Regulation Updates as of May 5, 2018
These are in-season regulation changes adopted on a temporary or emergency basis. Please see e-regulations for permanent regulations.
See Pacific halibut section below or the sport halibut webpage for additional information
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.
There were several reports in the last couple of weeks of rockfish “boiling on the surface,” however they were hard to catch. There appears to be plenty of feed in the water, mainly crab larvae, which makes the rockfish a bit tougher to catch as they currently have plenty of food available. Reports indicate that lingcod are on the bite, with some good size fish still being caught. Several reports of lingcod with full stomachs of squid. Reminder that as of Sunday, April 1, the bottomfish fishery is restricted to inside of the 30 fathom regulatory line.
The longleader gear fishery outside of the 40 fathom regulatory line has been authorized to continue in April through September. Recent catches from the offshore longleader trips often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow and canary rockfishes. Reminder that the Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area is closed to all bottomfish trips, including longleader trips.
For additional regulation information, see the Sport Groundfish Seasons webpage.
The Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation area, approximately 15 miles west of Newport, is closed to bottomfish (groundfish) and halibut fishing year round.
Vessels fishing for or retaining bottomfish (including flatfish) species are required (1) to have onboard a functioning rockfish descending device, and (2) use it to descend any rockfish released when fishing outside of the 30-fathom regulatory line. For more information and videos, please see the rockfish recompression webpage.
In addition to the descending device rule, ODFW continues to encourage anglers to use a descending device when releasing ANY rockfish with signs of barotrauma. Signs of barotrauma, such as bulging eyes and a gut protruding from the mouth, are reversible when fish are returned to depth with a descending device. Use a descending device to safely return fish to a depth of 60 feet or more. Even fish that are severely bloated can survive after being released at depth.
Recreational Pacific halibut fisheries began opening on May 1. Reminder that similar to the bottomfish fishery listed above, descending devices are mandatory when fishing for or retaining Pacific halibut. Weather for the first set of fixed dates for the Central Oregon Coast spring all-depth fishery was not great. For those who were able to make it out, early reports indicate that fishing was a bit scratchy. The next fixed dates are May 24-26.
Columbia River Subarea (Leadbetter Point, WA to Cape Falcon, OR)
Central Oregon Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain)
Southern Oregon Subarea: opened May 1, seven days per week until Oct. 31 or quota attainment, whichever is earlier. Quota = 8,982 lbs.
Additional information and details can be found on the 2018 Halibut Season map.
Sport salmon fishing for Chinook in ocean waters from Cape Falcon (just North of Nehalem Bay) to Humbug Mt. (just South of Port Orford) is open for two salmon per day (all salmon except coho). Minimum sizes are 24-inches for Chinook and 20-inches for steelhead.
Sport salmon fishing for Chinook opens this Saturday, May 19 in ocean waters from Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA border. The bag limit is two salmon per day (all salmon except coho). Minimum sizes are 24-inches for Chinook and 20-inches for steelhead.
Anglers are also reminded that within the 15 fathom depth contour off Tillamook Bay (Twin Rocks to Pyramid Rock) that all Chinook salmon must have a healed fin clip. Salmon fishing has been very slow to date.
Details for the Ocean Salmon season are available at: www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/salmon/regulations/regindex.asp
When fishing from shore or inside estuaries and bays, it is important to check the tide. Many fish that swim into estuaries and bays, including salmon, surfperch, and Pacific herring, tend to come in with the tide. Catch of these species is more likely to occur closer to slack tide. Additionally, the accessibility of some areas can be completely dependent on the tide. Do not allow the incoming tide to become a safety hazard.