Free fishing, clamming, crabbing this weekend in Oregon

Everyone, including nonresidents, can fish, clam and crab for free in Oregon this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 27-28.

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 those two days, which s 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. Brown’s two-week freeze to stop the rapid spread of coronavirus 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.

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

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The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have announced the closure of the remainder of the Oregon coast for razor clamming. Recent razor clam samples indicate the marine biotoxin domoic acid has exceeded the closure limit.

Razor clam harvesting is now closed from the Columbia River to the California border.

ODA recommends you discard and do not eat any razor clams dug from the Oregon coast on or since Monday, Nov. 16, as this is when samples were dug.

Mussel, bay clam, and crab harvesting is open along the entire Oregon coast.

For more information call ODA’s shellfish biotoxin safety hotline at (800) 448-2474, the Food Safety Division at (503) 986-4720, or visit the ODA shellfish biotoxin closures webpage.

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Culver resident Thomas R. Campbell, 29, was sentenced in federal court Monday, Nov. 23, for flagrant and repeated poaching of protected and tribally significant bull trout, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced.

According to court documents, on multiple occasions in 2017 and 2018, Campbell poached bull trout from the Metolius River, fishing from both U.S. Forest Service lands and while trespassing on the “Eyerly Property,” which was held in trust by the United States for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.  Campbell also encouraged others to do the same.

The Metolius River requires catch-and-release for all species of fish, including bull trout.  Although one can legally angle for bull trout on the Metolius River and in Lake Billy Chinook, bull trout are not legal to target elsewhere in Oregon.  This makes the Metolius River one of the Oregon’s crown gems of angling. 

Campbell targeted, kept, and grossly mishandled bull trout despite admittedly knowing the laws protecting the species and how to properly handle fish to immediately release unharmed.  He also committed these crimes despite numerous warnings from public viewers of his social media boasts about his poaching.  

Campbell repeatedly posted photos of his bull trout poaching exploits to his social media platforms where he had more than 1,000 followers.

Bull trout are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  The species has been depleted by a range of factors, including overfishing.  Today, bull trout inhabit less than half of their historic range. 

On Aug. 13, Campbell pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges contained in the criminal information. These counts charge violations of the Lacey Act, 16 U.S.C. § 3372(a)(1) for knowingly acquiring and transporting bull trout from the Metolius River in the Deschutes National Forest and from Warm Springs’ Tribal land.

U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken sentenced Campbell to five years of federal probation and banned him from angling or hunting anywhere in the United States as a condition of probation. 

In addition, Aiken ordered Campbell to pay a $6,000 criminal fine to the Lacey Act Reward Fund and $649.95 in restitution to the Oregon State Police for his destruction of a trail camera designed to catch poachers.  

Campbell was also ordered to perform 300 hours of community service with a non-profit focused on conservation or with a collaborative relationship with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

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A decapitated black bear joins a growing list of animals from a frenzy of poaching in Lane County in recent weeks. The crimes appear to be random and opportunistic, and officials are looking for leads in multiple cases.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen. Things are happening all over Lane County right now,” said Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Josh Wolcott, who works with the state’s only conservation K9, a yellow lab named Buck. “Every day is a new report.”

Reports include the bear and multiple deer and elk so far. Wolcott takes Buck to poaching sites where the dog detects shell casings, gunpowder residue and human scent; all of which can lead to a forensic bonanza. Tangible evidence helps, but even better would be a suspect’s name or a vehicle description.

When Wolcott discovered the black bear, he found a scene of carnage. The bear’s head, claws, backstrap and some leg meat were removed. The majority of the carcass was left to waste. Poachers target black bears for their paws, claws, head and gall bladder. The gall bladder is an ingredient in some traditional medicine even though a synthetic version of bear bile is readily available.

Wolcott said it is very possible the gall bladder had been harvested, but because of the condition of the carcass, he was unable to tell for sure.

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ODFW wildlife biologists are aware of over 100 cackling geese that have died in various parts of the Willamette Valley over the last month.

Carcasses have been retrieved from Fernhill in Forest Grove, Sauvie Island Wildlife Area and east of Amity. Tests show a majority of the cackling geese died from aspergillosis, a fungal infection. Ongoing monitoring of the outbreak and additional tests are being performed to determine if there are other associated causes of death.

ODFW is asking anyone who sees clusters of dead geese or other birds to report it to the Wildlife Health Lab. Birds reported may be collected and sampled by ODFW, so please include the location, your name, contact info, time and date dead birds were observed in your report.

Report clusters of dead birds as soon as possible to 866-968-2600 or email [email protected]

Aspergillosis is common in the environment, but wild birds that are exposed to it can sometimes get sick and die.

