Tag Archives: oregon coast

ODFW Forming New Tillamook Bay Clam Advisory Committee, Taking Applications

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

ODFW seeks applicants for membership on the Tillamook Bay Clam Advisory Committee.

The Committee will provide recommendations to ODFW on balancing commercial and noncommercial take of bay clams, physical boundaries for commercial activities, and other rules related to bay clam harvest in Tillamook Bay. The Committee is mandated by Senate Bill 1025, passed earlier this year.

(ODFW)

People interested in serving can attend an informational meeting and get an application. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 16 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Oregon Department of Forestry Tillamook District Office, 5005 3rd St., Tillamook

Applications can also be downloaded at  this link or requested in-person at ODFW’s Tillamook, Astoria or Newport offices. The deadline to apply is Jan. 31, 2020.

The meeting will be hosted by staff from ODFW’s shellfish program. This program works to assess, monitor, and manage shellfish resources and their habitats to provide sustained ecological, commercial, social, and recreational benefits for present and future generations. For more information visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/shellfish/

Remembering Germany And Newport’s Jürgen Eckstein, Artist, Traveler, Father-in-law

Jürgen Eckstein was an interesting, quirky man to have had as a father-in-law, and it made him all the more special as I look back on the relatively brief time I was lucky to know him.

He passed away in late October near Corvallis, following a stroke the week before. He did not want to go on as anything less than the vibrant, creative, always-active soul that he was, and I don’t blame him one bit, though we miss him immensely.

Born in Germany and a resident of Hamburg, Cologne, Japan, Singapore, Southern California and, for nearly the past two decades, Newport on the Oregon Coast, Jürgen was going on 78 years old.

JUERGEN ECKSTEIN SURROUNDED BY HIS ARTWORK, NEWPORT, OREGON, BAYFRONT, LABOR DAY WEEKEND 2019. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

IT DOESN’T SEEM possible that he’s gone. For someone in their late 70s, he was in good shape.

When my wife Amy, our two sons and I came down from Seattle to visit he and wife Dianne this past Labor Day weekend, Jürgen and I built enormous drip castles on the beach, in the bed of a creek that we first dammed with logs and shovelfuls upon shovelfuls of sand.

Long after the rest of the family went back up to the house those warm, sunny afternoons, he and I were still on the beach, dribbling sand and water through cupped hands to form dozens of crazy towers on the structures, and then unleashing the stream to wash it all into the sea as we watched.

“There go the north towers!” “The eastern ramparts have taken a blow!” “The Kleckerburg has fallen!”

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

We’re all impermanent, and that’s sinking in as we come to grips with never being able to hug Jürgen or shake his hand again.

We’re left with rich memories of a loving father, father-in-law and grandfather, a smart, insightful, patient man, a sharp dresser, a world traveler, a connoisseur of good cooking, good food and good German beer – “Bitte, ein Bit” – a fan of golf and soccer, and an extremely generous person.

Above all, he was an unpretentious self-taught artist whose works, unlike our temporal sand castles those golden afternoons, will be here for a long time to come. Paintings, monumental wooden sculptures on display in his yard and in Newport’s Nye Beach, ceramic yard lamps …

(ANDY WALGAMOTT, ALL)

Abstracts … layer upon careful layer … slathered in reds and golds … inspired by German poetry, the human condition … stippled with the impressions of intricate forms and cogged wheels … carven figures in flights of fancy and doom … works resembling utterly nothing at all … random driftwood reimagined – he was perpetually on the hunt for unusually shaped sticks, logs and stumps – extravagant Japanese shrines (one of which is regularly visited by a parade of pond frogs) and Turkish mosques in miniature … playful … thoughtful …

(ANDY WALGAMOTT, ALL)

Half-put-together items lay on his benches and shelves and outside on the ground, and will never take their full form now that he’s gone.

Jürgen was an artist of some renown and over the years he had shows in Newport, Corvallis, Eugene, Portland, Tokyo, Korea and Germany.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT, ALL)

I talked with him about his work multiple times as I sought its meaning and now wish I’d taken notes.

Essentially, from what I remember of our conversations in his outdoor workshop, studio, garage, on the deck overlooking the ocean, at local bars and restaurants, and during drives around town, it is up to you to attach your own meaning to his pieces.

“If you show everything, there is nothing left to see,” he told the Newport News-Times in 2009 before some of his work was put on display at the Visual Arts Center in Nye Beach.

He wanted you to think about what you were seeing, to “not take it at face value.”

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

With Newport friends he went to Burning Man for the first time ever in his late 60s, the second time installing one of his artworks, Wolhkenkuckucsheim, for immolation at the Nevada desert festival.

Art poured out of Jürgen – he couldn’t help himself. He built us a long, L-shaped bench around the fire pit in our patio, and rather than neatly trim off the tops of all the head boards so they were parallel and perpendicular to the other 1x6s and 2x4s, he used his reciprocating saw to create a series of waves, or eroded mountains like Oregon’s Coast Range, or billows of fog, or …

“The straight line is godless,” he told me then (and many times afterwards), a quote by one of his idols, Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT, ALL)

JÜRGEN ECKSTEIN’S JOURNEY through life was anything but a straight line. Building that bench, he regaled me with stories from his younger days about surviving for a month in Morocco on octopus and shellfish he caught with his own hands, decoding Warsaw Pact signals for the West German army, sleeping in ditches and fields in Italy and Greece.

Indeed, he lived in, worked in and visited dozens of countries around the world. Dianne is from Oregon and so when Jürgen retired, they bought a parcel in Newport above the ocean. After leveling its mice-ridden “beach hut,” they built an amazing, multilevel home that is one with the surrounding shore pines and spruces and salal.

I couldn’t tell you how many times Amy, the boys and I have come down from Seattle to visit – at least once a summer and winter, with the boys spending some of their school breaks there – but in hindsight it wasn’t enough.

Along with getting to know he and Dianne better, staying with them enriched our lives, allowing us to experience the Oregon Coast.

We’ve hiked, kayaked, bicycled, played tourist, attended the wooden boat show in Toledo, searched for and found so many agates, flown kites, spotted whales, watched pounding winter storms while sitting in front of the warm Kachelofen, snapped hundreds of colorful sunset photos, played games, made art, shared so many wonderful meals …

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

As an angler, their home has been a great base for me to fish local rivers and lakes, and crab off the public piers. Jürgen always suggested I go fish a spot on the Alsea owned by a friend of his.

