The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced two changes to recreational bottomfishing rules, which took effect on Monday, July 20. The daily bag limit for general marine species has increased from five to seven fish, and anglers must release copper, quillback and China rockfish when fishing from a boat.
Catch of black, blue and deacon rockfish is projected to be under the annual quotas. Because these species make up the majority of catch in the bottomfish fishery, the bag limit can be increased, providing anglers with additional harvest opportunity.
Because catch of copper, quillback and China rockfish will exceed the annual quota early, retention is prohibited as of July 20 when fishing from a boat. Harvesting these fish from shore is infrequent, contributing a very small amount of mortality and is excluded from the retention closure, although ODFW encourages releasing these fish uninjured.
A group of 11 nearshore rockfish species are managed together, and copper, quillback and China rockfish are the most commonly caught (and relatively easily identified), representing 98 percent of the total catch of the group. Other species in this group, including brown and gopher rockfish, are rarely caught and are not affected by the retention closure.
Use of a descending device to release rockfish is required when fishing deeper than 30 fathoms, and it is recommended at any depth for fish that are not able to submerge on their own.
Information is available online at myodfw.com/sport-bottomfish-seasons, and rockfish identification tips and an ID quiz can be found at myodfw.com/articles/rockfish-identification-tips.