63357 Boat Bason Road, Charleston, OR 97420


Bottom Fishing

When the weather allows, fishing during the winter and spring months for lingcod and rockfish can be fun and successful. Last week there were several reports of blue or green-colored lingcod being caught along the central coast. These blue or green-colored lingcod, sometimes called “Smurf lingcod” are safe to eat, the flesh turns white when cooked, and tastes the same as normal colored lingcod. The coloration comes from a bile pigment called biliverdin (also responsible for some of the coloration when people get a bruise), but how or why this pigment gets into the tissue of lingcod is unknown, although it may have something to do with what the lingcod is eating.

New bag and sub-bag limits for 2017: To stay within Federal allocations, and try to provide for year-round fishing opportunities, there are some changes to daily bag limits. Canary rockfish has been declared rebuilt and is now part of the 7 fish marine bag limit (no sub-bag limit). Black rockfish will have a sub-bag limit of 6 fish (out of the 7 fish daily bag, no more than 6 may be black rockfish). There is a 4 fish sub-bag limit for blue/deacon, China, copper, and quillback rockfish combined (out of the 7 fish marine bag, no more than 4 may be these species combined). The daily bag limit for lingcod remains at 2 fish and flatfish species, other than Pacific halibut, remains at 25 fish. Several handouts, including “What Can I Keep, and How Many?” (Updated for 2017) and species identification tips, are available on the ODFW sport bottomfish webpage.

Pacific Halibut

The 2017 halibut quota is up 16.7 percent from 2016, which should allow for some additional fishing days, depending on weather and catch rates.

Columbia River Subarea: The all-depth fishery opens Thursday, May 4, 2017, every Thurs-Sun until the quota is caught or Sept 30. The nearshore fishery opens May 8, 2017 every Mon-Wed until the quota is caught or Sept 30.

Central Oregon Coast Subarea: The nearshore fishery opens June 4, 2017 (June 1-3 are all-depth days, which supersedes the nearshore fishery), seven days per week until the quota is caught or Oct. 31. The staff spring all-depth “fixed” dates are: May 11-13, May 18-20, June 1-3, June 8-10, and June 15-17. If quota remains after those dates, back-up days may be available every other week. The summer all-depth fishery opens Friday, Aug 4, 2017, and every other Fri-Sat until the quota is caught or Oct 31.

Southern Oregon Subarea: Opens May 1, seven days per week until the quota is caught or Oct 31.

Shore and Estuary Fishing

There are many fishing opportunities from shore and inside the bays and estuaries of the Oregon coast. Public piers provide opportunities to catch surfperch, baitfish and bottomfish, see section above on bottomfish for new bag and sub-bag limits for 2017. Rocky ocean coastline and jetties provide the ideal habitat for greenling, rockfish, cabezon (closed until July 1, 2017), and lingcod. These areas are often fished by boat and from shore, and can be targeted with rod and reel or spear gun.

Recent reports are that there is good fishing for rockfish and perch near the jetties within Yaquina Bay. Be mindful of the wind and tide to make your fishing trip safe.

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. Rockfish, greenling and lingcod generally take cover during strong incoming and outgoing tides. 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.

Surfperch fishing near Coos Bay

Surfperch are a diverse group of fish that provide a variety of angling opportunities. Striped seaperch are found year-round in rocky areas like jetties; and ocean surf is the place to find redtail surfperch and silver perch. Surfperch Fishing (pdf).

The bag limit for surfperch is generous at 15 per day. However, a lot remains unknown about the status of surfperch populations off the Oregon Coast, so, as usual, take only what you will use.



Call the ODA shellfish safety hotline at 1-800-448-2474 before harvesting for the most current information about shellfish safety closures. Additional information is available from ODA’s Food Safety Program at (503) 986-4720 or the ODA shellfish closures website. Openings and closures listed below were accurate on April 25.

For everything you need to know about identifying and harvesting Oregon’s shellfish, including maps of individual estuaries that show where to crab and clam, see the recreational shellfish pages on the ODFW website.