He had many, many friends in the area – fellow artists, musicians, gallery owners, builders, retirees, neighbors and happy hour patrons. You couldn’t go anywhere with him without shaking a hand or two, or returning a wave.

On the eve before Amy and I got married, Jürgen had a buddy bring his goats over to their house. I’d been joking that I was going to buy a flock and rent them out to chow down on blackberries and other invasive weeds. So to test whether he should give his daughter away to an uproven shepherd, Jürgen handed me a staff, a felt hat from the Alps and told me to herd goats in front of the crowd of 30 or 40 in his living room.

I successfully got the billies and nannies to poop on one of Dianne’s carpets instead – and decided it would be wise to keep my day job.

ANOTHER MEMORABLE MOMENT from that evening was that as guests arrived at the house, they were handed old plates to smash on the walkway. Polterabend – night of noise – is a German wedding tradition to bring luck to the bride and groom, one of so many customs that Jürgen shared.

I think that that might be one of the biggest losses in his passing – the rich storehouse of all things Deutsch that went with him.

The poems, the Ostfriesland lore, the silly songs …

We will miss his voice at Christmas when we sing from Amy’s Weihnachtslieder Buch.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT, ALL)

Amy has done her best to remember as much as she can and incorporate so much into our lives.

Teaching the boys and I German, lighting candles on the Christmas tree and the Adventkrantz on the four Sundays before Heiligabend, how to cook Bratkartoffeln, delicious desserts, making Schultüte for the boys …

Roughly speaking, our sons are about as old as I was when I lost one of my grandfathers, and I wish I could remember more of Baba. I’m encouraging the boys to fire their memories of the man they knew as Väterchen so that they will last forever.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT, ALL)

I didn’t know I was actually German until recently, and that made having Jürgen as a father-in-law all the more serendipitous. Even though Walgamott (and its 20-odd spellings) is German, it’s not my family’s original last name, the spelling of which has origins in the British Isles.

But doing some genealogy research earlier this year I was surprised to discover that in the mid-1700s my father’s side had actually come from southern Baden-Wurtemburg and that our last name had been Anglicized in America.

In 2008, we spent two holiday weeks in Austria and Germany with Jürgen and Dianne, and I peppered him with so many questions about his home country, information which I drew upon to write and illustrate a 70-plus-page “book” about our trip.

He was like having my own personal Rick Steves as we visited Miltenberg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbuhl, Straubing, Goslar and their bustling Weihnachtsmarkts, walked their walls and Marktplatze, enjoyed German food and drink – a priceless gift from my inlaws.

Traveling was important to Jürgen, both with his family and then in later years with Dianne and friends from Germany. They saw places as divergent as Turkey, Romania, the Galapagos Islands and the Phillipines.

In the Northwest, he eagerly joined many of our camping trips across Oregon and Washington, and last year joined us on a family road trip through the redwoods and down California’s oceanside Highway 1.

He just made things more enjoyable when he was around.

JÜRGEN LIVED A happy, full life, one of exploration and immersion in cultures around the world, success with family and work, and in which he was able to express himself in profoundly unique ways.

I don’t know how our dog will react the next time we come to Newport and her “Favorite Person on Earth” is no longer there to throw sticks for her on the beach, but I think she will be sad.

Like I am as I look back over 14 years and smile with tears in my eyes as I remember Jürgen Eckstein.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Rough Days At Sea Series II: Black Tuesday

A weather-window run out of Charleston for albacore nearly turns into disaster when a storm unexpectedly hits 32 miles from safety.

By Jim Pex

never encourage people to take up albacore tuna fishing. All those fish just offshore and easy to catch. If you go one time, you will be hooked for life. Don’t do it! It is what happened to me in 1990 and I have been afflicted ever since.

The following is a story about one of those early trips at the height of my addiction. Here I must note that my friends were not a support group, as they were afflicted too.

WHAT BEGAN AS A GOOD DAY TO FISH OFF OREGON’S SOUTH COAST FOR ALBACORE TURNED BAD ON THE RUN BACK IN FOR SEVERAL BOATS. (JIM PEX)

THE EXPEDITION STARTED WITH PHONE CALLS on the local fishing network, visiting the docks, talking to commercial fishermen, reading the Salty Dog forum and studying the weather reports. It was not like getting the local news and weather; here we look at actual ocean buoy reports and sea surface temperature maps for 60-degree waters inside the 125 line. It might also include walking up to people sitting in their boat fumbling with tuna gear and mumbling under their breath. You just knew a kindred spirit when you saw them.

In longitude, the edge of the continental shelf is at about the 125 degree line west of Charleston, outside Coos Bay, and about 37 nautical miles west. In theory, when underwater currents reach the shelf, upwelling occurs and this is where we often find the fish. This is also close to the limit in miles for many recreational boats based on their onboard fuel supply.

How much boat fuel to use before getting concerned is different than with trucks and cars. With boats we use the rule of thirds: one third to get there, one third to get home. If the seas turn on you, the amount of fuel used returning could be much more than the trip out. For example, if you take a string and label the ends A and B, one can measure the length of the string stretched full length. Now make a series of bends with the string and remeasure the distance between A and B; it will be considerably shorter. Such is the case when ocean conditions worsen while you are out there traveling up and down with the waves. The trip home becomes longer than the trip out.

My friends Cliff and Dale were avid fishermen. We would pursue fish almost every weekend that we could escape our household responsibilities. We all had boats, but mine was a little more seaworthy than theirs were. It was a 1990 Bayliner Trophy with an enclosed cabin area. At 21 feet with a single 5.0-liter engine, it was adequate for getting us to the fishing grounds and back. There was room to fish three comfortably, and it had sufficient fish boxes to stack ice and tuna. My boat had the usual safety equipment that included a VHF radio, a Loran and a GPS – enough stuff that we thought we were prepared for the day.

AUTHOR JIM PEX, HERE ON YAQUINA BAY AT THE WHEEL OF HIS FIRST BOAT, A 20-FOOT FIBERGLASS APOLLO, WAS AMONG THE EARLY ENTRANTS INTO THE NORTHWEST’S RECREATIONAL ALBACORE FISHERY, GETTING HOOKED ON THE “ADDICTION” NEARLY 30 YEARS AGO WITH A HANDFUL OF OTHER SOUTHERN OREGON ANGLERS. “BACK IN THE 1990S, THERE WERE NOT A LOT OF SPORT TUNA FISHERMEN IN OUR AREA. ALL TOTAL, WE HAD FOUR BOATS HEADING OUT THAT MORNING,” HE WRITES. (JIM PEX)

THE WEATHER HAD BEEN BAD FOR SEVERAL DAYS and the ocean conditions were unsuitable for fishing with a boat the size of mine. The three of us were often talking back and forth on the phone, listing every resource possible in our search for a day to get out.

