SALEM — The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the 2016 Oregon sport fishing regulations at its meeting in Seaside on Friday.
Under the regulations adopted, anglers should find it easier to navigate the rules for trout and warmwater fishing, thanks to fewer special regulations creating different seasons, gear restrictions and bag limits for different waters.
These changes are the result of an almost year-long effort by ODFW staff to streamline and simplify the fishing rules. Mike Gauvin, ODFW recreational fisheries manager, told the Commission that overly complex regulations is one of the most common complaints among anglers.
Some of the changes for 2016 include:
- Eliminating of the April trout opener — most of these waters will now be open year-round.
- Setting the May trout opener at May 22 each year, ensuring that trout fishing statewide would always be open Memorial Day weekend.
- Removing the bag limit on non-native brown and brook trout in streams statewide, though some exceptions will still apply.
- Simplifying language, including replacing the terms “adipose fin-clipped” and “non adipose fin-clipped” with “hatchery” and “wild.”
- Removing bag limits for warmwater fish in the Columbia, John Day and Umpqua rivers.
In addition to the regulation changes, there also will be a new format for the regulations booklet that will make it easier to read. The 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations will be available in early December 2015.
The Commission approved the 10-year update of the Oregon Conservation Strategy (Strategy), including the Oregon Nearshore Strategy component. These documents are broad, overarching strategies for voluntary conservation of Oregon’s native fish, wildlife and marine resources. Both documents were updated with new scientific technology and information, and had extensive technical and public review and input over the last year.
Along with updating the Strategy Species and Habitat sections, refining Conservation Opportunity Areas (COA) was a major focus of the Strategy revision. These areas are key landscapes where voluntary conservation actions will have the most impact on conserving native species.
The Nearshore component was better incorporated into the Strategy resulting in several changes. Species lists and habitats were modified and estuaries were included in the Nearshore Strategy. The revision also will include supplements on potential effects of global climate change and ocean acidification.
The Oregon Conservation Strategy including the Nearshore component will be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Oct. 1 and available in a new web application upon USFWS approval.
The Commission also updated the rules for commercial bay clam harvest. The current commercial harvest rules had been in place since 1995. The new rules are based on recent fisheries landings and stock assessment data, and include adjustments to commercial landing quotas, minimum sizes, species taken, and allowable harvest areas. This integrated package of shellfish actions will improve the management of these species and reduce potential conflicts between different user groups.
Finally, the Commission approved funding for three Access and Habitat projects that will provide hunter access.