Ocean anglers have been welcomed back to deep-water bottomfishing to ease the impacts of September's bottomfishing closure after anglers exhausted their black rockfish limit for 2017.
After consulting with coastal communities rocked by last month's closure, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reopened recreational bottomfishing in waters outside the 40-fathom line last Friday.
The move is designed to take advantage of unused quotas for such species as yellowtail, widow and canary rockfish, and the daily per-person limit was raised from seven fish to 10, ODFW reports.
However, anglers cannot keep blue, deacon, china, copper or quillback rockfish to reduce the potential for over-fishing on these species this year.
To help ensure that, anglers will be required to use "long-leader gear" developed in Oregon to help anglers avoid yelloweye rockfish while still allowing for fishing in yelloweye waters.
The gear requires a minimum of 30 feet of line between the weight and the lowest hook, as well as requiring a non-compressible float above the hook. The set-up ensures that anglers target fish far off the bottom and into the zone inhabited by these so-called midwater rockfish.
A diagram and specifications for the gear are available at ODFW offices or at www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/finfish/groundfish_sport/index.asp.
To maximize survival of fish that are released, descending devices must be used when releasing all rockfish during the long-leader fishery outside 40 fathoms.
ODFW grass-seed giveaway
Landowners who would like to attract more wildlife to their property can take advantage of an annual, free, grass-seed giveaway that has grown popular among rural landowners.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has teamed with the Medford-based Oregon Hunters Association to provide 1.5 tons of a mix of grass seeds to create forage opportunities for everything from big-game animals to non-game birds.
Each landowner can get a 10-pound bag to be planted this fall, which is down from the 25-pound bags given away in recent years, says Matt Vargas, an ODFW biologist at the Denman Wildlife Area.
The size reduction is intended to spread the seed among more landowners, Vargas says.
"It won't be a heavy cover, but if you ration it you can cover a whole acre," Vargas says.
The mix includes subterranean clover, timothy, plantain, Persian clover and orchard grass. They are all non-native grasses chosen because they compete well with starthistle and other non-native weeds.
The seed is available on a first-come, first-served basis until it is gone. It has been offered since Monday, but about 250 bags remained earlier this week because the word had not gotten out among landowners yet, Vargas says.
The seed can be picked up at the ODFW office at the Denman Wildlife Area, 1495 E. Gregory Road, during Denman's regular business hours.
The seed is best when planted in the fall so it will sprout with fall rains. It does not require irrigation.
The plot will reseed itself annually after the first year.
The seed costs $3.18 per pound, with 1 ton purchased through an ODFW habitat fund and the remainder bought by the OHA, Vargas says.
— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.