General Statewide Regulations
Bag and possession limits apply to all waters and across zone boundaries, and apply to all fish and shellfish in an angler’s possession in the field regardless of condition.
Daily Bag Limit
Maximum number of fish or shellfish that may be legally taken and reduced to possession in one day. An angler may take daily limits of several types of fish per day.
Annual Bag Limit
Applies to the following species only:
- Abalone: 5
- White sturgeon — see zone regulations
- Pacific halibut: 6
- Salmon and steelhead: 20 — in any combination, when recorded on the Combined Angling Tag.
- Hatchery salmon or hatchery steelhead legally recorded on a Hatchery Harvest Tag do not count toward annual salmon and steelhead limit.
Maximum number or amount of a single type of fish or shellfish that a person may lawfully possess in the field, or in transit to the place of permanent residence. The possession limit is 2 daily bag limits for all species, including jack salmon, except:
- 1 daily bag limit for abalone
- 1 daily bag limit on the vessel or three daily bag limits on land for Pacific halibut
- There is no possession limit for adult salmon and steelhead
- Anglers are restricted to 1 daily bag limit and 1 annual bag limit for all fish species from the Columbia River, even if licensed in Oregon and Washington.
It is unlawful to take or have in possession any fish or shellfish that are smaller than the minimum or larger than the maximum size limits.
- Adipose fin: Small fatty fin located between the dorsal fin and the tail on some fish species.
- Aggregate: The total number of fish or shellfish in a bag limit. Generally used where several species make up a combined bag limit, or where a single species bag limit is set for the combined harvest from a specified group of water bodies.
- Angling: To take or attempt to take fish for personal use using a hook and line. Also known as fishing.
- Artificial fly: A fly is a hook, dressed with conventional natural or synthetic fly tying materials. Tied in conjunction with other materials, wire (lead or other) used to weight the fly and dumbbell eyes or beads (metal, glass or plastic) may be part of the fly. A fly does not include sinkers, molded weights, spinners, spoons or similar attractors.
- Attractor: A hookless device attached to a fishing line between the end of the rod and the primary lure, fly or baited hook that provides additional motion or other visual attraction. Typical attractors include dodgers, lake trolls such as Ford fenders, willow leaf, or cowbell flashers, and spreader bars with any number of hoochies, artificial rubber or molded plastic (soft or hard) attractors.
- Bait: Any item used to attract fish that is not an artificial fly, lure or attractor. Molded soft plastic or rubber imitations of worms, eggs, insects, bait fish, crayfish, etc. are considered baits. Scent is not considered bait.
- Bank angling: Fishing from shore or from docks physically attached to the shore. Generally includes wading. Fishing from a boat is not considered bank fishing even if the boat is attached to the shore, a dock or other fixed structure.
- Barbless hook: A hook manufactured without barbs or a hook with the point barb removed or bent down to the hook shank.
- Bass: Largemouth and smallmouth bass. Does not include striped bass or hybrid bass.
- Bobber: A hookless, floating device attached to or sliding along the mainline or leader above the bait, lure or artificial fly. It is designed to suspend the bait, lure or artificial fly and signal on the surface of the water a fish’s strike at the hook(s).
- Carcass: The entrails, gills, head, skin, fins and backbone of a fish.
- Chumming: Putting any substance, not attached to the hook, in the water to attract fish.
- Fish length: Except Pacific halibut and sturgeon, fish length is the shortest distance measured in a straight line between the tip of the tail and the tip of the snout. Fish should be measured while lying on its side, on a flat surface and with its tail in the normal position (see sketch, page 10). Pacific halibut are measured in a straight line from the tip of the lower jaw with the mouth closed to the extreme end of the middle of the tail (see sketch, page 10). The fork length of a sturgeon is measured in a straight line from the tip of the nose to the fork of the tail, with the fish laying on its side, on a flat surface.
- Fly-fishing: Fishing with a fly rod and fly line combination with an artificial fly. Does not include the use of spinning, spincast, casting rods and reels and lead core lines.
- Game fish: Trout, salmon, steelhead, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, other sunfish, catfish, walleye, yellow perch, hybrid bass, whitefish, mullet, grayling, striped bass, sturgeon and shad when taken with a hook and line.
- Groundfish group: Lingcod, rockfish, greenling, cabezon, skates, leopard, spiny dogfish, and soupfin sharks, flatfish other than Pacific halibut, and all other marine fish.
