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Norma Evans Lingcod

Norma Evans with a lingcod catch on March 18, 2019 while aboard Fishin' Trips Charters.

Howdy everyone! Winter keeps trying to come back and bring a little cold and rain but the days are little by little getting sunnier and warmer. One day this past week I didn’t even have to have the pellet stove running in the shop and soon it will be shut down for the season.

We’re hearing of some decent steelhead catches for those that know where and when to go, blue Pacific perch are coming into our bay and ling cod are beginning their spawning behaviors. Crabbing seems to be steady and good both in the bay and ocean and rockfish are getting caught in greater numbers as of late.

Speaking of rockfish, it’s not unusual to see a decline in the number of rockfish being caught in the early spring and this is due in part to the recent time change. Almost like clockwork, the day after March 10 when we set our clocks ahead, the rockfish bite slows to a near stop. This phenomenon has been experienced for years but is rarely considered by those outside the commercial fisheries. Commercial fishermen that are at the top of their game sometimes refer to this period as their “spring break” as it is often not worth the effort to chase their quarry until the unsettling effects of our twice-yearly time change have subsided. Our local fish are thrust into a physiological turmoil this time of year. Unsure whether they should sleep, swim, or feed, these poor animals often lose weight and succumb to sickness after days and nights of insomnia and anti-social behavior. These behaviors seem to be at their worst in the mornings and evenings when their circadian rhythms are most thrown into disarray.

In a recent interview with ODFW biologist Joseph Hora, we learned that his agency is quite familiar with this phenomenon and have thus far spent countless millions of dollars and several years studying it. When asked exactly why this time change has the negative effects on our fish as it does Hora was quoted as saying “I don’t know, none of us really do but what we can confirm is that we need more funding to study it. Maybe it’s something to do with the Earth’s rotation.” Hora also stated that if they had more biologists working on this project, “We could definitely study the heck out of this thing and possibly even lower the rockfish quota more than we have in recent years.”

For now sport anglers and commercial fishermen will have to be satisfied with the fact that the negative effects do eventually subside and our fisheries do indeed return to normal.

Whether you are fishing for sleepy rockfish or reading this April Fools edition of my article, I hope to see you out there.

Basin Tackle Rob or “BTR” is the owner of Basin Tackle www.basintackle.net in the Charleston Oregon Marina and can be reached by phone at (541) 888-FISH, by Facebook at Basin Tackle Charleston, or e-mail at basin_tackle@yahoo.com. Robs fishing reports can be heard daily at 6:20 am and 4:20 pm on KRSB Best Country 103 in Roseburg and his Basin Tackle Outdoor Show can be heard Wednesdays at 3 pm on kwro.com. In addition to this he sometimes actually gets out and catches a fish or two.

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