June is almost here and do you know what that means? Free Fishing Weekend is coming up! In Oregon, a fishing license is typically required for those ages 12 years or older, but not on the first weekend in June! You won’t need a license to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon the weekend of Saturday June 5 - Sunday June 6, 2021.
Fishing is one of the most popular activities in our region because it’s an activity that anyone can do at any time. We think it’s a pretty darn good way to unplug and spend time with family and friends while enjoying the great outdoors. Not to mention, fishing weekends often result in relaxation, epic stories and happy memories that will last a lifetime. Anglers of all skill levels travel to Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend & Charleston year-round to enjoy world class fishing, but Oregon’s Free Fishing weekend is the perfect way to kick off our summer fishing season. Most will agree that this special weekend is a great opportunity to explore different types of fishing, from shore, charter boat, bridge, and even kayak.
There are many fresh water rivers and lakes to enjoy, and those looking for a peaceful lakeside trip will find many locations with plentiful perch, bass, and trout. However, in this post, we’re sharing some pro tips from local fishing expert, Gary Vonderohe on summer saltwater fishing on the beach and/or out on the bay and ocean.
When it comes to current conditions, seasonal tips and catch limits, Gary Vonderohe is the person we turn to. A Fish Biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife in Charleston, Gary knows where fishermen can go to find the best saltwater fishing options this summer and wants to pass on his tips to you. Our friends at ODFW have also pulled together everything you’ll need to plan your own DIY free fishing day adventure but we encourage you to visit one of our local bait shops while in the area. They’re always willing to provide visitors the info and gear they need for a successful clamming, crabbing and fishing adventure!
Keep reading for more tips!
If spending a warm day casting your line from shore sounds appealing, surf fishing from local beaches for striped bass and surf perch may be for you! Popular locations for surf fishing include Horsfall Beach, Bastendorff Beach and Cape Arago State Park. The best information about these fishing opportunities is available from local tackle shop.
Please note, whenever surf fishing, consult tidal charts, weather conditions and beware that sneaker waves occur on the Oregon Coast. REMEMBER TO NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON THE OCEAN.
Thanks to the many charter boat companies in this area, fishermen of all levels can venture offshore for salmon, halibut, Albacore tuna and a variety of bottomfish – from lingcod, to rockfish, to flatfish. Always check the weather before heading out, and familiarize yourself with the tides by checking the following sites:
SALMON FISHING Most Pacific salmon fishing occurs April through November, and sport seasons are regulated for Coho and Chinook salmon by state and federal agencies. The 2021 ocean salmon seasons were set by the Fish and Wildlife Commission on April 23. Chinook salmon fishing in the ocean is currently open through Oct. 31. Selective Coho (fin-clipped) Season opens June 12, 2021 through earlier of Aug. 28 or 120,000 fin-clipped coho quota. Gary says that fishing for fin-clipped coho is usually better in the Coos Bay area early in the season. See this year’s ocean salmon seasons.
BOTTOMFISH Bottomfish are typically available year-around off Oregon’s Adventure Coast – weather permitting – and a charter trip usually ends with an ice chest full of fish. To keep up with seasonal changes, we recommend checking with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife for the most up to date recreation report for bottomfish catch limits. More information can be found on the sport bottomfish seasons page.
PACIFIC HALIBUT FISHING Pacific halibut is not a bottomfish species; it is managed with its own allocation and regulations. Halibut is a spring and early summer fishery and the Nearshore Halibut season (inside 40-fathom line) is now open through October 31 (or until the quota of 32,808 lbs is caught). Retention of bottomfish is allowed with nearshore halibut fishing, however on days when the all-depth fishery is open, all-depth rules apply regardless of depth of fishing (see the “New in 2021” section below for details). You can find more 2021 season dates and regulations on the ODFW’s Sport Halibut Season Page.
ALBACORE TUNA Albacore Tuna tend to be offshore from mid summer through early fall. A few Albacore Tuna have already been caught offshore. Fishing for Albacore Tuna has typically been best in late July, August, and sometimes into September but anglers travel 20-30 miles offshore to find the best fishing.
CHARTER BOAT INFO Charter boat operators can help plan half-day and full-day trips for any size group. Here is a list of some of our local companies to get you started:
Betty Kay Charters, Charleston, OR (541) 888-9021 www.BettyKayCharters.com
Pacific Charter Services, Charleston, OR (541) 378-3040 www.PacificCharterServices.com
Chinook Charters, North Bend, OR (541)-662-0964 www.chinookcharters.webs.com
Fishin’ Trips Charters, Coos Bay, OR 541-891-2309 www.oregonsadventurecoast.com/tour-guides-and-charters
Lucky Me Charters, Charleston, OR 541-948-3905 www.facebook.com/Lucky-Me-Charters
PacificPond Charters, Charleston, OR 541-294-5252 www.facebook.com/PacificPondCharters
CRABBING Just ask anyone, crabbing in the lower waters of Coos Bay is second to none. Crabbing on Oregon’s Adventure Coast can be done year-round off the docks and anyone can easily rent or buy the necessary equipment. Crabbing inside Coos Bay has been good so far this year with boat crabbers having the most success. If you don’t have a boat there are lots of docks in Charleston to drop you crab pots from. Crabbing is typically best on either side of the slack tides. Here are a few tips we want to share from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Be sure to read their instructional flyer How to Crab for important details.
CLAMMING The Southern Oregon coast, home to numerous bays, is the ideal destination for recreational diggers and we expect tides to be ideal for clamming well into summer and even fall! Clamming for bay clams in Coos Bay is open and is always good on just about any low tide. You are allowed 20 bay clams per day in the aggregate, however, only 12 of which may be Gaper or Empire clams. Click here for ODFW’s Regulations Summary for Marine Shellfish and read Clamming on Oregon’s Adventure Coast for more information.
Now that you’re in the know, let’s help you plan your summer fishing trip to Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston! Our list of local places to stay accommodates a wide variety of budgets and preferences - not to mention many of the properties mention certain fishing amenities in their description! We can’t wait to welcome you back to Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston. Contact us with any questions you may have about things to do on your vacation!
For more tips, visit Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife for the latest recreation reports and regulation updates for our region. OFFW’s Recreation Report Marine Zone
There is another Free Fishing Weekend scheduled for Nov. 26-27, 2021 (Friday & Saturday), Thanksgiving Weekend