- Hatchery fish: For the purpose of these regulations, a hatchery fish is defined as a salmon, steelhead or trout from which the adipose fin or other fin has been removed (clipped) leaving a healed scar.
- Herring jig: A line or leader with any number of single-point hooks no larger than 3/8-inch hook gap. Typically used to catch species such as herring, sardine and anchovy.
- Hook gap: Distance, measured in a straight line, between the hook point and shank.
- Immediate family: A landowner’s spouse, domestic partner, father, mother, brother, brother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, stepchildren, and grandchildren who reside on the landowner’s property.
- In the field, forest or transit: Anywhere other than a permanent residence.
- Lake: The slack-water portion of all lakes, ponds, and reservoirs; excludes beaver ponds and tide-gate sloughs.
- Leader: A section of line extending from the lowermost hook to the first swivel, weight, bobber or other attachment.
- Lure: An artificial device, complete with hooks, intended to attract and entice fish; excludes artificial flies or attractors. Corkies, spin-n-glos, birdy drifters, lead-head jigs, etc. are considered lures. Molded soft plastic or rubber imitations of worms, eggs, insects, bait fish, crayfish, etc. are considered baits.
- Metal core line: Line that when bent sharply remains bent once released.
- Nongame fish: Fish not otherwise defined as game fish.
- Offshore pelagic species: Includes opah, Pacific pomfret, all species of tuna and mackerel, swordfish, billfish, jacks and all sharks, except leopard, spiny dogfish and soupfin sharks (which are classified as groundfish).
- Permanent residence: A dwelling where a person normally lives, and verified by an address, phone number, utility account, etc.
- Resident: A person who has resided in Oregon at least six months immediately prior to the date of making application for a license, tag or permit issued by the State Fish and Wildlife Commission. Temporary absence from the state for a purpose other than establishing residency outside the state shall not be considered in determining whether a person meets the residency requirement. These requirements are waived for certain active members of the uniformed services and for some foreign exchange students.
- Rockfish: All species of the family Scorpaenidae which includes Sebastes and Sebastolobus that occur in Oregon.
- Salmon: Includes five species: coho, Chinook, chum, pink and sockeye.
- Salmon, jack: Not a separate species of salmon but a life-history stage that return to freshwater and become sexually mature after only a short time in the ocean.
- Shellfish: Abalone, clams, crabs, crayfish, mussels, oysters, piddocks, scallops, shrimp and other marine invertebrates with shells.
- Snagging: Taking or attempting to take a fish with a hook and line in a way that does not entice the fish to voluntarily take the hook inside its mouth, includes flossing. Game fish hooked anywhere other than inside the mouth must be immediately released unharmed.
- Steelhead: A sea-run rainbow trout.
- Stream: The free-flowing portion of all rivers and creeks, including beaver ponds and tide-gate sloughs.
- Strike indicator: A hookless, unscented floating device attached to a line or leader to signal a strike at the fly. Must be attached at least 18 inches from the fly. Strike indicators are not considered an “attachment” or “attractor” and are permitted in fly-fishing only waters.
- Take: To kill, reduce to possession or control, or attempt to possess and control. Includes catch-and-release angling.
- Tide-gate slough: The portion of a stream that is controlled by a tide gate so that it is still when the gate is closed and flowing when the gate is open.
- Tidewaters: Stream or estuary waters affected by daily ebb and flow of tides.
- Tributary: A stream flowing into a larger stream or lake.
- Trout: All rainbow (except steelhead), cutthroat, brook, brown, bull, golden, lake and tiger trout; Atlantic salmon and kokanee. Check exceptions and zone regulations for waters where Chinook salmon and/or coho salmon (landlocked) may be considered trout.
- Two-Rod Validation: Allows a licensed angler to use two rods or lines while angling in standing water bodies such as lakes, ponds and reservoirs, including Snake River impoundments above Hells Canyon Dam. Only when authorized, the two-rod validation may be used in specified streams. Two-Rod Validation is not required for youth under 12 years of age. Two-Rod Validation is prohibited in:
- Columbia River and its impoundments.
- Seasonal or permanent backwaters and sloughs of rivers, streams and creeks.
- Bays, estuaries and ocean waters.
- Coastal lakes during wild coho seasons — see zone regulations.
