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Weekly Recreation Report: Marine Zone


July 15, 2014

 Marine Zone Fishing


There is an error in the 2014 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations book in the waypoint for the Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area (YRCA). On page 105, the latitude for waypoints 3, 4 and 5 are incorrect. The map for the YRCA on page 105, however, is correct. The waypoints for the Stonewall bank YRCA are the same as in previous years. The waypoints for the YRCA on the ODFW web site are correct.

Here are the correct coordinates (the bold and underlined minutes are corrected from the 2014 regulations book):

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

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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. Sign up and enter your phone for text alerts and e-mail information to subscribe to email updates. 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:


Catches averaged from a high of almost eight fish per angler out of Charleston to an average of four fish out of Bandon, Garibaldi and Winchester Bay to less than one fish per angler at Newport and Depoe Bay. Most years tuna move to within 20 miles of the coast, but around August they tend to become harder to catch.

Huge Halibut
A nice halibut
-Photo by Matt Frank -

Pacific Halibut

The Nearshore Season (inside the 40-fathom line) opened July 1 seven days a week until the quota is taken or Oct. 31. Catches ranged from about four halibut for every 10 anglers out of Garibaldi to one for every 10 anglers out of Newport. As of July 10, 85 percent of the quota remains for that fishery.

The Summer Pacific halibut all-depth seasons between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain is closed until the opens Aug 1 and 2. The all-depth halibut fishery continues every other Friday and Saturday until quota is attained.

The small percentage of quota left over from the spring season will roll over into other halibut seasons.

A complete map of the sport halibut regulations for 2014 is available on the sport halibut webpage.

Columbia River Subarea (from Leadbetter Point to Cape Falcon) is open inside the 40-fathom line on days when the all-depth halibut fishery is closed (Monday through Wednesday).

As of July 10, 5 percent of the all-depth quota and 88 percent of the nearshore quota remains for the Columbia River Subarea.

As of July 10, 47 percent of the quota remains for the Southern Oregon Subarea (Humbug Mountain to the Oregon-California border).

Bottom Fishing

Fishing for bottomfish remains good coast wide when weather permits with most anglers returning with four or five rockfish. Lingcod catches are about one fish for every two anglers.

The cabezon season opened July 1. The limit is one fish per day as part of the seven marine fish bag.

The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve (defined by coordinates) is closed to bottom fishing from April 1 to Sept. 30.
The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish. 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.

Ocean Fishing
Ocean Fishing
-Photo by Jessica Sall-

Ocean Salmon

Ocean salmon fishing is picking up in most Oregon ports. Coho are the predominant fish north of Winchester bay. In Astoria the catch per angler was 1.8 fish with fewer than 10 percent of those being Chinook. Depoe Bay and Newport anglers returned with less than one coho per angler. Nine out of 10 anglers targeting salmon out of Brookings caught a salmon with 80 percent of the catch being Chinook.

Tremendous returns of Chinook are forecast for the Columbia River this summer and should provide great fishing both in the ocean and the Columbia River in August.

Thanks to improved hatchery and naturally-produced coho populations, the 2014 ocean coho seasons should provide the most time on the water for coho fishing since the 2010 season. Fishery managers expect selective fishing for fin-clipped hatchery coho beginning in late June to be very good along the Oregon Coast, especially from Bandon north to the Columbia River. The Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain non-selective coho season will open on Aug. 30 to coincide with Labor Day weekend.

Summary of the Ocean Seasons:

North of Cape Falcon to Leadbetter Point, Washington

  • Recreational season for all salmon from June 14-Sept. 30 with a two fish limit, of which only one can be a Chinook and all coho must be fin-clipped. Quota of 92,400 coho with 13,100 Chinook guideline.

South of Cape Falcon

  • Sport Chinook from Cape Falcon south to Humbug Mountain open March 15 through Oct. 31, and from Humbug Mountain to the Oregon-California border open May 10 through Sept. 7.
  • Sport fin-clipped coho open June 21-Aug. 10 (quota of 80,000 coho) from Cape Falcon south to Oregon-California border
  • Sport non-selective coho from Aug. 30 through Sept. 30 with a quota of 20,000. Open from Cape Falcon south to Humbug Mountain.

Razor Clam

Razor Clams
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-


Razor clams

The Clatsop beaches annual conservation closure started July 15. Since 1967 ODFW has closed the 18 miles of beaches north of Tillamook Head to razor clam digging, while young clams establish themselves on the beach during the summer.

