Ocean Outlook: May 27, 2010

Coastwide - A high-pressure system is forecast to sit off the Oregon Coast beginning Friday, and that should make for some relatively calm winds and good seas for Memorial Day weekend ocean anglers. There will be some rain in the mix, but wet is better than wind.

The ocean season for chinook salmon opens Saturday, and fishing is expected to be a bit slow because it's still a little early for chinook. However, with good weather and an anxious fleet, expect to see some decent fishing throughout the coast from Cape Falcon to the Oregon border. The limit is two chinook a day. Coho fishing doesn't start until Saturday, June 26.

This is a near-shore weekend for halibut anglers who won't get to travel past the 40-fathom curve until Thursday through Saturday, June 3-5. The near-shore fishery has been fairly good.

Bottomfish anglers must remain within the 40-fathom curve to reduce the bycatch on canary and yelloweye rockfish. Remain focused on waters 60 to 120 feet deep and along the edges of kelp beds or near-shore rock croppings.

The marine aggregate limit is seven rockfish a day and two lingcod a day with a 22-inch minimum.

Dungeness crabbing in the ocean has been poor lately, largely because the heavy seas have forced recreational crabbers into bays. But good weather projections mean this might be a good weekend to drop the crab pots while running out for bottomfish or salmon. Focus on slack tides. Bay crabbing remains fair to good at high and low slack tides.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture is allowing clam harvest in coastal bays and on open beaches along the entire coast. Mussel harvesting is open from the California border north to the Columbia River. Health officials continue to warn beach-goers not to eat recreationally collected scallops. Also, watch for sneaker waves.

For more information and updated closures, call the shellfish hot line at 1-800-448-2474.

BROOKINGS - The ocean looks good for the start of the offshore chinook season, which starts Saturday. Catches might be light because it's early.

Surfperch fishing is very good around the Winchuck Beach. Use prawns, fake shrimp or shrimp flies.

CHARLESTON - Some halibut have been caught close to shore. The chinook fishing off the mouth of Coos Bay is expected to be fair for Saturday's opener.

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