Then it happened, it looked like there was going to be a break in the weather. It was July, and in our area, the wind blows hard and often in July. But it looked like on the following Tuesday that there would a window before the wind started howling again. I normally know better than to trust the weatherman, but when addicted, I only need one positive resource.

The three of us were not the only ones who spotted this chance. Back in the 1990s, there were not a lot of sport tuna fishermen in our area. All total, we had four boats heading out that morning. None of us on my boat could sleep the night before and I was up a dozen times checking stuff that I might have forgotten. At that time of year daylight arrives at about 5:30 a.m. and we were at the dock at 4:00 a.m. with the guys from the other boats. Everyone was excited and the talk was all tuna.

The recent intel suggested the tuna were 17 miles out to the northwest. Tuna are sight hunters and require clear water to find food. Inshore, the water has algae within it and the color is green. When you are out far enough to find the tuna water, the color is blue. Blue is the reflection of the sky in clear water.

My friends John and Lou were already pulling out from the dock when we got there. John was running a 24-foot Osprey, Lou a 24-foot Sea Sport. My friend George and his wife were launching with us and they were in a 23-foot Olympic. They were much older than our crew but still loved the challenge of the sea. Little did we know the day would challenge that love affair.

THE PLAN THAT TUESDAY WAS TO RUN 17 MILES TO THE NORTHWEST OUT OF CHARLESTON WHERE FISH HAD BEEN RECENTLY REPORTED, BUT IT WASN’T UNTIL THE BOATS WERE 40 MILES OUT THAT SCHOOLS WERE FOUND. (NOAA)

WE RAN OUT OF THE BAY BY G.P.S. in the dark hoping not to run into any crab pot lines or logs. It was a little unnerving, as I could hear the bar crashing on the jetties long before we got there. The swell was present well inside the channel, which is usually a warning, but undaunted, we kept going.

Once on the bar we dropped to displacement speed, which is slow, and climbed up and down the waves for the next half mile. If you have not tried this in the dark, there is a certain amount of pucker factor that goes with it; be sure to wear your life jacket. The crossing reminded me of years past when I lived in Medford, when I would run some sections of the Rogue River at night in my drift boat to be the first one to get in a fishing hole. The sound of the rapids by flashlight was intense too. Here we had bigger boats and larger waves. Are some of us a little bit crazy? Probably.

After the crossing we made good time heading northwest behind the other boats. I love to see the sunrise in the east from the ocean side; it is always beautiful. On this day it was spectacular. The waves were tolerable, the wind was up early but we were making about 20 knots heading out.

What was a surprise was the view to the south. In the distance we could see a black wall of weather hanging clear down to the water. Thank goodness we were not going in that direction. I don’t recall ever seeing a cloud pattern like that one. But to the northwest, the sky was clear. As the three of us talked about fishing, the mood was great.

In an hour we reached the GPS coordinates at 17 miles, but the water was still green, so we kept running. John and Lou were into fish about 40 miles out in 60-degree water, so that was our destination too. George agreed, as he was still running in my prop wash.

When we arrived at 40 miles out, we were in blue water. We set the hand lines and had fish on immediately. The fishing was good, the skies were clear and blue but the wind and waves had picked up and were making the troll uncomfortable. Cliff is a tall guy and the gunnels on my boat were not high enough for him to brace himself, so he was on his hands and knees getting to the lines, while Dale was hanging on the best he could. But the fish were there, and we were catching them. In a little over an hour we had 27 albacore on board. The rear deck was covered in fish blood and the two of them were so bloodied they looked like they had lost a bar fight.

I stayed up front and ran the boat, watching for schools of fish on the surface, what we call jumpers. I talked to George on the VHF and said it was getting a little too lumpy and probably time to head for the barn. He and his wife had all the fish he wanted and agreed. The “sheep was on the water” out there and I knew we were cutting it thin on this trip. John and Lou decided to hang in there a little longer. The fishing was too good to give up just yet.

I LOOKED SOUTH AND THAT BLACK WALL OF CLOUD had moved north and was now getting between us and shore. It is not unusual to be able to see all the way across a squall line and this was no exception. I could still see blue sky nearby. I took off with George behind me, making good speed under the current conditions. It did not take long to see what was happening ahead. Some of the waves were out of the west and the wind had shifted from the northwest to out of the south. Some larger waves were coming out of the south, causing mixed seas. Weather fronts always have a good wind before the actual storm hits and this was no exception. The seas were about 6 feet when I set a course for Charleston due southeast.

At 32 miles out, we hit the storm. Visibility dropped in the driving rain and the seas doubled in size. To consider them at 12 feet was certainly in the ballpark, but I was never sure. How do you judge from inside a small boat? It was unusual in that we did not hit this storm gradually. We were doing OK, then we were in it in minutes. I dropped into a trough between waves so low I could not see anything but the surrounding water. Then the first wave broke over the bow and up the windshield. To starboard, I was momentarily looking underwater. The boat rocked hard as the wave pushed the bow off course to port. Just as we cleared that wave, we were struck again. The skies were dark gray and the surrounding seas were also gray and angry.

Our course kept changing to east instead of southeast. I attempted to steer into the waves to get back on course but that was stupid. We were in trouble. The only thing I knew to do was quarter the seas and continue east as best I could at a slow pace. I kept watching for the waves that break over like you see in surfer movies. They are especially bad as they are full of air. Air does not float a boat. When I would reach a wave top, we would look around for George and reassess the seas. Here I had a brief moment to talk with him on the radio. George and his wife were frightened out of their wits. The next time we hit a wave top, I tried to reach the Coast Guard to advise them of our position and sea conditions, but I got no response.

ALBACORE FISHING HAS TAKEN OFF IN RECENT YEARS, WITH THIS SEASON’S RECREATIONAL HAUL SETTING A NEW RECORD. (MIKE CAMPION)

WE’D CLOSED THE CABIN DOOR WHEN WE started back, and Dale had pinned himself between the table and the forward bulkhead. Cliff was on the other side of table and tight to the door with his long legs. Dale’s eyes told it all: He was sure we were going to die. You could see his fear as he looked around at the churning seas. Then he said it.

“Well, Jim, do you think we are going to make it?”

“I don’t know, Dale,” was my response.

