The Oregon Seal Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife mobile
 » ODFW Home    » Recreation Report
About Us Fishing Hunting Viewing License/Regs Conservation Living With Wildlife Education
Event Calendar Follow ODFW
Fishing, Hunting, Wildlife Viewing
Marine Zone Map

Weekly Recreation Report: Marine Zone


May 19, 2015

 Marine Zone Fishing

Huge Halibut
A nice halibut
-Photo by Matt Frank -

Weekend opportunities:

  • Pacific halibut anglers can try their luck in the Columbia River and the Southern Oregon subareas.
  • Ocean Chinook salmon fishing is open from Cape Falcon to the California Border.

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 and Other Management Designations

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:

 In addition to reserves, there are several other management areas to be aware of, such as the Stonewall Bank conservation area (west of Newport) and marine gardens, described in the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations (pages 94-98). Depth restrictions for bottomfish and Pacific halibut fishing are defined by waypoints.

Chinook Salmon
Chinook Salmon from Tillamook Bay
-Photo courtesy John Hardwicke-


Ocean recreational fishing is open for Chinook salmon from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. through Oct. 31, 2015, and from Humbug Mt. to the Oregon-California Border through Sept. 7. This season is open for all salmon except coho salmon, with a bag limit of two salmon per day, and minimum sizes for Chinook salmon at 24 inches or larger, and steelhead at 20 inches or larger. Fishing is slow.

Anglers are restricted to no more than two single-point barbless hooks when fishing for salmon and when fishing for any other species if a salmon is on board the vessel. 

Anglers fishing in ocean waters adjacent to Tillamook Bay between Twin Rocks and Pyramid Rock and within the 15-fathom depth contour are reminded that only adipose fin-clipped Chinook salmon may be retained or on board while fishing prior to Aug. 1.

Pacific Halibut

The Columbia River Subarea (Cape Falcon to Leadbetter Point, WA) all-depth season opened May 1, every Thursday through Sunday. The Columbia River Subarea nearshore fishery opened May 4, every Monday-Wednesday. Fishing is slow.

The Central Oregon Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt.) spring all-depth opener started slow on Thursday but picked up by Saturday. Catch estimates will be available later this week. The all-depth fishery in this subarea will be open again on May 28-30. Closer to home, the Central Coast Subarea nearshore fishery opens July 1.

The Southern Oregon Subarea (Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border) opened May 1, seven days per week. Fishing is slow.

Additional information about the sport halibut fishery.

Misc Fishing

Spring often finds saltwater surfperch species like pile surfperch moving into bays. Redtail and silver surfperch can be caught from ocean beaches throughout the year. Surfperch fishing tips

Bottom Fishing

Rockfish and lingcod catches were good again last week. Anglers out of Newport continue to report abundant squid, both visible in the water and in the stomachs of their rockfish; rockfish are also reportedly feeding on Velella velella, otherwise known as By-The-Wind-Sailor jellyfish, which are easily recognizable by their bright blue “sail.”

REMINDERS: Cabezon is closed through June 30, and the ocean is open for bottom fishing only inside of the 30-fathom regulatory line (30-fathom waypoints) April 1 through Sept. 30.

China Rockfish
China Rockfish
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

New for 2015. China, copper, and quillback rockfish (in addition to yelloweye rockfish) may not be retained.

New for 2015. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish, of which no more than three can be blue rockfish and no more than one can be a canary rockfish.

Anglers are urged to avoid canary rockfish (retaining one only if it is injured and caught incidentally while targeting other species such as black rockfish) and to use a descending device for any that are released. Although canary rockfish numbers are increasing, the population is not fully recovered. Releasing individuals that are not bleeding from the gills or showing signs of injury other than barotrauma will help preserve fishing opportunity for other species such as black rockfish and lingcod throughout the year.

Signs of barotrauma, such as bulging eyes and gut protruding from the fish’s mouth, result from the rapid change in pressure as fish are reeled to the surface. They are reversible when fish are returned to depth with a descending device, and ODFW encourages the release of canary rockfish with a descending device even if they exhibit signs of barotrauma, as long as they are otherwise uninjured.

See ODFW’s sport groundfish webpage for an underwater video of a fish recompressed and released by ODFW researchers, and an entertaining and informative video showing several different types of release devices (both videos are at the bottom of the page).