Cackling geese are the smallest species of wild goose that winter in the Willamette Valley. They migrate thousands of miles this time of year which can lead to increased stress and susceptibility to disease.

It is difficult to determine exactly where cacklers are picking up the infection, but the fungal spores are often found in crop fields and natural refuge sites.

According to the CDC, aspergillosis cannot be spread from animals to people or between people. Most people breathe in aspergillus spores every day without getting sick. However, people with weakened immune systems or lung diseases are at a higher risk of developing health problems. Similarly, aspergillosis cannot be transmitted to pets or livestock on clothing or by direct contact. More info at

Goose hunting season is open in the Willamette Valley on some days, see the regulations at While aspergillosis is not considered a threat to human health, hunters should take all normal precautions including not consuming birds that look sick; wearing rubber or latex gloves when cleaning game; practicing good hygiene and cooking birds to an internal degree of 165 degrees.

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Hunter safety classes for both children and adults are available both physically and online from ODFW.

Registration for these events is open now! Students will need their own license account to register for the class or field day.

If you don’t see a date or location that works for your schedule, check back regularly, as new events are posted as they become available at

Classes will hold a maximum of 25 students.  Parents and family members are asked to wait in the car, or if the facility is large enough, stay back approximately 12 yards from the group. Parents have to be counted in the  class size if they’re “inside” the group. Registration is required ahead of time. Walk-in students cannot be accommodated.  

Make sure the student’s ODFW license account has a valid phone number and email address so we can communicate about class logistics. Class may be canceled at any time due to changing conditions.

All instructors will wear masks as a part of their safety equipment, along with safety glasses and hearing protection. The masks help protect the health of other participants, volunteers and staff.

All students are required to wear a mask. Please bring your own.

Do not attend class or field day if you or anyone in your household have recently had an illness with fever or a new cough. If you have a weakened immune system, this might not be a good time to participate in an ODFW event.

Do NOT bring firearms or ammo – the Hunter Education Program will supply them for use. Safety glasses and hearing protection is also provided.

Links to ODFW-approved online courses are available at the website listed above.

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Two Olive Ridley sea turtles have been found on Oregon beaches this fall, indicating a change in ocean conditions and the potential for more strandings as winter approaches.

An adult female Olive Ridley sea turtle was reported stranded on a beach in Lincoln City earlier this week. The Marine Mammal Stranding Network responded and the turtle was brought to the Oregon Coast Aquarium for assessment and standard triage protocols. Unfortunately, the turtle passed shortly after its arrival.

While the turtle showed no external injuries, it was severely emaciated and had a temperature of 58°F, which is hypothermic for Olive Ridley sea turtles. An average healthy temperature would be around 75°F.

The stranded turtle was preceded by another female Olive Ridley, who was also found near Lincoln City in early October. The turtle was reported to Oregon State Police and then transported to the Aquarium, where it passed hours later. The turtle was weak and cold-stunned, which is typical for stranded turtles.

Cold-stunning presents complications that are difficult to identify and resolve. It can lead to malnourishment, susceptibility to external injuries, and organ damage. The process of raising a sea turtle’s body temperature is risky as well; it must be slow and steady to ensure the animal’s system is not shocked.

Strandings may occur prior to winter as turtles fail to migrate back to warmer waters before temperatures drop, but they typically occur during winter when tumultuous ocean conditions are at their peak. Sea turtles are pushed northward into colder waters and become stunned, preventing them from eating or navigating effectively. At that point, sea turtles are at the mercy of the crashing waves until they wash ashore.

If you find a sea turtle on the beach, immediately note its location, remain nearby to observe it, and contact the Oregon State Police Tipline at 800-452-7888 or the Marine Mammal Stranding Network (MMSN) in Oregon, Washington, and California at 1-866-767-6114.

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The winning artwork for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s 2021 Habitat Conservation, Upland Game Bird and Waterfowl Stamp art contests was selected on earlier this fall.

The Habitat Conservation Stamp winner is Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep by Buck Spencer of Junction City.

The Upland Game Bird Stamp winner is Spruce Grouse by Buck Spencer.

The Waterfowl Stamp winner is Cinnamon Teal by Guy Crittenden of Milford, Del.

Spencer will receive a prize award of $4,000 for winning two of the contests and Crittenden will receive $2,000. Winning artwork will be the face of the 2021 stamps and other promotional items to benefit Oregon’s native wildlife and their habitats.

The People’s Choice Award for 2021 will be judged online this year and members of the public are invited to participate by voting online at:

Due to COVID-19, this year’s art contest was judged at the ODFW Salem headquarters by independent judges and unfortunately not open to the public. Rules for entering the 2022 contests will be announced soon.