Cliff was silent, which if you knew the guy was a statement in itself. As the captain, I was in uncharted territory; nothing like this had ever happened to me. I don’t think I was scared, just intent.

VHF radio transmits along line of sight and the 8-foot antenna mounted to the side of the boat was too low to send a signal above the wave tops. At some point I looked past Dale out the window only to see a part of my antenna shattered like a wet noodle strike the window. Now that radio was useless. I grabbed my ditch bag, found the handheld VHF and turned it on. These only have 5 watts of transmitting power, limiting the distance it could send and receive.

We were still making headway with the wipers going in the rain and the high seas, but at some point had lost visual on George. I tried to reach him on the portable but got no response. Cliff and I both thought we had to go back, while Dale was silent. So I waited a few minutes trying to decide just how I was going to reverse direction. I had plenty of power, just no place to use it.

Finally, I decided to do the snow ski trick. As we started up a huge wave, I cut the wheel and hit the throttle doing a 180-degree turn. One look at Dale and he was sure it was the wrong move. We accomplished the turn just ahead of a following wave that was rolling off the transom and lapping at the swim platform. We hit the bottom of the trough hard and plowed the next wave. I dropped the throttle and the bow lifted us to safety. We found George putting along making some headway, but just not able to keep up with me. We spoke words of encouragement over the portable and I did another fancy turn into the churning seas. Then Dale spoke:

“Well, Jim, do you think we are going to make it?”

“I don’t know, Dale,” I said.

AS SEAS GOT LUMPIER, PEX AND CREW DECIDED TO HEAD BACK TO SHORE WITH ANOTHER BOAT, BUT RAN INTO THE STORM. “IT WAS UNUSUAL IN THAT WE DID NOT HIT THIS STORM GRADUALLY. WE WERE DOING OK, THEN WE WERE IN IT IN MINUTES,” HE WRITES. (JIM PEX)

BY THIS TIME, JOHN AND LOU, WHO HAD stayed behind to fish a while longer, were in the storm. John got on the radio and said he had standing waves running down the walkways on both sides of his hardtop boat. Lou and his crew were in an open windshield boat and were not up for talking. They were bailing instead. Lou told me later that the waves were coming over the side of the boat. The water would hit the shift lever causing a short that would shock him if he was slow to remove his hand. The crew was bailing with 5-gallon buckets to stay afloat.

The only way I could tell we were making progress was watching the distance meter on the GPS to the waypoint I had laid for the Coos Bay Bar. The going was slow, green water was still running over my windshield and I was often looking underwater out the starboard side. It was wearing all of us out with the bracing for impact, the rocking of the boat and the worry. Then we lost George again. Cliff could not get a visual and I could not raise him on the VHF.

A few moments later we did hear George on his VHF and we heard him contact the Coast Guard trying to explain our dire circumstances. Cliff kept looking back each time we reached a wave peak, then suddenly he saw George about 100 yards off our port side. Fear had him applying a little more throttle to keep up with us. I could hear him but not the Coast Guard. He had a top-mounted VHF antenna that was still intact, which gave him the ability to reach out even in these seas. What I did hear was that no one was coming if we were still underway.

Dale had that look again.

At one point, I was sure the oncoming waves were larger and were going to break the windshield. We held our breath as they struck hard, rocked the boat and passed over the hard top.

“Well, Jim, do you think we are going to make it?”

“I don’t know, Dale,” I said as I kept quartering the seas.

By this time our progress was taking me north of my intended destination and I was worried that if we made it, we would end up at Winchester Bay but under impossible conditions for a bar crossing. Hours went by, I was getting tired, Cliff was getting banged around in the boat as he tried to brace himself and then there was Dale and his question.

We were still in the thick of it and had not seen George for at least a half hour. Attempts to raise him on the radio were negative, so I made another power turn like a skier would do on a mogul and we headed back out to sea. We found George again: He just could not keep up with me, was bone tired and his voice was weak on the radio. There was nothing I could do but try to keep him close. I could see the water pass over his bow in the troughs, but it would lift just in time to wash it away and clear his windshield . I told him to raise his outdrive a little and it would give his bow more lift. He did but it did not help much when the headway was limited.

I LOOKED BACK AT MY REAR DECK AND THERE would be no need for cleanup at the dock. It was as clean as a whistle from the seawater. I had been so intent on watching the surrounding seas that I did not immediately see the bilge pump light come on. That meant there was water in the bilge and the pump was working on it. To do an inspection, I would have to get on the back deck and raise the engine cover for a look. There was no way I was going to let go of the steering wheel and it was clear that the other two were not venturing past the closed door either. We would just have to continue not knowing.

Ever try to not think about something important? Ever try not thinking about the water building up inside your boat in rough seas? It just does not work. We discussed tossing out the 27 tuna on board to lighten up the boat, but again we would have to go outside the secure cabin to open up the fish holds. None of us were willing.

I tried to reach the Coast Guard on my portable VHF but got no response. As the hours passed, I lost sight of George but could hear him talking to the other boats. I wondered how his wife was taking all of this. None of us had ever been in seas like this and it was a fright.

We did have one thing going for us and that was the design of modern-day fiberglass sport boats. Unlike commercial boats, the sport boats sit on top of the water like a cork, which lets most of the seas pass under the hull. Commercial fishing boats have displacement hulls and displace a lot more water when underway. Turning around like I did would be nearly impossible in a displacement boat and they seldom are capable of running faster than 10 knots.

I kept telling myself how well the boat was performing under the conditions. We would climb a wave, reach the top, then cascade down the other side like a surfer to the bottom of the trough, then turn up to meet the next wave. The wind was blowing the tops off the waves, creating a white foam that could be seen on the water and on my boat. We refer to this as the sheep were on the water. In time, I could feel there was hope that we would make it, provided the bilge did not fill with water and kill the engine under the deck.

“Well, Jim, do you think we are going to make it?”

“I don’t know, Dale.”

HOW SERIOUS WERE THINGS BECOMING? AT ONE POINT ON THE WAVE-WRACKED RUN IN, WITH WATER SEEPING INTO THE MOTOR COMPARTMENT AND THE BILGE PUMPING, THE MEN MULLED TOSSING THEIR 27 ALBACORE OVERBOARD TO LIGHTEN THE LOAD. BUT NONE WANTED TO RISK GOING OUT ON THE SEA-SLOSHED DECKS. (DAVE ANDERSON)

LATE THAT AFTERNOON THE WAVES STARTED TO subside, and the skies began to clear. We were about halfway between Charleston and Winchester Bay for latitude and still about 10 miles out. We had passed out of the weather cell and I was able to pick up speed with the changing conditions. Soon we were on the bar at the entrance to Coos Bay.

