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Commission to change fishing rules

Statesman Journal

Beginning in 2004, no more than two dozen crabs can be held in a holding pot under new rules adopted recently in Oregon. Here, Hap Ness of Siletz throws out a crab ring at Newport’s South Beach Marina.

Catch limits on sturgeon and other species set for 2004.

Statesman Journal
August 12, 2003

In 2004, anglers will be able to keep five sturgeon, instead of the current 10 a year.

Cutting the annual sturgeon bag limit in half was one of a package of fishing rule changes for next year that were approved Friday by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Other highlights include the tweaking of the wording in the definition of “fin clip,” and restrictions on keeping native spring chinook on the Rogue River, and reduce the annual sturgeon bag limit to five fish.

Here is a rundown, by zones, of rules that go into effect Jan. 1:


The cut in the annual sturgeon bag limit from 10 to five fish a year.

That rule originally was considered for the Columbia River as a conservation measure to extend the seasons and allow more people to take home fish.

But solutions to a mixed five-Columbia, 10-elsewhere sturgeon limits — separate harvest tags for each, physically tagging each Columbia fish taken home, mandatory check stations — were considered unwieldy, costly and potentially confusing from an enforcement standpoint .

The definition for “fin clip” to identify hatchery salmon, steelhead and trout will change to “a healed scar where a fish fin has been clipped.”

The change allows anglers to keep hatchery fish with partial fin clips.

In most fisheries, nearly all of the hatchery fish have a fin clip to distinguish them from native fish from the wild.

Willamette Zone

In order to keep them, trout from Hills Creek Reservoir in the upper Willamette River drainage must have an adipose fin clip beginning in 2004.

The change is designed to better protect wild bull trout.

Northwest Zone

Fishing will be allowed for fin-clipped hatchery spring chinook salmon from lower Columbia River tributaries and other specific areas.

The change allows for more fishing for spring chinook in the lower river.

Spring chinook from the Klaskanine, Lewis and Clark, and Youngs rivers will need to have a left ventral fin-clip rather than the more usual adipose fin-clip.

Marine Zone

Tuna anglers will be allowed to chum and use multiple rods when fishing offshore more than three miles.

The bag limit for tuna and other “pelagic” species affected by the new rule is 25 a day.

The daily bag limit for surf perch will drop from 25 to 15 a day. The conservation measure brings Oregon into line with Washington’s daily bag limit.

The allowed number of crabs that can be kept in a holding pot in bays and estuaries will change to no more than 24 crabs in each holding pot.

The limit is designed to cut down on crab mortality in crowded pots.

Columbia Zone

Keeping sockeye salmon is banned under a new, permanent rule for the zone.

If sockeye numbers passing Bonneville Dam are 75,000 or more, commissioners would consider a temporary rule to allow anglers to keep sockeye.

With 100 percent of hatchery spring chinook fin-clipped, be-ginning in 2004, you will be able to keep spring chinook with an adipose fin-clip or left ventral fin-clip in the Youngs Bay, Blind Slough and Knappa Slough on the lower Columbia.

Southwest Zone

The bag limits for fall chinook in the Rogue River will be two salmon a day, 20 per year.

The increase was approved because biologists said that data indicates the populations have recovered to a healthy status.

While fall-run limits are raised, the allowed catch of wild spring chinook salmon in the Rogue will be cut because those populations have declined.

The river will be open for hatchery, adipose fin-clipped salmon the entire year.

And one unclipped chinook salmon may be kept a day, three a season, from the mouth upstream to Whiskey Creek Jan. 1 through May 31, and from Whiskey Creek upstream to the markers located downstream from Cole Rivers Hatchery diversion dam Jan. 1 through July 31.

The “Hatchery Hole” on the Rogue from McGregor Park upstream to the deadline at Cole Rivers Hatchery closes to fishing at 7 p.m. during the spring chinook season.

That change was necessary to reduce illegal fishing activities, enforcement officials said.
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