Ocean Blue News
By Karisa Boyce
Free Fishing on The Oregon Coast to Celebrate Presidents Day
In just a few short days, you could be out fishing...for free! Both days of President’s Day Weekend, February 17th and 18th, there is no license or tag requirement to fish, crab, or clam!
Free fishing weekends in Oregon provide the perfect opportunity to get the whole family to the coast or your local river. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife offers up to 8 free fishing days every year. For 2018, these days include June 2nd and 3rd, September 1st and 2nd for Labor Day Weekend, and November 23rd and 24th before Thanksgiving. While there is no license or tag required for free fishing days, keep in mind that all other regulations still apply, which includes size restrictions and bag limits
If you decide to get your friends and families out on the Oregon Coast, you may also want to spend some time adventuring to check out the natural world, where you will find some of the most diverse marine ecology on Earth. The Oregon Coast is teeming with diverse wildlife in part because of the kelp forest and rock reefs situated along the coast. Such areas provide safe haven from strong ocean currents for many fish species, like greenlings, flatfish, and rockfish. Without these zones, many species would not be provided the shelter needed to survive.
Tidepools are another fun way to explore the diversity that the Oregon coast offers the world. You will find brown, red, and green algae along with many invertebrate animals, like sea cucumbers, sea urchins, barnacles, shrimp, crabs, limpets, sea stars, mussels, sea anemones, and sponges. If you are near Coos Bay, visit Sunset Bay State Park, or a little farther north at Strawberry Hill near yachats to visit some of the largest and most popular tidepool environments.
President’s Day weekend is also an opportune time for whale watching! If you plan to stay the night on the coast, you may decide to go fishing one day and take a whale watching boat tour the next day. The gray whale, orca, and humpback whale all migrate along the Oregon Coast between the end of December and the end of March. You may also see a harbor porpoise, one of the smallest marine mammals in the world that hangs out close to the coast and near river estuaries.
Other mammals on the Oregon Coast include seal species and sea lions. The most popular places to experience the sounds and sights of Stellar’s sea lion and harbor seals are at the Historic Bayfront in Newport or the Sea Lion Caves outside of Florence. If you happen to see a seal pup on a sandy beach, know that it is resting and is not to be disturbed. Not only is disturbing a seal or sea lion against the law, it keeps them from the important rest they need to survive in the Pacific Ocean. Before 2009 in Depoe Bay, not one single sea otter had been found in more than 103 years because fur hunters had wiped out their population.
So, don’t take this President’s Day weekend for granted! Grab your crab pots and your fishing rods and head to the water. Turn the weekend into a Valentine’s getaway and check out some tidepools and migrating whales while you’re at it! Enjoy your weekend and get ready to clean beaches. The National Beach Cleanup Initiative 2018 is coming! Which beach will you be cleaning?
Beach Cleanup Event you will not want to miss!
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