Here we go again, the swell from the storm had kicked up the bar. The Coast Guard had not closed it, but I thought they probably should – right after I got in.

We sat outside watching the pattern of the incoming swell, waiting for the right wave. I hit the throttle hard and jumped on the back of one. From this position I was high enough in the air that I could see across both jetties. The situation was intense: I was at full throttle doing close to 30 knots trying to stay on the back of the swell and in front of the one lapping off my transom. I didn’t look back to see how the other two were doing. I don’t think I took a breath for several minutes.

Then we were across and in the safety of the inner bay under blue skies. When we got to the dock, Dale got out of the boat, laid on the dock and gave it a kiss, seagull poop and all. Cliff had been banged around so much he could hardly walk. In time we got the boat on the trailer, iced down the fish and called it a day.

I turned to Dale and said, “We made it.”

EVENTUALLY THE STORM AND SEAS BEGAN TO LAY DOWN, BUT THE ENTRY TO COOS BAY POSED ANOTHER PROBLEM. “THE SWELL FROM THE STORM HAD KICKED UP THE BAR. THE COAST GUARD HAD NOT CLOSED IT, BUT I THOUGHT THEY PROBABLY SHOULD – RIGHT AFTER I GOT IN,” PEX WROTES. (JIM PEX)

I slept hard that night after telling the family about our adventure. I don’t think I could verbally express the circumstances well enough for them to appreciate the danger, so I went to bed.

The next morning I called Cliff. He said he was stiff and had several bruises from being banged around in the boat.

I called Dale in midmorning. He had just gotten up to get a drink of water and was going back to bed. Dale loved the ocean and the fishing to be found out there. In our conversation he admitted on the way in he prayed to our Lord that if he survived this experience, he would never go back to sea.

He never did.

I keep a St. Christopher medal pinned to my boat headliner and reference it in times of worry. I am sure, in my heart, He was looking out for us that day.

WE WERE LUCKY, AND NOT JUST US THREE. All the boats made it in that day. As we learned, ocean conditions can change at a moment’s notice, going from the fantastically beautiful to deadly. We all discovered that one can never be totally prepared for events like this but if one survives, the experience is priceless.

When our group occasionally meets for a beer and to reminisce about old fishing adventures, it is clear that none of us will ever forget that day. NS

Author’s note: My dear friend Dale Reiber passed away this spring. This story is the combined memories of Cliff Lance and I in remembrance of Dale.

Editor’s note: Author Jim Pex is an avid angler based out of Coos Bay and who enjoys fishing for albacore, salmon and rockfish. He is retired and was previously CEO of International Forensic Experts LLC and a lieutenant with the Oregon State Police at its crime laboratory. Pex is the author of CSI: Moments from a Career in Forensic Science, available through Amazon.

Rough Days At Sea Series I: High Pressure At The High Spot

A run out to the South Coast halibut grounds in an open-bow boat nearly turns disastrous for Oregon anglers when a storm hits.

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories from Coos Bay-area angler Jim Pex.

By Jim Pex

Going out on the ocean in a small boat is not much different than hiking into a wilderness area. You never know what you might see or what unique experiences await you. Like the wilderness, one does not go to sea unprepared, nor does one venture forth without a guide or some personal experience. When things go wrong and you’re not ready for them, it can be lonely out there, putting your life and those with you in danger. Ancient mariners were well aware of the dangers and risked their lives based on their personal skills.

The ocean is mysterious in that conditions change from day to day, sometimes from moment to moment. There is a thrill in going out there and dealing with the unknowns that come your way. But beware, your primary resource, the weatherman, may not be your friend.

THE WEATHER CAN TURN FAST ON THE OREGON COAST, HITTING HARDER AND WITH MORE INTENSITY THAN FORECASTERS SOMETIMES PREDICT. (JIM PEX)

About 10 years back, I had a friend named Jim who was running a guide service on the ocean. It usually was for rockfish and he only ran out a few miles from the safety of the bar and the inner bay. He had a 22-foot aluminum boat with an open bow that was not built for rough ocean conditions, but on a good day was certainly adequate. The boat had a large motor as the main and a smaller one for trolling or just backup.

My friend had taken the Coast Guard classes and had what we call a six-pack license to take up to six people fishing. Getting the license requires passing an exam, so the expectation is that the licensed captain knows what he or she is doing. Jim had been out on the pond on a number of occasions, so we thought he was capable. In talking to him, you could tell he was confident of his skills out there.

JIM GOT A CALL FROM A CLIENT who wanted to catch a halibut. The best place to do so in our area is called the Bandon High Spot. This is an underwater plateau located between Bandon and Port Orford and about 15 miles west from shore. The bottom rises from 700 to 800 feet deep to 400 to 500 feet deep. It is a hangout for large halibut and a great spot to fish, if you can get there.

The downside is that it is distant from any support such as the Coast Guard or a safe harbor. Unlike on land, there are no roads, no tow trucks and no immediate help if things go wrong at sea. If you capsize out there, it is unlikely anyone is going to find you until much later.

The front of the high spot from the Coos Bay bar is south, 27 miles distant. It is 15 miles south of Bandon and about the same distance from Port Orford. Bandon is not much of a refuge if things go wrong since it is difficult to get across the bar most of the time. Port Orford is OK but there is no trailer boat launch; you need to have your boat lifted on and off the water with a large crane, provided you have the appropriate straps.

THE BANDON HIGH SPOT CAN BE REACHED FROM COOS BAY, BANDON AND PORT ORFORD, TWO OF WHICH ARE SUBJECT TO SUMMER AFTERNOON NORTHWESTERLIES. (NOAA)

CHECKING THE WEATHER, IT LOOKED TO BE sunny with a light wind out of the north when Jim started for the Bandon High Spot. Waves were forecast to be 3 to 4 feet, not a bad day to go fishing. Actually, it was about as good as it ever gets out there. Another friend named Leonard was also on board for this trip as a deckhand. The rest of this story is based on what Leonard told me weeks later.

Jim left the Charleston harbor at daylight and made the 27-mile run downwind to the High Spot. Since he was running with the wind and waves, the trip was comfortable and made at good speed. They arrived about an hour and a half later and there were a few other boats around. It is good to have a little company when you are this far from home.

