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General Statewide Regulations

Fishing Regulations Icon Oregon Fishing

General Restrictions

The Following Activities are Unlawful

  1. Using more than one rod or line when angling except:
    1. A person with a Two-Rod Validation may use two rods or lines (or five rods or lines only when ice fishing) in areas where use of the Two-Rod Validation is allowed.
    2. Youth anglers (under 12 years of age) can use two rods where legal without the two-rod validation.
    3. When angling outside of three miles from shore for offshore pelagic species, any number of rods or lines are allowed only if no species other than offshore pelagic species have been retained.
  2. Not closely attending rods or lines.
  3. Using gurdies, winches or reels affixed to a boat to land fish (rod or line must be held in hand) except when used to retrieve crab rings or pots.
  4. Using drones/ radio controlled boats/ or other unmanned vehicles when angling or to aid in angling.
  5. Snagging or attempting to snag gamefish.
  6. Angling through a human-made ice hole larger than 12 inches in diameter or length.
  7. Taking or attempting to take any fish by chumming, or knowingly angle with the aid of chum. Except when angling for offshore pelagic species outside of three miles from shore if no species other than offshore pelagic species have been retained.
  8. Continuing to angle for the same type of fish after catching and retaining a bag or possession limit. Exceptions:
    1. In bass tournaments when provided for in tournament regulations.
    2. When assisting a disabled angler who has an Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing permit.
    3. When sturgeon angling, provided all subsequent fish are released.
    4. Boat limit regulation in the ocean and portions of the Columbia River (see Marine Zone, #8).
  9. Continuing to angle for jack salmon after taking a daily bag limit of adult salmon.
  10. Catching all or part of another person’s bag limit, except as provided for by an Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit.
  11. Buying or selling fish or shellfish, or parts thereof, that were caught or taken for personal use. Except the skeletal remains of ocean food fish may be sold; and eggs from ocean-caught salmon may be sold to a licensed fish or bait dealer.
  12. All undersized, oversized, or unwanted fish or shellfish should not be removed from the water and must be immediately released unharmed.
  13. Wasting fish, shellfish or marine intertidal invertebrates.
  14. Disposing of a fish carcass into waters other than where the fish was caught. Anglers must retain enough of the carcass to identify the size, species and any fin clip.
  15. Taking a fish with a radio tag (identified by an antenna trailing from its mouth or body) except in the mainstem Columbia River and its tributaries, when consistent with all other applicable laws and regulations.
  16. Remove from streams, carcasses or parts of salmon and steelhead not taken legally.
  17. Angling on private land without permission.
  18. Trespassing on a fishway, weir or fish trap, or angling within 200 feet above and 200 feet below a weir or the entrance/exit of a private or public fishway or fish trap.
  19. Taking or attempting to take fish from state or federal hatchery facilities.
  20. Removal, alteration or possession of ODFW signs.
  21. Failing to give the Department any part of a salmon or other fish containing coded-wire tags, such as the snouts of salmon that have been marked with adipose fin clips.
  22. Attaching a tag or physical mark to any fish in Oregon waters without a scientific taking permit. However, adipose or otherwise fin-clipped fish may be tagged as part of fishing tournament activities authorized under Department tournament permits. Contact ODFW in Salem for an application.
  23. Refusing to allow ODFW employees, peace officers or landowners to inspect license, catch and gear. It is also unlawful, for any person licensed by ODFW to fail to comply with the directions of authorized Department personnel related to the collection of sampling data or material from salmon or other fish. By purchasing a license or tag a person consents to these inspections.
  24. Knowingly provide false information to the Department or Commission on any report required by law.
  25. Bringing live fish or live eggs into the state, transporting them overland, or from one water body to another without a permit from ODFW.