There are still opportunities to razor clam along the Oregon coast. Cannon Beaches, Cape Meares, Agate Beach, North Jetty, South beach, Bob’s Creek, Bastendorff, North Spit, Bailey Beach and Myers Creek are some of the most consistent. The beaches with the best opportunity are around Newport.

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 clam harvesting can be very difficult because the clams tend to show much less in those conditions. When referencing tide tables, Clatsop beach razor clam harvesters should use the tide gauge at the Columbia River entrance.

Recreational shellfish safety status as of July 15:

  • As of June 20 the entire Oregon coast is closed to recreational mussel harvesting due to elevated levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning. All other recreational shellfish harvesting is open.
  • 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.

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 crabbing is picking up in most Oregon bays and estuaries. Tillamook and Alsea bays are particularly good. Crabbing is also good in the ocean from Bandon to Winchester Bay. Shellfish biologists say crabbing is much better this year than last. The best months for bay crabbing in Oregon are August through November, although success usually declines after significant rainfall as estuary salinity drops.

The ODFW crabbing report shows average number of legal-sized Dungeness crab per person in various bays by month over the past year through September.

Crabbing in the ocean opened Dec. 1.

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

Atlas of Steller sea lion haul-out areas in Oregon

Atlas of Steller sea lion haul-out areas in Oregon

Get to know Oregon’s quiet sea lions

Oregon has a healthy population of Steller sea lions; healthy enough that they were delisted from the Threatened and Endangered list. Although larger, they are much less boisterous than their cousin, the California sea lion. California sea lions and harbor seals are also more common and tolerant of people than Stellers.

Steller sea lion haul-outs are offshore, so most people probably don’t see them. You can see some spectacular aerial photos taken by ODFW’s Marine Mammal program at the atlas of Oregon’s Steller sea lion haul-out sites.

Most of the sites in the atlas are off shore and difficult to see, but two sites – Cape Arago and the Sea Lion Caves – are accessible to Steller sea lion watchers.

Seabird nesting in full swing

From mainland areas that overlook coastal rocks and islands you can see bald eagles attack nesting common murres. Around 600,000 common murres return to each spring to Oregon’s wind-blown islands to raise their single chick.

Bald Eagles regularly fly out to these islands to kill a murre to feed their own chicks creating panic in the common murre colony. As the murres flee to avoid the eagles, ravens, crows and gulls often swoop in to make a meal of murre eggs and chicks.

Great places to view this wildlife spectacle 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.


April, May, June, July best time to see Puffins. Best Place is Haystack Rock because it’s so close.

Tufted puffins are back on the Oregon Coast to nest for the summer and most of them are found on Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge. This sanctuary about two miles south of Cape Meares and one-half mile offshore west of Oceanside in Tillamook County. The three large rocks and six smaller ones make up the refuge, which is home to 12 species of seabirds breed here totaling 226,093 birds. This includes 30 percent of the Common murres breeding in Oregon and 21 percent of all common murres breeding in the eastern Pacific south of Alaska. This site also harbors 60 percent of the tufted puffin breeding population in Oregon. More than 800 brown pelicans have been seen here roosting and up to 13 bald eagles have been observed preying on seabirds.

Three Arch Rocks NWR can best be viewed from the mainland at Cape Meares and at Oceanside. To prevent disturbance to extremely sensitive seabirds, Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge is closed to public entry year-round and waters within 500 feet of the refuge are closed to all watercraft from May 1 through September 15.

Velella velella
-Wikipedia photo-

Purple sailors land

Thousands of velella velella, purple sailors or by-the-wind sailor jelly fish washed up on the beach near Beaver Creek in south Lincoln County. Some also washed up on Horsfall Beach north of Coos Bay.

Velella is an offshore resident. Winds blowing gently against its triangular, clear sail move the jellyfish. The sail is set diagonally to the long axis of the animal. On our side of the north Pacific Ocean, their sails are set in a northwest to southeast direction. On the other side of the north Pacific, the sails are set in a northeast to southwest direction. In the southern hemisphere, sails are reversed. As long as the winds blow gently, Velella tacks at about 45˚ away from a following wind. This keeps the animal offshore.

When winds are strong, Velella loses its tacking ability and begins spinning and more directly follows the wind. Strong westerlies, then, are what drive these animals onto our beaches.

All jellyfish have stinging cells in their tentacles. Most people are not bothered by touching one from our beaches with their hands. You should not rub your eyes or put a finger in your mouth after handling them, however.

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