Fishing 500 feet down with a hand-crank reel is a test of one’s endurance. To get to the bottom requires 2 pounds of weight off the end of a stiff rod. Herring is usually the bait of choice. Leonard said fishing was slow that day but they managed to get their limit of three halibut over several hours.

By that time the other boats were gone. As Jim, Leonard and their client had fished, the wind had increased and the waves doubled in size. In nautical slang, “The sheep was on the water” by the time they wanted to leave. This means there were whitecaps on the waves from the wind. In this case, the wind was straight out of the north, the waves from the northwest. Getting back to Charleston meant heading north into the seas and wind.

Jim finally shipped the rods and tackle and told the others to sit tight for the trip back home. He said it looked like it might be lumpy and slow; four to five hours of running was a possibility. He turned the boat into the seas, pushed the throttle but could make very little headway at displacement speed without shipping water over the bow. Keep in mind this boat had an open bow that was very slow to drain when taking water. It seems they never make the bow scuppers large enough in these boats; I think they were designed for rain, not waves.

A STORM LASHES THE PACIFIC OFF THE CAPE ARAGO LIGHTHOUSE NEAR CHARLESTON. (JIM PEX)

GETTING ON PLANE DID NOT SEEM LIKE A possibility and a long trip home was becoming more realistic. However, there is a technique in which one can put the power to the throttle and get up on top of the waves and basically run from wave top to wave top, but the conditions must be just right. Jim knew this and decided to give it more gas.

He hit the throttle and got on top of the first wave – and immediately launched the boat into the air like a water skier flying off a jump. The boat came down hard, knocking the other two to the floor. Undaunted, he kept on and plowed the center of the next wave instead of going over it. That wave came over the bow and filled the open bow with water, making the boat front heavy.

Jim apparently panicked and pushed the throttle harder and took another wave head on. This wave was higher than the windshield and passed over the heavy bow. It struck the windshield with such force that it knocked the glass out of the frames. Then as the green water passed through, water and windshield took out all of his dash electronics. Finally, as the moving wall of water passed along the boat, it struck the three people on board. Jim was hit first, by the glass and water, and was momentarily dazed. He had a hold of the steering wheel but the other two were less prepared and were carried by the water. The client nearly went over the side but managed to grasp a seat back with one hand while balancing on the gunnel. He hung on well enough to get back in the boat. Leonard was carried by the wave to the rear engines and did a face plant into the main motor. He was momentarily knocked senseless and the engine was all that kept him in the boat. He said he probably had “130” imprinted on his forehead from the emblem on the motor. All three were now soaked and frightened. None had experienced anything like this.

Jim backed off on the throttle as the wave passed through. Now they were at idle with a load of water sloshing back and forth inside the boat. Everything was floating and other waves were lapping at the sides as they tried to regroup. On the boat, the distance between the waves and the top of the boat sides is called the freeboard. Freeboard went from a couple feet to just inches with all that water on board. Fortunately, a few buckets were floating around and so they started to bail. The boat was now sideways to the oncoming waves and rocking violently as the crew gathered themselves. The vessel did have a bilge pump, but this was way beyond what the small unit could handle.

Since there were no longer any other boats in the vicinity, Jim quickly grabbed the VHF mic and tried to hail the Coast Guard, shouting “Mayday, mayday!” But there was no response as the radio was dead and the antenna was gone. Their cell phones were also wet, and out of range anyway.

Using buckets, the client and Leonard bailed water as Jim turned the boat south for a slight reprieve from the rising seas. They were alone, sea conditions were worsening, they had no radio to obtain help and their navigation instruments were dead also. There was not so much as a hand-held compass on board for guidance. If they took on any more water, they could capsize. And with land at least 15 miles away, no one would consider them missing for several hours. A life jacket was of little value when hypothermia in these cold waters was the Devil. Imminent death by drowning was racing through their minds. Was this it? Were they going to die? In this moment of terror, there was an upside: the engine was still running, and they were still afloat.

THE SIGHT OF THE ROCKY ISLANDS OFF PORT ORFORD AND THE AUTHOR’S BOAT FISHING THE REEF NEARBY WERE GODSENDS THAT SAFETY WAS NEAR FOR THE MEN. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

TO MAKE MATTERS WORSE, THOUGH, THE FOG was beginning to set in up north, so the decision was made to run for Port Orford. They could see Humbug Mountain and Orford Rocks to the east and knew Port Orford was over there somewhere. Jim had never been there from the seaward side, so he pointed the boat in that direction, thus making some headway in the wind while the waves lapped at the boat’s port side. At least they were underway despite not knowing for sure where they were going or if conditions might change before they got there.

As Jim steered, the other two continued to bail water. They were all cold, wet and fearful as the seas continued to whitecap. Yet their situation slowly improved as they continued to bail water. The trip in seemed impossibly slow.

When they got closer to shore, the sea conditions improved, and they recognized what they though must be Orford Rocks and knew the port was somewhere around there. Everyone got excited when they spotted a boat fishing the reef near the rocks. They approached while making the emergency signal, raising both hands above their head and crossing them back and forth. I was in that boat fishing the reef. I saw the signal and recognized their boat.

“This is weird,” I thought. “Where did they come from?”

I hadn’t seen their rig at the dock when we’d launched.

Jim came close enough to me that I could shout directions for getting to Port Orford. I also made eye contact with Leonard. I would bet that if he thought there was any way he could have gotten off that boat and onto mine, he would have jumped. I did not know the client but he looked like he had literally escaped death. His clothes were soaked and disheveled, his hat was gone and his expression was grim.

Jim and his crew made it to the port. It was what we seafarers call a “kiss the dock moment.” They had to tie up until they could reach Jim’s wife, who retrieved the truck and trailer in Charleston and brought it the 50 miles down  to Port Orford.

Again, the port doesn’t have a regular boat launch. Vessels have to be lifted in and out with a crane. By the time Jim’s wife arrived, it was dark and someone lent them some straps to get their boat out of the water.

For all the effort and terrifying moments at sea, they were no longer in possession of the halibut, as the ice chest with the fish had gone overboard when the wave had passed through the boat.

PORT ORFORD IS THE ONE HARBOR ON THE OREGON COAST WHERE BOATS HAVE TO BE LIFTED IN AND OUT OF THE WATER. WHEN THE CREW ARRIVED THERE, IT WAS A “KISS THE DOCK MOMENT,” THE AUTHOR WRITES. THEY’D LOST THEIR HALIBUT, WERE SOAKED AND SHIVERING, BUT THE SKIPPER HAD BROUGHT THEM IN ALIVE. (RAY GILDEN, PFMC)

THE OCEAN IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO FISH on a good day. But conditions can change in a hurry. It is up to the captain to recognize the changes and respond based on the kind of boat and his boating skills. Despite the conditions, Jim was successful in getting himself, his crew and his boat to safety. He eventually got his boat fixed and had enough wisdom to never go back to the Bandon High Spot again with it.

