THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
Good fall Chinook and coho salmon fishing is occurring in Tillamook Bay alongside commercial clam divers targeting butter clams in the channels. Interactions between anglers and clam divers can create a safety concern for divers.
ODFW and the Oregon State Marine Board (OSMB) reminds all boaters to boat cautiously when near divers, especially in the area commonly called the Ghost Hole.
At this time of year, the Ghost Hole in Tillamook Bay is popular with both sport anglers and commercial clam divers as more than 70 percent of Oregon’s commercial clam harvest occurs in Tillamook Bay. Boat traffic, channels congested with trolling lines, and roving divers has created a safety risk.
Sport salmon anglers should look for “diver down” flags or buoys near anchored boats, signaling divers are below, often tethered to air supply systems. While Oregon does not prohibit boat operation near dive flags, ODFW and OSMB encourage boaters to stay at least 200 feet away from dive operations.
“Safety is everyone’s responsibility,” says Steve Rumrill, ODFW Shellfish Program Leader. “We want both recreational anglers and commercial divers to be aware of each other and maintain a safe working distance to have a safe and productive day.”
Rumrill advises boaters to go slow, keep a lookout and keep distance from diver flags.