Pete Heley Outdoors 11 / 23 / 2016

Oregon will have six free fishing, crabbing and clamming days in 2017. Those new fishing days will actually begin this year over Thanksgiving Weekend. The four additional free days were granted courtesy of the Oregon legislature in 2015. The additional days will be split up in two day increments for Thanksgiving Weekend(Friday and Saturday) and on December 31st and January 1st. So in a five week period this winter “outdoorsy” people in Oregon will have four new days to enjoy outdoor recreation without needing a fishing or shellfish license. or a tag

ODFW spokesperson Rick Hargrave stated “while the weather can be challenging at Thanksgiving, fall can be a great time to go trout fishing: many ponds and lakes have been stocked this fall and fish are feeding hungrily for the winter. In addition, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is waiving day use fees at state parks (Friday only), some of which include great fishing opportunities.

“We’re hoping anglers have so much fun and success at this free fishing weekend, they’ll want to participate in a second free fishing weekend scheduled for Dec. 31 and Jan. 1,” Hargrave said.

The new free fishing days probably will not result in many additional license sales, but is intended to introduce new anglers to fishing, clamming and crabbing. It should increase tourism from nearby states and allow visitors to sample Oregon’s wonderful outdoor recreational opportunities before buying a fishing or shellfish license. Although there were no additional trout plants slated for this year’s Thanksgiving Weekend event, there will almost certainly be in future years.

Crabbing was still surprisingly productive at Winchester Bay last week, but last week’s rainfall probably won’t help. If crabbing success at Winchester Bay falls off, Coos Bay and especially Charlston at the bottom end of Coos Bay should remain saltier and more productive.

Smaller largemouth bass up to two pounds were surprisingly active in Tahkenitch Lake last week and there are still fair numbers of bass anglers fishing Tenmile Lakes each day. Barring a major cold snap, both largemouth bass and yellow perch should continue biting in local lakes.

Ocean crabbing becomes legal again on Dec. 1st and the new fishing and hunting regulations for 2017 should be available at license venders around that date.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.

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