    Gear and Bait Restrictions

    Anti-Snagging Gear Restriction Rules

    • See regulation exceptions where anti-snagging gear restrictions are in place.
    • Fishing gear restricted to artificial fly, lure, or bait with one single-point hook.
    • Unless otherwise specified, hook must measure 3/4 inch or less at the gap.
    • Hook must be attached to or below any lure or bait.
    • Weight cannot be less than 18 inches above the lure or bait.
    • Consult exceptions to zone regulations for which leader length applies:
      1. Leader length: 18-36 inches
      2. Leader length: less than or equal to 6 feet

Salmon/Steelhead Bobber Fishing Rule

  • See regulation exceptions where salmon/steelhead bobber rules are in place.
  • Fishing gear restricted to artificial fly, lure, or bait with one single-point hook.
  • Salmon/steelhead bobber angling gear must include a bobber and leader no longer than 36 inches.
  • Any weight is to be no more than 36 inches from the hook when suspended vertically (see diagram below).
  • The bobber must suspend the weight, leader, and terminal gear, not allowing it to rest on the river bottom.

Use of Fish for Bait

Dead fish, preserved fish, parts of fish and shellfish, and fish eggs may be used as bait.

The following may NOT be used as bait:

  • Live fish. Except live nongame fish may be used in the ocean, bays and tidewaters when taken from the same waters in which they will be used as bait.
  • Goldfish. Nor can they be in an angler’s possession while angling.
  • Lamprey.
  • Live crayfish.
  • Live leeches. Nor can they be in an angler’s possession while angling.

It is unlawful to: transport live fish into, within, or out of this state; hold any live fish in the waters of this state; or release or attempt to release any live fish into the waters of this state, except as provided by OAR 635-007-0600(3)(a) for aquaria fish intended for aquaria use and those holding a valid Fish Transport Permit.

Hook and Weight Regulations

No more than three hooks may be used when angling, except herring jigs may be used for marine food fish species.

  • A double or treble point hook is classified as one hook.
  • When angling with two rods (where allowed and with a Two-Rod Validation), the general hook rule applies to each rod.

Barbless hooks and or single point hooks may be required when angling for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon or trout in certain waterbodies, please check zone regulations and exceptions prior to fishing. Barbless hooks are advised for fisheries where the catch-and-release of fish is anticipated.

For Salmon, Steelhead, Halibut and Sturgeon

  • Pacific halibut — no more than two hooks may be used.
  • Sturgeon — no more than one single point barbless hook may be used.
  • Ocean salmon — no more than two single point barbless hooks when angling for salmon in the ocean, or when angling for other ocean species with salmon or steelhead onboard.
  • Salmon/Steelhead (except ocean)
    • Single-point hooks larger than 1-inch gap and multiple point hooks larger than 9/16 inch gap are prohibited.
    • All weight, if not part of conventional lure, must be attached on the fishing line between the lure and the end of the rod.
    • With hooks larger than 5/8 inch gap or multiple point hook, weight must be attached 18 inches or more above the uppermost hook.

Angling and Harvest Methods, Hours and Other Restrictions

Fish, shellfish or marine invertebrates may be taken only by the method or gear and during hours listed below.

Game Fish

Salmon, shad, steelhead, sturgeon, trout, whitefish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, hybrid bass, striped bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie, sunfish, yellow perch, walleye and mullet.

  • Harvest Method: Angling.
  • Restrictions: It is unlawful to:
    • Angle for or take salmon, shad, steelhead, sturgeon, trout or whitefish except during daylight hours (one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset). See exceptions for specific waterbodies.
    • Snag, spear, gaff, net, trap, club, shoot or ensnare any freshwater game fish. A hand-held landing net may be used to land a legally hooked fish. A gaff may not be used to land salmon, steelhead or other freshwater game fish in inland or ocean fisheries.
    • Take game fish other than those hooked inside the mouth.
    • Remove eggs from any salmon, steelhead or sturgeon without retaining the carcass while in the field.
    • Possess game fish in the field that have been dressed or mutilated so that size, species or fin clip cannot be determined. Fish may be dressed when the angler has reached their automobile (or principle means of land transportation) and has finished angling for the day.
    • Use lures to angle for sturgeon in waters closed to salmon and steelhead angling.
    • Gaff or penetrate sturgeon in any way while landing or releasing it.
    • Remove sturgeon greater than 54 inches fork length totally or in part from the water.
    • Not immediately release, unharmed, all fish not legal for retention, this includes tethering or tying a sturgeon to any object, including the shore, for take at a later time.

