The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has closed all salmon fishing on the North Coast, between the Nestucca River and the Necanicum River, because of a recent die-off of fall Chinook salmon in the Wilson River near Tillamook and other area rivers.
The closure is necessary to protect remaining fall Chinook adults to allow them to reach spawning grounds, according to Robert Bradley, district fish biologist for ODFW’s North Coast Watershed District. “The observed pre-spawn mortality is on top of a reduced run of fall Chinook this year,” said Bradley. “We need to protect the remaining spawners to help provide for future runs of fall Chinook on the North Coast.”
Angling for all salmon is closed for the remainder of 2019 in the following areas: Necanicum River basin, Nehalem Bay and River (including the NF Nehalem), Tillamook Bay and rivers (Tillamook River, Trask River, Wilson River, Kilchis River and Miami River), and Nestucca Bay and River (including Three Rivers and the Little Nestucca River).
The pre-spawn mortality event appears to be limited to the North Coast. Assessments of other basins further south have not revealed any incidents of this kind. Due to this, no angling regulation changes are being made in other locations.
Low flow restrictions were lifted on four South Coast rivers in Curry County earlier this month. The closures had been in place for the Sixes, Elk, Winchuck and Chetco rivers after the historically dry fall.
Pistol River and Hunter and Floras creeks remain closed to angling and Chinook harvesting limits remain in place through Dec. 31, according to an ODFW release. In those rivers, as well as the Coquille River, one wild Chinook can be harvested per day, and no more than two total between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31.
In the Umpqua River, Chinook fishing was closed on Dec. 1. In addition, coho salmon that have not had their fins clipped cannot be retained, though two fin-clipped coho can be kept per day.
Steelhead fishing should start picking up soon in the river, following the rains last week.
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Trout fishing in the river is closed until Memorial Day next May.
In the ocean, bottomfishing is open to fish at all depths and fishing for lingcod and rockfish has been good. Cabezon and copper, quillback and China rockfish cannot be harvested by boat anglers, though share anglers can keep them (though ODFW encourages release), with a one cabezon a day limit.
Razor clamming closed
The Oregon Department of Agriculture and ODFW announced Friday that the entire Oregon coast is closed for commercial and recreational razor clamming due to elevated levels of the marine biotoxin domoic acid.
Mussel harvesting is closed from the south jetty of the Coquille River at Bandon to the California border for elevated levels of paralytic shellfish toxin. Mussel harvesting is open from the Columbia River to the north jetty of the Coquille River at Bandon.
Bay clams and crab are open for recreational harvesters along the entire Oregon coast.
For more information, please call ODA's shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures webpage.