Beginning July 1, 2018, the general marine fish bag limit will decrease from five(5) to four(4) fish per angler per day. The general marine fish bag limit includes all species of rockfish (yelloweye rockfish prohibited at all times), greenlings, skates, and all other marine species not listed on pages 81-82 of the 2018 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.
Angler effort through May is higher than has been seen in recent years, even the record high years of 2015 and 2017. Therefore, this reduction is necessary to try to keep total annual catches within quotas for several species, and reduce the risk of an early closure such as occurred in September 2017.
The daily bag limits for lingcod (2), flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25), and longleader trips/species (10) remain unchanged. The 1 fish sub-bag limit for cabezon will also remain, when cabezon is open (July 1st through December).
Anglers this year made 40,619 bottomfish trips through May (17,750 in May alone), compared to 24,080 for January-May last year, which until 2018 was the highest effort year on record. Angler effort is only expected to increase as summer fishing peaks.
Last year, recreational bottomfish closed on Sept. 18 after the annual quotas for several species were met early, the first in-season closure since 2004. The closure disrupted coastal charter businesses and anglers. (Typically, recreational bottomfish fishing is open all year, though effort significantly drops off after early fall.)
ODFW has been working to avoid another early closure this year by providing effort and catch rates at more frequent intervals and modeling impacts of various bag limit scenarios.
The Fish and Wildlife Commission heard testimony from coastal sportfishing businesses before deciding on the 5-fish bag limit when it set regulations back in December, with the understanding that in-season adjustments could be necessary to keep the season open through the end of the year.
On a more happy note, as of July 1st, cabezon became legal to keep with a daily limit of one cabazon at least 16-inches in length.
As of June 30th, finclipped coho are legal to keep in the ocean between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain. The season will close on
on September 3rd unless the quota of 35,000 finclipped cohos is met earlier. Finclipped cohos are legal all year in larger rivers like the Umpqua and ocean chinook longer than 24-inches are legal through October. Last week a number of chinook salmon were caught in the ocean off Winchester Bay and a few early fall chinooks were caught in the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay.
Tuna have been showing up for the last couple of weeks in Newport and Charleston and the fish have been reachable – even for boats launching out of Winchester Bay. One recent report had the tuna 13 miles west of the “Bandon High Spot”. Most of the recent tuna reports had the tuna no more than about 50 miles out – but that can quickly change.
As for the Spring All-Depth halibut season— through the “fixed openings” the total landings are 109,111 pounds; 44,446 pounds landed during the last fixed opening. This leaves 26,631 pounds or 19.6 % of the spring all-depth quota remaining. This is enough to allow for 2 back-up dates, Friday,July 6 and Saturday, July 7 to be open. There will be an announcement by noon on Friday, July 13 if enough quota remains for any additional back-up dates, after those first 2 back-up dates. Remaining back-up dates are July 19, 20 and/or 21.
The Umpqua River pinkfin run is still going on and it appears that it may last several more weeks – if the reports of relatively undeveloped baby perch in the adult female perch being cleaned are accurate. Recent perch fishing reports indicate tough fishing, but it seems that at least a few boats each day are getting close to their legal boat limits.
A minor work project on the Coast Guard Pier at Winchester Bay has been completed and crabbers are, once again, able to crab off of it.
There still seems to be quite a bit of striper fishing pressure on the Smith River, but it is most likely a result of very good May fishing rather than recent fishing success. Striper fishing on the Coquille River has been gradually improving, but almost all of the recent catches have been smaller fish.
Shad fishing success on the Umpqua River has dropped off except at Sawyer’s Rapids where some anglers are catching more than 50 shad per day. Smallmouth bassfishing has generally been very good, but there was a temporary lull last week that was most noticeable on the South Umpqua. Suspended weeds and algae are causing an increasing amount of grief to both shad and bass anglers.
Crappie anglers willing to travel might consider Owyhee Reservoir in eastern Oregon and Prineville Reservoir in central Oregon where 100 fish days are possible – but few fish measure ten inches or more. Brownlee Reservoir on the Snake River is not fishing great for crappie numbers, but many of the crappies are 12-inchers.
A Swiss law that takes effect March 1 bans the common cooking method of tossing a live lobster into a pot of boiling water, quickly killing the tasty crustacean. That practice is being outlawed because the Swiss say it’s cruel and lobsters can sense pain.
The first such national legislation of its kind in the world calls for a more humane death for lobsters: “rendering them unconscious” before plunging them into scalding water. Two methods are recommended: electrocution or sedating the lobster by dipping it into saltwater and then thrusting a knife into its brain.
The same law also gives domestic pets further protections, such as dogs can no longer be punished for barking.
The measure is part of the broad principle of “animal dignity” enshrined in Switzerland’s Constitution, the only country with such a provision. The Constitution already protects how various animal species must be treated.
Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.