This week’s column topic is a mishmash of year-end goodies to ease you into what promises to be a tumultuous 2018.
Item 1: The final scheduled free fishing days Sunday and Monday, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, have been canceled by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Those days previously had been announced but were pulled in late November because of a change in the approach for assigning the eight days allowed annually by the Oregon Legislature, according to department officials.
The move links free fishing days to holiday weekends to tie in with President’s Day in February, Oregon State Parks Day the first weekend in June, Labor Day in September and Thanksgiving in November.
During free fishing days, no licenses or tags are required to fish and go crabbing or clamming in Oregon.
Because of the switch, be sure to buy your 2018 license and tags before heading out beginning New Year’s Day.
Item 2: Speaking about the end of 2017 and the start of 2018, for the hardy/foolhardy, there are some killer low tides both Sunday and Monday if you don’t mind Popsicle toes, chilled fingers and clamming by flashlight, headlamp or lantern.
There is a low of minus-1.85 feet at 5:29 p.m., about 45 minutes after sunset, on Sunday, and a minus-2.36 footer!! at 6:18 p.m., about an hour and 45 minutes after sunset, on Monday at Garibaldi on Tillamook Bay.
Forecasts call for a low of 40 degrees and 40 percent chance of rain there Sunday, with a low of, ahem, 32 degrees (feels like 28 with gusts of 9 mph) with 6 percent chance of rain during the evening on New Year’s Day.
Those should make for a pretty good ice-breaker, metaphorically and perhaps literally, for the new year.
Which is a sneaky segue into …
Item 3: So far, about two dozen readers have requested and received the 2018 tables listing minus-tide series for 2018 for South Beach on Yaquina Bay (Newport), Garibaldi, Netarts Bay southwest of Tillamook and Taft on Siletz Bay on the south end of Lincoln City.
In the interests of full disclosure, I edited them from a full year of tides high and low along with whacking and hacking at the times for sunrises, moon-rises, sunsets, moon-sets and moon phases for each site, so there may be some hiccups in the editing. If you would like to get copies of the bay clamming tide tables, email me at the address at the end of the column, and I’ll send them as attachments in a reply.
Or if you would like to create your own, go to http://tbone.biol.sc.edu/tide/sites_uswest.html.
Item 4: Along with the next round of incremental fee hikes approved by the 2015 Oregon Legislature that go into effect for 2018 fishing and hunting licenses, tags and permits (the next scheduled bumps are 2020), there also are a couple of fishing-rule changes.
Changes include expanded fishing for spring-run Chinook salmon in the Northwest Zone, a lifting of bag and size limits for bass on the lower Deschutes River and allowing anglers to keep up to 10 kokanee a day on Lake Billy Chinook and Wickiup Reservoir.
Finally, those who have a two-rod endorsement on their fishing license will be allowed to use up to five rods when ice fishing.
Which “augers” well for those with strong backs and arms, or who have power augers.
If this catches on, there will be a whole lot more ice holes out on the lakes.
OK, I’ll stop now; just couldn’t resist closing out 2017 with a bad pun.
Happy New Year!
Henry Miller is a retired Statesman Journal columnist and outdoor writer. You can contact him at HenryMillerSJ@gmail.com