There are separate daily limits for lingcod (2) and flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25). Several handouts – including “What Can I Keep, and How Many?” and species identification tips – are available on the OFDW sport groundfish webpage.

Recreational shellfish safety status, as of May 18:

  • Recreational harvest of razor clams is closed along the entire Oregon coast from the Columbia River to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This closure includes all beaches and bays.
  • Recreational harvest of all shellfish (clams, mussels and scallops) is closed from the Columbia River to Tillamook Head (south of Seaside) due to elevated levels of domoic acid. The closure applies to all beaches and bays.
  • Recreational harvest of mussels is also closed from Cascade Head (north of Lincoln City) to the north jetty of the Rogue River (at Gold Beach on the south coast) due to elevated levels of Paralytic Shellfish Toxin. This closure includes all beaches, jetties, rocks and bays. 
  • Recreational harvest of bay clams (but not razor clams) is open from Tillamook Head (south of Seaside) to the California border. Scallops are not affected by this closure when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreationally-caught scallops is not recommended. Crabs are not affected by this closure and remain safe to eat, however it is recommended you do not eat the 'butter' (or viscera). 
  • Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers; samples show no 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 webpage.

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 Clams
Bay Clams
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Bay clams

May and June generally hold the best low tide series of the year and will provide many opportunities to dig gaper clams, cockles, and butter clams. Coos Bay, Yaquina Bay, Netarts Bay, and Tillamook Bay are four bays where bay clams can be taken if not affected by shellfish safety closures. Recent stock assessments have revealed abundant populations and that current harvest levels are sustainable.

See ODFW’s bay clam webpage for more information on where and how to dig, clam ID, etc.


One ocean sport crabber out of Newport reported full pots but almost all were females. Otherwise, ocean crabbing is good and bay crabbing continues to improve, with crabbers having decent catch rates off the central coast last week. Bay and ocean crabbers might run into red rock crab as well as Dungeness crab. Red rock crab is a native species but is not present in all of Oregon’s bays. Good places to try are from the docks in Tillamook Bay, Yaquina Bay, and Coos Bay.

Red rock crab are caught just like Dungeness and have a larger daily limit (24); check out these “How to Crab” tips. Unlike Dungeness crab, any size or sex of red rock crab can be retained, but most crabbers keep only the largest ones which have much more meat than small ones.

Some sport crabbers sometimes 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).

Back to the top

 Marine Zone Wildlife Viewing

It’s a great time of year to see gray whales heading north with their calves. On a calm day, their blows can be easy to spot from a high vantage point on the shore, or take advantage of a whale-watching tour to see – and perhaps even smell – them from sea level.

A viewer at Gleneden Beach between Newport and Lincoln City reported very active whales spyhopping as well as waving pectoral fins and flukes in the air within easy spotting distance from shore.

Velella velella
-Wikipedia photo-


Velella velella are showing up on Oregon beaches. These blue or purple “By-the-wind sailors” are small pelagic jellyfish normally found offshore. Strong westerly winds bring them onto our beaches on occasion, mostly in the spring. Did you know that these tiny creatures are found throughout the Pacific, but their “sails” are oriented differently on each side of the ocean and north vs. south of the equator, so that each quadrant’s prevailing wind and current patterns help them stay in their preferred offshore locations? Learn more in a publication by Oregon Sea Grant.


Check out the Oregon Coast Birding Trail website for birding hotspots and self-guided itineraries for birders in any area of the Oregon Coast. Some especially 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 marbled murrelets, rhinoceros auklets and raptors can be seen throughout the year.

Back to the top

Zones: Northwest | Southwest | Willamette | Central | Southeast | Northeast | Snake | Columbia | Marine

Facebook Twitter RSS feed YouTube E-mail Sign Up

About Us | Fishing | Hunting | Wildlife Viewing | License / Regs | Conservation | Living with Wildlife | ODFW Outdoors

ODFW Home | Driving Directions | Employee Directory | Social Media | | File Formats

4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE   ::   Salem, OR 97302   ::    Main Phone (503) 947-6000 or (800) 720-ODFW [6339]

Do you have a question or comment for ODFW? Contact ODFW's Public Service Representative at:
Do you want to enter your opinion about a specific issue into the public record? Contact

   © ODFW. All rights reserved. This page was last updated: 05/20/2015 1:50 PM