- Wild Fish: For the purpose of these regulations, a wild fish is a salmon, steelhead or trout with no fin clips — adipose or other. This term is used for regulation simplification purposes only, and in some cases encompasses unclipped hatchery fish and non-native fish (refer to OAR 635-007-0501(69) for the legal definition of “wild fish”).
Regulations May ChaNGE Visit the ODFW website at www.odfw.com for up-to-date information about fishing and regulations changes. You will also find a weekly recreation report, tips on how and where to fish and much more.
Steelhead/Trout Length Limits
ALL OTHER ZONES
NW AND SW ZONES
|Steelhead||longer than 20 inches||longer than 16 inches|
|Trout||shorter than 20 inches||shorter than 16 inches|
Salmon length Limits
|Chinook**||15 to 24 inches||longer than 24 inches|
|Coho||15 to 20 inches||longer than 20 inches|
|Sockeye||All sockeye are considered adults|
Attention Anglers! Bull trout, one of Oregon’s native species, is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Harvest of bull trout is severely restricted in Oregon as part of conservation efforts to recover this species and rebuild the fishery. Please refer to regulations for the Willamette, Central, Northeast, and Southeast Zone regarding bull trout.
Research has shown that most anglers, experienced as well as inexperienced, have difficulty distinguishing between bull trout and brook trout, an introduced species in Oregon. This fish identification information will help you distinguish between native bull trout and introduced brook trout.
Your help is essential to help recover bull trout.
Brook trout and bull trout both have light spots on a dark grey or olive-green background. In general, bull trout have a clear dorsal fin, although in some fish light marks may be seen on the dorsal fin. Bull trout lack the worm-like markings on their backs and the red on their paired fins that characterize brook trout.
Brook trout may be identified by light colored worm-like markings on their back, dark wavy lines on the dorsal fin, and red on the paired fins.
Freshwater Angling Ethics Enjoying angling in Oregon’s waters brings with it some responsibilities. To ensure viable fish populations and continued fishing opportunities, all Oregonians are encouraged to make a personal commitment to the care of the state’s fish and their habitats. Positive voluntary efforts can reduce the necessity for future mandatory regulations.
Here are some guidelines to consider when pledging a personal code of ethics, one that reflects your values and your respect for Oregon’s natural places:
- Know and follow all state angling rules and regulations. Visit ODFW’s website at: www.odfw.com.
- Protect Oregon’s waters from pollutants and waste. Dispose of all trash, including fishing line and tackle, at collection stations or disposal sites.
- Ask first! Do not trespass on private land.
- Be courteous to other anglers, boaters, hikers and campers.
- Remember that warm water conditions can stress salmon, steelhead and trout. Seek cooler waters during summer months, especially early in the day.
- Clean angling equipment and boats. Disinfect wading boots to prevent the spread of aquatic “hitchhikers.”
- Report angling violations to the Oregon State Police at: 1-800-452-7888.
- Avoid actively spawning fish.
- Teach future generations how to enjoy and conserve Oregon’s fish and their habitats.Catch-and-release
- Use barbless hooks so you can easily release your catch. Use pliers to pinch down barbs.
- Use tackle strong enough to bring your fish in quickly and gently.
- Land fish as carefully as possible.
- Avoid removing fish from the water, but if you must, use a cotton or rubber net — not nylon.
- Keep your hands wet when handling fish.
- If taking a photo, cradle the fish at water level and quickly take the picture.
- Remove the hook quickly and gently while keeping the fish under water.
- Use long-nosed pliers or hemostats to back out the hook.
- If a fish is hooked deeply, cut the line near the hook, which will dissolve.
- Point the fish into a slow current or move it back and forth until its gills are working and it maintains its balance on its own. Be patient!
- When possible, let it swim out of your hands.
Introduce a friend, child, co-worker or family member to fishing during Oregon’s annual Free Fishing Weekend. ODFW offers Oregon residents and visitors a full weekend to fish, crab and clam without a license or tags. For more information visit the ODFW website, www.odfw.com.
The Following Activities are Unlawful
- Using more than one rod or line when angling except:
- A person with a Two-Rod Validation may use two rods or lines in areas where use of the Two-Rod Validation is allowed.
- Youth anglers can use two rods where legal without the endorsement.
- 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.
- Rods or lines must be closely attended.
- 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.
- Using drones/unmanned vehicles when angling or to aid in angling.
- Snagging or attempting to snag gamefish.
- Angling through a human-made ice hole larger than 12 inches in diameter or length.
- 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.
