loading up” on large schools of bait fish (mostly anchovies). 

The sport cabezon season remains open because there is quota remaining and will likely continue through Dec. 31.

The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish, only one of which may be a cabezon while cabezon is open. There are separate daily limits for lingcod (two) and flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25).

Remember: yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish may not be retained.

The Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area, approximately 15 miles west of Newport, is closed to the take of rockfish, lingcod, flatfish and other species in the groundfish group. The waypoints are the same as in previous years but were misprinted on page 105 of the 2014 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations book.

The correct coordinates are:

ID       Latitude         Longitude
1        44o 37.46'      124o 24.92'
2        44o 37.46'      124o 23.63'
3        44o 28.71'     124o 21.80'
4        44o 28.71'     124o 24.10'
5        44o 31.42'     124o 25.47'

Razor Clams
Razor Clamming
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Shellfish

Razor clams

This year’s Clatsop beaches stock assessment survey found the highest number of razor clams since ODFW began conducting the surveys in 2004. About 16 million razor clams inhabit the 18-mile stretch of beach located between the Columbia River south jetty and Tillamook Head. This estimate of clam abundance is significantly greater than the previous peak of 9 million clams in 2005. The average size of clams was a little over 2 ½ inches, and only a few larger than 4-inches were found. Razor clams were distributed fairly evenly along the entire stretch of beach.

Due to the large number of small razor clams on the beach, diggers should be highly selective about which shows they pursue. Harvesters are reminded they must retain the first 15 clams regardless of size or condition.

During the fall and winter months, low tide series are in the evening so harvesters should plan ahead. Razor clam harvesters should pay close attention to the surf forecasts and be on the beach one to two hours before low tide. If the forecast calls for combined seas over 8 or 10 feet, razor clamming can be very difficult because the clams tend to show much less in those conditions.

Bay Clams

Low tides are now in the evenings. Low tides as high as +1.0 to +2.0 feet can still allow clamming opportunities, especially for purple varnish clams that can sometimes be found when the tide is as high as +4.0 feet. Sport clammers should be able to collect daily limits of cockles, gaper clams and butter clams from the popular sites in Tillamook Bay, Netarts Bay, Siletz Bay, Yaquina Bay, Alsea Bay, Coos Bay and several other locations along the coast.

Recreational shellfish safety status, as of Nov. 17:

  • Razor clams remain closed from the Oregon/California border north to Heceta Head (north of Florence) due to elevated levels of domoic acid. The closure includes razor clams on all beaches, rocks, jetties, and at the entrance to bays in this section of the Oregon Coast. Opportunities to collect razor clams are still available along Oregon beaches north of Heceta Head.
  • Mussels are open along the entire Oregon coast.
  • Due to potential biotoxins, consuming whole scallops is not recommended. However, a scallop’s adductor muscle does not accumulate biotoxins and may be safe for consumption. Scallops are not being sampled for 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 web page.

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.

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

Crabs

Recreational crabbing in the ocean is closed through Nov. 30. Bay crabbing remains open year-round; and, in fact, the best months for bay crabbing in Oregon are August through November! Yaquina Bay crabbing was described as good to spotty over last weekend. Keep in mind that major rain events can dramatically lower the salinity is some bays and prompt crab to move lower in the bay or out to the ocean.  Check out the monthly crabbing report for data by port. 

Crabbing is fun, but sometimes the cost, weight, and waiting can be a lot of work. Next time try a lightweight (and affordable) folding crab trap (e.g., a Crab Max or CrabHawk). Most commonly attached to a sturdy fishing rod or lightweight line, these traps are perfect for dock or shore crabbing. Just zip-tie a chicken leg for bait, cast or drop your line, and wait for a “tug.” With these traps, crabbers often check them every 5 minutes! Popular places to use lightweight folding traps are the mouth of Siletz Bay or Alsea Bay, and any public fishing pier.

Some sport crabbers 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 Viewing

Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle
-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-

Sea Turtles

Although several species of sea turtles occur in the ocean off the Pacific Northwest coast, they typically are not found on our beaches unless they are seriously sick or injured. Strandings that do occur in Oregon are often seen in late fall and early winter when ocean conditions are transitioning, possibly trapping turtles in colder waters, where they may become hypothermic.

Stranded sea turtles (and marine mammals) should be reported to the Oregon State Police Wildlife Division at 1-800-452-7888.

A trained response team will evaluate stranded turtles and transport them to an authorized rehabilitation facility, such as the Oregon Coast Aquarium, for appropriate treatment and, hopefully, release in warmer waters after recovery.

More information on this and other wildlife topics is available from the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Marine Mammals

They’re still out there, and they’ve been active!  A few recent sunny days and good ocean viewing conditions have offered plentiful gray whale sightings from shore, including lots of breaching activity, rewarding visitors who braved the cold east wind.  “Rafts” of California sea lions have been spotted hanging out just outside the surf zone at South Beach and Agate Beach in the Newport area.

Seabirds

The Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex is reporting what is being called a MEGA rare bird at Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge: a Tundra Bean Goose.  This may be the first time this species, normally found in Asia and Europe, has been seen in the lower 48 states.  In other avian news, Surf Scoters, regular winter visitors to Oregon, are returning in large numbers from their summer range in northern Canada and Alaska. Nicknamed “skunk-headed coots”, Surf Scoters are large, velvety black ducks with white patches on their heads and faces and colorful beaks.

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 abundant seabirds like loons, grebes and scoters can be seen in winter; and marbled murrelets, rhinoceros auklets and raptors are around all year.

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   © ODFW. All rights reserved. This page was last updated: 11/19/2014 10:10 AM