Nongame Fish and Shellfish — Freshwater

Bullfrogs

  • Harvest Method: Angling, hand, bow and arrow, spear, gig, spear gun, dip net.
  • No angling license is required.
  • Open all year
  • No bag limit

Crayfish

  • Harvest Method: Hand, baited lines (no hooks allowed), net, rings and traps.
  • No angling or shellfish license is required.
  • Open all year in all streams including streams listed as closed.
  • See exception for The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation.
  • Bag limit is 100 crayfish per day, 3 daily limits in possession.

Freshwater Mussels and Clams

  • Restrictions: Harvest Prohibited. It is illegal to harvest or possess any freshwater mussels or clams.

Lamprey

  • Harvest Method: Hand or hand-powered tools.
  • Restrictions: Harvest Prohibited. It is illegal to harvest or possess any species of lamprey except:
    • Pacific lamprey may be taken at Willamette Falls only.
    • Must have in possession both a Personal Use Permit and a Possession Permit issued from the ODFW office in Clackamas.
    • Season, harvest hours and possession limits are printed on Personal Use Permit.

Smelt

  • An angling license is required.
  • Unless specifically authorized under emergency rules, it is unlawful to take or attempt to take Eulachon smelt in inland waters, including bays, rivers, estuaries, and streams.
  • For smelt species other than Eulachon smelt, see Marine Zone regulations Marine Zone for allowed Harvest Methods and other Restrictions.

Suckers, Pikeminnow, Carp, Chub, Sculpin, and other Nongame Freshwater Fish

  • Harvest Method: Angling, hand, bow and arrow, crossbow, spear, spear gun, gaff and snag hook.
  • Restrictions: See Zone Regulations for specific species restrictions.

Food Fish and Shellfish — Marine

Regulations for marine shellfish, marine invertebrates and other marine species listed on Marine Zone. For licensing requirements see License Information

Food Fish

Herring, anchovy, sardines (See special regulations above for taking smelt species.)

  • Harvest Method: Angling, dip net, cast net and herring jig with any number of hooks.

Lingcod, Rockfish, Cabezon, Greenling, Flounder, Sole, Perch, other Nongame Marine Fish and Off-Shore Pelagic Species

  • Harvest Method: Angling, hand, bow and arrow, spear, spear gun, gaff and snag, hook and herring jig.
  • Restrictions: Unlawful to dress or mutilate fish prior to landing so that size or species cannot be determined and to transport mutilated fish across state waters. Except albacore tuna may be partially cleaned at sea (see Marine Zone).

Pacific Halibut

  • Harvest Method: Single rod and line, with no more than 2 hooks; spear.
  • Restrictions: Unlawful to dress or mutilate fish prior to landing so that size or species cannot be determined and to transport mutilated fish across state waters.

Marine Shellfish and Marine Invertebrates

See Marine Zone.

Removing Sodium Sulfite from Cured Eggs

Cured fish eggs have been a popular salmon and steelhead bait for decades. However, a recent study by ODFW and OSU has shown that a common ingredient in some cures — sodium sulfite — can be toxic at some levels when consumed by juvenile salmon and steelhead.

Thanks to the work of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association and the egg cure manufacturers, guidelines have been developed for cured egg recipes that reduce sodium sulfites to levels that are much safer for juvenile fish. Many manufacturers are now selling these new formulations.

If you’re making your own cure, we urge you to avoid using sodium sulfite. Borax is a good alternative that does not appear to cause mortality in juvenile salmon.

If you’re buying commercially cured eggs:

  • choose products that are labeled Meets Oregon Guidelines and carefully follow label instructions
  • don’t add additional sodium sulfite to already cured eggs
  • don’t dump unused eggs in the river where they can be eaten by juvenile fish
  • consider the use of net bags to reduce the likelihood of juvenile salmon consuming the eggs.

The effect of sodium sulfite on salmon and steelhead populations has not been determined. However, reducing sodium sulfite from cured eggs is a small step that individual anglers can take to help reduce salmon and steelhead smolt mortality.

For more information and a complete list of certified products that meet Oregon guidelines go to dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/cured_eggs.asp