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Oregon Salmon Season Still on the Hook for Sportsmen; Recommendation to Go Forward with Recreational Salmon Fishing Buoys Coastal Tourism.

SALEM, Ore. -- Anglers and beach lovers can start planning their summer get-aways to the Oregon Coast. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council last week formalized its recommendation to the National Marine Fisheries Service to continue the 2006 recreational salmon season, despite its decision to limit commercial trolling. A final decision is expected this week; officials are confident the recommendation will be approved.

"Fishing is a significant contributor to Oregon's coastal economies. Whether visitors board a charter boat, hire a guide, or simply stroll down the waterfront, fishing is a rich part of our coastal heritage that continues to attract people to the region," said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon.

Visitors to the Oregon Coast contribute to an overall tourism economic impact of $1.3 billion per year. While it's renowned for some of the best salmon and steelhead fishing on the West Coast, other fishing opportunities include:

--Waters off the coast boast dozens of varieties of bottom fish. Black and blue rockfish are among the most popular catch for sea bass, but other landings from coastal piers and charter boats include cabezon, kelp greenling, ling cod, sole and flounder. The season opened January 1.

--Folks looking for a bigger catch can try their hands at sturgeon fishing at local hot spots like the Columbia River estuary near Astoria or estuaries at Tillamook, Yaquina, Winchester and Coos Bays.

--For those looking for big fish on big water, charter boats along the coast are expected to enjoy fine halibut fishing this year. Truly hardy anglers can try their hand at albacore tuna, which are found 20-40 miles offshore.

--Fishing right off the beach for surf perch is a great family activity. Rocky shores and rolling dunes are ideal spots, and some well known areas include Horsfall Beach, just north of Coos Bay, and Bullards Beach, north of Bandon. When surf gets rough after storms, coastal estuaries are a good spot to hook perch and other bottom fish that take refuge from the elements.

--Crabbing remains a favorite pastime at the Oregon coast, where visitors can take out their own boats, rent a ride or even drop crab pots from public piers.

--Digging for razor, butter and other bay clams is another fun family activity when the tides are right. Popular clamming spots include the north beach at Newport, Agate beach north of Newport, and Clatsop Beach near Astoria. Remember to look for very low or 'negative' low tides, and check local restrictions to make sure clams in any area are open for harvest.

Visitors are encouraged to check local bait and tackle shops as well as marinas for information on fees and licensing.

While most states limit beach access to some degree, all 363 miles of Oregon's coastline are open to the public offering plenty of spots for beach combing and tide pool exploration, but also surfing, kite boarding, 500-foot dunes, old growth forest hikes and horseback riding for the more adventurous. Local main streets offer interesting shopping destinations, art galleries, and museums, as well as a range of lodging and dining options. Other key highlights include the acclaimed Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, the Columbian Maritime Museum in Astoria and the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area between Florence and Coos Bay.

About Travel Oregon

The Mission of the Oregon Tourism Commission, dba Travel Oregon, is to encourage economic growth and enhance the quality of life in Oregon through a strengthened economic impact of tourism statewide. Visit www.traveloregon.com for more information.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 11, 2006
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