Oregon offers two days of free fishing, clamming and crabbing

In this photo from 2016, anglers from around the region enjoy fishing on the Lower Owyhee River — renowned as a brown trout fishery. While closures, bag limits and size restrictions will still apply, it is free to fish, crab and clam the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving in Oregon.

SALEM

Everyone can fish, clam and crab for free in Oregon this Friday and Saturday, although nonresidents not already in the area are discouraged to travel into Oregon just to get in some free fishing.

No fishing licenses or tags (including a Combined Angling Tag or Columbia River Basin Endorsement or Two-Rod Validation) are required to fish, crab or clam in Oregon on Nov. 27-28.

These two days have been set aside for free fishing for several years, as part of the #OptOutside movement encouraging people to get outdoors after Thanksgiving. Oregon State Parks also waives parking fees to provide free day-use entry on “Green Friday” the day after Thanksgiving.

Gov. Kate Brown has announced a two-week freeze through Dec. 2 to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19. However, in recognizing that spending time outdoors with those in your household is safe, the freeze does not close outdoor areas like state parks.

All fishing and hunting seasons also remain open as scheduled. While fish hatcheries are closed to visitors, all ODFW wildlife areas are open to visitors for hunting, fishing and viewing (though some hunt areas may be closed to protect migrating waterfowl and visitor centers are closed). Fish hatcheries will allow access to fishing grounds off-site as they are able during normal working hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) But parking may be more limited at some hatcheries; call the hatchery ahead of time if you have questions about access.

While free fishing also applies to nonresidents, the governors of Oregon, Washington and California are asking nonresidents to quarantine for 14 days after they enter the state. As such, nonresidents are urged not travel into Oregon just to fish.

Although no licenses or tags are required Nov. 27-28, all other fishing regulations apply including closures, bag limits and size restrictions. See the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations to find out more and remember to check for any in season regulation changes, especially for salmon and steelhead fishing, at https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/

Check the Recreation Report for the best fishing opportunities this time of year, https://myodfw.com/recreation-report

Remember to always call the ODA Shellfish safety hotline at (800) 448-2474 or check ODA’s Recreational Shellfish page before you head out shellfishing. Currently razor clamming is closed along the entire coast due to domoic acid levels. The Oregon Department of Agriculture regularly tests shellfish and closes areas when naturally occurring biotoxins get to levels that make crabs and clams unsafe to eat. Dungeness crab is also closed in ocean waters until Nov. 30 but open in bays, beaches, estuaries, tide pools, piers and jetties along the entire Oregon coast.

“Getting outdoors to fish can be a safe and healthy activity right now, and a good respite during this difficult time,” said Curt Melcher, ODFW Director. “We do ask all who participate to please follow all virus precautions so everyone has a safe time during these Free Fishing Days in Oregon.”

Heading out? Stay safe

Please remember to follow ongoing precautions in place due to the virus:

• Practice social distancing. Keep six feet between you and anyone who doesn’t live in your immediate household, including while on a boat or at a fish cleaning station.

• Wear a mask. Recreation areas can get more crowded during Free Fishing Weekend. Wear a mask outdoors when you can’t maintain six feet of distance from someone who doesn’t live in your household.

• Wash your hands often. Keep up on personal hygiene and bring your own water, soap, and hand sanitizer with you.

• Stay home if you are sick.

• Be prepared. Restrooms and other facilities may be more limited. Bring your own soap, water, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, food, etc.

• Avoid crowds. Go someplace else if your destination looks crowded.

• Pack out what you pack in. Take any garbage with you.

• Check for access before you go. ODFW does not control access to land or facilities (such as boat ramps) that it doesn’t manage, so check with the land manager or facility owner where you want to go about what’s open before you leave home. See Oregon Marine Board’s map at https://www.boatoregon.com/map

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