One thing is for certain: If you survive these kinds of wilderness experiences, it makes you a whole bunch smarter. The upside from the events of this trip was that it caused the rest of us to put together ditch bags that included portable communications, compass, GPS and flares. You never wish for a day like Jim had, but if it comes someday, we hope to be better prepared.

Then, one day the ocean turned on me, as it can happen with very little notice. That’s another story to be told. NS

Editor’s note: Jim Pex is an avid angler based out of Coos Bay and enjoys fishing for albacore, salmon and rockfish. He is retired and was previously CEO of International Forensic Experts LLC and a lieutenant with the Oregon State Police at its crime laboratory. Pex is the author of CSI: Moments from a Career in Forensic Science, available through Amazon.

June 28 Added To Halibut Days On Marine Areas 1-10, Oregon Waters North Of Falcon

THE FOLLOWING ARE AN EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE AND A PRESS RELEASE FROM WDFW AND ODFW

Marine areas 1-10 to open for halibut fishing Friday, June 28 

Action:  In addition to days that are already scheduled, opens recreational halibut fishing on Friday, June 28 in coastal marine areas 1 through 4 and Puget Sound areas 5 through 10.

WASHINGTON HALIBUT ANGLERS LIKE AMANDA SPIEGEL, HERE WITH A NICE FLATTIE CAUGHT OUT OF PORT ANGELES, WILL GET ANOTHER DAY TO CATCH THE BIG FISH. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Effective date: June 28, 2019.

 Species affected:  Pacific halibut.

 Location:  Marine areas 1 through 10.

 Reason for action:  Adding an additional fishing day for all coastal areas will provide Washington sport halibut anglers with the opportunity to catch the remaining 2019 sport quota.

The 2019 sport halibut season dates were established prior to the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) making their final decision on the 2019 quota, which was significantly higher than anticipated.

WDFW has added several fishing days to the season this year in response to the higher quota and several poor weather days. The Washington sport quota that the IPHC adopted for 2019 was also approved for the next three years. WDFW staff looks forward to working with stakeholders to identify changes to the season structure for 2020 and beyond that is more in line with the higher quota that will be in place through the 2022 season.

 Additional information: Summary of open sport halibut days for all marine areas.

 Marine Area 1:

All-depth: Open Friday, June 28.

Nearshore: Open seven days per week until further notice.

Marine Area 2:  Open Friday, June 28 and Saturday, June 29.

Marine areas 3 and 4: Open Thursday, June 27; Friday, June 28; and Saturday, June 29.

Puget Sound (MA 5-10): Open Thursday, June 27; Friday, June 28; and Saturday, June 29.

Marine area 5: It is permissible for halibut anglers to retain Pacific cod caught while fishing for halibut in waters deeper than 120 feet on days that halibut fishing is open. The lingcod season is closed in this area for the remainder of the year.

Retention of lingcod and Pacific cod seaward of 120 feet is not permitted on halibut days in marine areas 6-10.

Marine areas 1-10:  Daily limit of 1 halibut per angler, with no minimum size limit.  Annual limit of 4. All catch must be recorded on WDFW catch record card.  Possession limits remain the same.

Marine areas 11-13 are closed.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The Columbia River Subarea (Leadbetter Point, WA to Cape Falcon, OR) all-depth halibut fishery will be open for one additional day on Friday, June 28.

After the most recent openings in Washington, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has determined there is enough quota remaining in the overall Washington recreational quota to have all Washington subareas, including the Columbia River Subarea, open on June 28.

Since Washington and Oregon co-manage the Columbia River Subarea, and have license reciprocity, anglers fishing out of Oregon ports in the subarea will be allowed to participate in the all-depth halibut fishery on June 28 as well.

Additional opportunities to fish for Pacific halibut also remain open in other areas of Oregon:

  • The all-depth halibut fishery in the Central Oregon Coast Subarea is scheduled to be open July 4-6, with the potential for the additional back-up dates of July 18-20 to open, if quota remains.
  • The summer all-depth season is scheduled to begin on Aug. 2-3 and be open every other Friday and Saturday until Oct. 31, or the quota of 67,898 pounds has been met.
  • Off the Central Oregon Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain) anglers may fish for halibut inside the 40-fathom line, seven days per week beginning June 1 through Oct. 31, or attainment of the harvest quota (32,591 pounds) for that fishery.
  • The area between Humbug Mountain and the OR/CA Border is open to all depth for Pacific halibut seven days per week through Oct. 31, or until the quota of 11,322 pounds has been met, whichever comes first.

Days on which Pacific halibut fishing is open will be announced on the NOAA Fisheries hotline (1-800-662-9825) and posted on the ODFW Marine Resources Program Website.

Clatsop Co. Razor Clam Digging To Reopen March 1

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Razor clamming will reopen on Clatsop Beach (from Tillamook Head in Seaside to the mouth of the Columbia River) on Friday, March 1.

AFTER BEING CLOSED FOR HARVEST SINCE LAST FALL TO ALLOW RAZOR CLAMS TO GROW BIGGER, CLATSOP COUNTY BEACHES ARE REOPENING MARCH 1 FOR DIGGING. (ODFW)

This area had been closed to protect undersize clams and give them a chance to grow, after 2018 fall surveys found mostly small clams with shell lengths between 2-3 inches.

“The small razor clams on Clatsop Beach we observed this fall have grown at a rate we anticipated,” said ODFW Shellfish Biologist Matt Hunter. “Currently, the dominant size of clams is between 3.5 and 3.75 inches with few larger clams available. As the spring progresses and we get longer days, more food will be available and the clams will continue to grow.”

Clatsop Beach is Oregon’s most popular area for razor clamming and can be open Oct. 1-July 14 each year, provided ODA testing finds clams are safe to eat. Recent tests show razor clams from Clatsop Beach are safe to consume.


Concerned about closures in your area? Book the world’s best salmon and halibut fishing in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), Canada. Click HERE to learn more.

Call ODA’s Shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit ODA’s Recreational Shellfish Safety Page or ODFW’s Recreation Report to check for any closures before clamming or crabbing.