- Continuing to angle for the same type of fish after catching and retaining a bag or possession limit. Exceptions:
- In bass tournaments when provided for in tournament regulations.
- When assisting a disabled angler who has an Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing permit.
- When sturgeon angling, provided all subsequent fish are released.
- Boat limit regulation in the ocean and portions of the Columbia River (see page 80)
- Continuing to angle for jack salmon after taking a daily bag limit of adult salmon.
- Catching all or part of another person’s bag limit, except as provided for by an Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit.
- 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.
- All undersized, oversized, prohibited species or unwanted fish or shellfish should not be removed from the water and must be immediately released unharmed.
- Wasting fish, shellfish or marine intertidal invertebrates.
- 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.
- 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.
- Remove from streams, carcasses or parts of salmon and steelhead not taken legally.
- Angling on private land without permission.
- 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.
- Taking or attempting to take fish from state or federal hatchery facilities.
- Removal, alteration or possession of ODFW signs.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Knowingly provide false information to the Department or Comission on any report required by law.
- Bringing live fish or live eggs into the state, transporting them overland, or from one water body to another without a permit from ODFW.
- Unless authorized by a specific take permit issued by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, no person may angle for or possess any of the following species of fish:
- Goose Lake lamprey
- Western brook lamprey
- Pit-Klamath Lamprey
- Klamath Basin lamprey
- Warner Basin tui chub
- Oregon Lakes tui chub
- Borax Lake chub
- California roach
- Lahontan redside shiner
- Tahoe sucker
- Jenny Creek sucker
- Margined sculpin
- Caribe or piranha
- Pacific lamprey
- Miller Lake lamprey
- Alvord chub
- Sheldon tui chub
- Oregon chub of Hutton Spring
- Millicoma dace
- Goose Lake sucker
- Lost River sucker
- Warner sucker
- Pit sculpin
- Walking catfish
- River lamprey
- Klamath lamprey
- Goose Lake tui chub
- Catlow tui chub
- Summer Lake Basin tui chub
- Oregon chub (Willamette Basin)
- Foskett Springs speckled dace
- Modoc sucker
- Short nose sucker (Klamath Co.)
- Malheur mottled sculpin
- Grass carp
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.
- Hooks must measure 3/4 inch or less at the gap.
- Hook must be attached to or below any lure or bait. Weights cannot be less than 18 inches above the lure or bait, and no more than 36 inches above lowermost hook.
- See Exceptions for which leader length applies (see diagram below).
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 lowermost hook when suspended vertically (see diagram below).
- The leader below the bobber must remain suspended vertically and not 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.
- 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 (see page 19).
- 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 are 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.
Fish, shellfish or marine invertebrates may be taken only by the method or gear and during hours listed on the following pages.
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 —
- Harvest Method: Angling, hand, bow and arrow, spear, gig, spear gun, dip net.
- Restrictions: An angling license is not required to take bullfrogs.
- Harvest Method: Hand, baited lines (no hooks allowed), net, rings and traps.
- Restrictions: Neither an angling nor a shellfish license is required to take crayfish.
Freshwater Clams and Mussels
- Restrictions: It is illegal to harvest or possess any freshwater mussels or clams.
- Harvest Method: Hand or hand-powered tools.
- 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 when harvesting lamprey. Possession Permit does not authorize harvest of lamprey.
- Season, harvest hours and possession limits established by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission are printed on Personal Use Permit.
- Personal Use Permit with completed catch information must be returned to the Clackamas Office within 30 days of end of season. Failure to report annual catch may jeopardize your ability to get a Personal Use Permit in the future.
- 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 page 81 for allowed Harvest Methods and other Restrictions.
Suckers, Northern Pikeminnow, Carp, Chub, Sculpin, and other Nongame Freshwater Fish
- Harvest Method: Angling, hand, bow and arrow, crossbow, spear, spear gun, gaff and snag hook.
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.
- 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
Fishing Line Recycling Stations
Discarded fishing line and tackle can be dangerous to fish and wildlife and spoil the scenery. Please discard line and tackle properly.
ODFW’s Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program established collection stations at fishing areas across the state. Local volunteers including conservation and sporting groups maintain the collection stations. Materials collected are reused, recycled, or properly disposed of.
For information about the program, volunteer opportunities or placing a collection station in your area, please call 503-947-6232 or contact you local ODFW office. Look for a collection station at boat ramps and streambank access sites and help Keep Oregon’s Rivers Clean.