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ODFW: Free fishing, clamming and crabbing next Friday, Saturday

Crabbing Emily B. ODFW
Emily B./ODFW
Crabbing It’s free to fish, crab and clam the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving in Oregon.

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Everyone can fish, clam and crab for free in Oregon on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 27-28, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced.

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.

Governor Brown has announced a two-week freeze from Nov. 18-Dec. 2, 2020 to stop the rapid spread of coronavirus. Recognizing that spending time outdoors with those in your household is safe, this 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, nonresidents should not travel into Oregon just to fish. The governors of Oregon, Washington and California are asking nonresidents to quarantine for 14 days after they enter the state.

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 For beginners, Easy Angling Oregon is a great guide to getting started fishing in Oregon, https://myodfw.com/EAO And if you live near Portland Bend Medford Roseburg or in Lane County , there are lots of nearby options.

Remember to always call the ODA Shellfish safety hotline at1-800-448-2474 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.

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.

“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.”

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

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