Elk R. Anglers Reminded To Release Chinook That Have Antennas Sticking Out Mouth

THE FOLLOWING IS AN OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE

Elk River anglers are reminded to release unharmed any radio-tagged fall chinook salmon caught. ODFW is conducting a research project tagging up to 100 hatchery and wild fall chinook below Elk River Hatchery.

THE RADIO-TAGGED CHINOOK IN THE ELK RIVER STUDY WILL HAVE ANTENNAS STICKING OUT OF THEIR MOUTH LIKE THIS ONE. (AUSTIN HUFF VIA ODFW)

Radio tags can often be mistaken for leaders as only the antenna is visible protruding from the fish’s mouth. ODFW encourages anglers to check carefully as it is illegal to harvest these fish.

This telemetry study will help determine the spawning migration pattern of returning Elk River fall chinook. Researchers want to establish whether hatchery origin fish return to the hatchery and fall back before spawning or spawn selectively below the hatchery.

Research leader Shannon Richardson says this is important to better understand potential interactions on spawning grounds between hatchery origin and wild fish.

“The wild Elk River fall chinook were identified in our Coastal Multispecies Management Plan as a population of concern,” Richardson said. “We need to attract hatchery fish that escape the fishery back to the hatchery to reduce the amount of interaction they may have with wild chinook.

Anglers may encounter radio-tagged fall chinook into February. Staff installed fixed-station receivers to track the fish weekly and will conduct spawning ground surveys to recover tags.

This study is part of a larger effort ODFW is engaged in with partners including the Oregon Hatchery Research Center, Oregon State University, University of Washington, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Confessions Of An Aspiring Basser: My 4-year-old Has Caught More Than Me

Editor’s note: We’ve all been there, Jesse, it’s nothing to be ashamed about if the fish don’t bite. Don’t be like the editor who after another fruitless go at coho today almost posted on Facebook that he had left his vehicle unlocked with all his tackle inside and sure hoped nobody would steal it (the lures, rods, net, waders, boots, etc., etc., etc., not the car!). Stick with it, the bass will bite, bud! In the meanwhile, thanks for sharing your great story about your daughter’s catch!

By Jesse Hopkins

On Saturday, September 8th, 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity to take my daughter fishing for the first time.

I recently had gotten into bass fishing and bought myself all the high-end product thinking that would help me catch fish. Little did I know that was not the case. In fact, I have yet to catch a bass.

(YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)Con

My daughter Noel, who is currently 4 years old, asked if I could take her fishing with me the next time I go. Of course, I said enthusiastically, but I have yet to buy her a fishing pole. On the way to the local lake at the Oregon coast we stopped at a Fred Meyer so I could buy her a cheap trout fishing pole. They had a combo set on sale for $9.99. Score.

We got to the lake with her and my brother-in-law and started fishing. She kept casting but was very discouraged because it wouldn’t go far.

I told her, “Why don’t you just stand by the dock and keep flicking the pole lightly with the line and hook in the water?”

She was happy to do just that. Keep in mind all she had was a small trout hook with a plastic green worm on it.

(YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

After 10 minutes or so and multiple lost lures from my poor casting ability she yelled, “I have something on!”

I looked over and couldn’t believe she was able to hold on to the rod. It was whipping around like she was fighting a monster. She reeled it in and was so proud. She had caught in our eyes, a trophy bass.

My 4-year-old daughter now has caught more bass than me.

After several photos with the fish we were able to place it back in the lake to be caught by another fisher. She was the happiest I have ever seen her and very proud of herself. Now she is counting the days until the next fishing trip.

(YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Coquille Valley W.A. Reopening In Stages In Time For Waterfowl Season

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Coquille Valley Wildlife Area reopens in stages to public use in time for waterfowl season.

AN AERIAL IMAGE SHOWS NEW CHANNELS FOR FISH HABITAT CREATED AT WINTER LAKE, PART OF THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE’S COQUILLE VALLEY WILDLIFE AREA. (CBI CONTRACTING VIA NMFS)

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will reopen the Beaver Slough tract October 13 and the Winter Lake tract October 20. Both tracts make up the 660-acre wildlife area and have been closed since June 1 for habitat restoration activities including tidal channel construction.

“Waterfowl season begins October 13, so we’re pleased we can reopen the Beaver Slough tract for duck and goose hunters,” said Stuart Love, Charleston District Wildlife Biologist. “The Winter Lake tract opens a week later so we can make sure the new tide gate system that will start flooding that portion of the wildlife area is functioning properly.”

Hunters should be aware the new tidal channels constructed on the Winter Lake tract will have varying levels of water according to tidal influence. Steep sides and water could make it difficult to get out of the channels, and ODFW advises hunters to wear a personal flotation around the tidal channels.

Hunters should also know some aspects of the Winter Lake restoration project are continuing into the fall and can expect to see staff planting vegetation and conducting project monitoring. Other recreationists may also be on the wildlife area.

The wildlife area can be accessed from North Bank Lane off Highway 42. An access permit is required and can be obtained at no cost at the information kiosk in the wildlife area’s parking lot on North Bank Lane.

 

Coho Anglers Get Two More Days Of Fishing On Central Oregon Coast

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Ocean waters from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. will be open for more coho salmon fishing this Friday and Saturday (Sept. 14-15). This is the second open period for the 2018 non selective coho season.  During the first two-day period anglers averaged more than one fish for every two anglers with a total estimated catch of 2,700 coho.

LORELEI PENNINGTON SHOWS OFF A WILD COHO CAUGHT DURING LAST SEPTEMBER’S SEASON. OREGON OFFICIALS, IN CONJUNCTION WITH FEDERAL FISHERY OVERSEERS, WERE ABLE TO PUT BEAVER STATE FISHERMEN BACK ON THE WATER FOR UNCLIPPED AND CLIPPED COHO ALIKE THIS WEEKEND. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

With an initial quota of 3,500 coho, that left only 800 coho available for harvest – not enough for another opener, according Eric Schindler, ODFW ocean salmon manager.

“However, with coordination and cooperation from NOAA Fisheries and flexibility in salmon management we were able to “roll-over” quota from the summer hatchery coho season to September,” Schindler said. “That bumped the quota up to 7,600 coho, and will give everyone at least two more days of fishing.”

Managers will review catches next week and decide on Wednesday if there is enough quota left for any additional fishing days.

Fishing for Chinook salmon remains open seven days a week through October, but Chinook catches have been slow most of the season. Anglers are reminded that when fishing for salmon in the ocean no more than two single point barbless hooks are allowed.  The hook rules also apply when fishing for any other species if a salmon has been retained.