Recreational bottomfish to reopen for some species outside 40 fathoms Oct. 1
Long-leader gear required
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
NEWPORT, Ore.— Recreational fishing for bottomfish for some species will reopen Oct. 1 outside the 40 fathom line for anglers with “long-leader” gear.
Several species of rockfish found outside of 40 fathoms are abundant and catches are well under quota, including yellowtail and canary rockfish. Long-leader gear has proven effective at catching these plentiful rockfish that are found off the bottom, such as yellowtail (“greenies”), widow (“brownies”), and canary rockfish, among others.
“Earlier this month, we had to close groundfish early when the quotas for black rockfish and several other species were reached after a very busy summer bottomfishing season,” said Maggie Sommer, Fisheries Management Section Leader for ODFW. “We understand this has been difficult for coastal communities, visitors wanting to fish, and the businesses that depend on them.”
“By opening outside 40 fathoms, where black rockfish and other nearshore rockfish are rarely caught, and requiring the long-leader gear, we can provide some additional opportunity while still protecting black rockfish and other species and keeping this fishery sustainable,” continued Sommer.
Long-leader gear was first developed and tested in Oregon waters to avoid yelloweye rockfish. The gear requires a minimum of 30’ of distance in the line between the terminal weight and the lowest hook, as well as a non-compressible float above the hook. The unusually long leader and the float work together to ensure that the gear fishes well above the bottom. A diagram and specifications for the gear are available at ODFW offices or at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/finfish/groundfish_sport/index.asp.
In addition to re-opening for certain bottomfish species fished with longleader gear, ODFW continues to allow flatfish fishing at all-depths. While fishing for flatfish is not new (and has a 25-fish bag limit), the opportunity to do so at all-depths was only recently allowed. While both long-leader and flatfish fishing are great opportunities to get out on the ocean, anglers will have to choose one or the other per trip, as it will not be legal to retain both flatfish and other bottomfish on the same trip. This will ensure that fishing on the bottom occurs only in soft-bottom habitat preferred by flatfish, keeping anglers away from rocks and further avoiding bycatch of rockfish and other groundfish species.
“It’s important that we avoid