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.
Stonewall Bank Underwater ROV Cruise near Newport
-Video by ODFW-
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:
Fishing for bottomfish like yellowtail rockfish and lingcod continues to be spotty, and rough conditions have kept anglers off the ocean, but anglers don’t despair: bottom fishing in winter can be very productive.
The ocean is open to bottom fishing at all depths.
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.
From Cape Falcon south to Humbug Mountain, Chinook salmon fishing remains open through the end of October. Catches have been very spotty, and anglers are likely to have best success in waters near river mouths targeting fish returning to local rivers.
The Chetco River Fall Chinook Ocean Terminal Area season ran from Oct. 1-12 and is now closed.
Huge Razor Clam
-Photo by Matt Hunter, ODFW-
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.
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 Oct. 21:
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 -
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! 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.
Gray whale sightings remain plentiful up and down the coast. The blow, or spout, is the most common sign of gray whale activity in the area. When warm, moist air exhaled from the whales’ lungs meets the cool air at the ocean surface, it creates a bushy, V-shaped blow characteristic of gray whales. A gray whale's blow is up to 15 feet high and is visible for about five seconds. Anticipate that the whale will dive for three to six minutes, then surface for three to five blows in a row, 30 to 50 seconds apart, before diving deep for three to six minutes again.
Boaters in the vicinity of gray whales might also get a view of their tail, or flukes. Before making a long, deep dive, a gray whale often displays its 12-foot wide fan-shaped flukes. The weight of the tail above the whale's body helps the whale to dive deep. See the guidelines for watching marine mammals (pdf) from boat or shore without causing disturbance.
NOAA Fisheries has more information on gray whales and other marine mammals.
Pacific Ridley Sea Turtle
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.
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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