Are you Interested in going spearfishing off the beautiful coast of Oregon? If you are, read on to find out about the best locations, types of fish, and regulations when Oregon spearfishing.
The Oregon Coast (361 miles) with its wide sandy beaches, rocky cliffs and quaint coastal towns is a land of bliss. It’s filled with an abundance of natural beauty that just keeps going and going.
Many are familiar with Oregon’s main export (not trees) the delicious Dungeness crab (spearfishing prohibited) but there’s a spearfishing paradise also under the sea that many a spearo love…let’s explore.
Oregon Spearfishing Regulations
First, in most cases the regulations on what types of fish you can spear as well as the size and limit are the same as when using a rod/line to fish. For example, the minimum length for a Lingcod is 22″ when fishing with a pole or when spearfishing and two fish per day are allowed.
There are a couple of species of fish you can’t spear. If you happen to be from Oregon you probably know or have a good idea on what they are.
This guide will give you an overview but as always please check the latest Oregon fishing regulations at ODFW for the latest regulations and requirements.
“Salmon, shad, steelhead, sturgeon, trout,
whitefish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass,
hybrid bass, striped bass, bluegill, catfish, crappie,
sunfish, yellow perch, walleye and mullet.” Oregon Fish & Wildlife
The above-listed fish may only be caught using a rod. Spearfishing is not permitted. You probably noticed that many of these fish are freshwater species. Freshwater spearfishing is prohibited in Oregon. Even though Salmon and steelhead spend much of their lives in the ocean you are not permitted to spear them in the ocean.
Permitted Fish To Spearfish (and my favorite)
The following list of fish are the most common types of fish you are allowed to spearfish in Oregon. My personal two favorites are lingcod and Pacific Halibut.
Lingcod (22″ min.)
I still get such a rush when I come across a Lingcod. It brings back great memories on when I brought back my first decent-sized fish…33″.
These are prehistoric-looking fish with large mouths and sharp teeth. They are a brownish/gray in color with mottled spots. They can get up to 5′ long in Oregon waters but you will mostly find them in the range of 2 – 3 feet.
When spearfishing Lingcod it’s good to bring a flashlight with you. Look in holes and crevices. They like to hide out waiting on other fish to swim by to eat.
They are a fairly confident fish and if you are calm when approaching them they will stay still. Always stay calm when spearfishing and try not to make any sudden movements. There you have it, my number one spearfishing tip. Simple but very effective.
You can cook Lingcod many ways…my favorite, beer batter them and have some delicious fish ‘n chips…bring it on!
Cabezon (16″ min.)
Cabezon are also another great fish. They are smaller than a Lingcod but they sure can put up a fight. They are also a prehistoric-looking fish. You will also find their meat to be bluish in color. Nothing to worry about. They are absolutely delicious to eat. My favorite method to cook them is…butter, garlic, salt, pepper and pan-fry them.
Well, this is for sure a favorite. Look for sandy bottoms and keep your eyes peeled. They can easily blend into their surroundings. Without a doubt, I’ve swum over many a Halibut without knowing. These are strong fish and they have very sharp teeth. Be careful. I love to BBQ or bake these great tasting fish.
*Catch limits and seasons for Pacific Halibut are determined in March and published in May of every year.
If you even get an albacore off the Oregon Coast please let me know when spearfishing…I never have. They are off the coast in the summer but that’s some serious bluewater fishing out there. Click here to read an article on blue water spearfishing.
Albacore tuna is fantastic to BBQ. Their meat is nice and white when cooked. Fun fact – Albacore are known to be the fastest of all the tunas in the world and on many days cover about 50 miles at speeds up to 50 mph.
When spearfishing in Oregon you will see many a rockfish. They are also called rock cod and sea bass. There are more than two dozen species found along the Oregon coast.
These fish range in size between 12″ – 17″. In most cases, I’m always trying to go after a Lingcod or Halibut but hey sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
If luck is not with me a couple of rockfish can fill the gap for some fish tacos…typically with a nice Oregon beer.
As mentioned this is an overview and please confirm with ODFD, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, for the particular species you would like to spearfish. This would include limits, seasons and size requirements.
Top 5 Oregon Spearfishing Locations
There are many fantastic spearfishing spots along the Oregon Coast but I will give you my favorite. Here we go, in no particular order. As always be very careful when spearfishing the Oregon Coast. Conditions can change quickly and the surf and swell can pick up. When in doubt go grab a nice lunch and beer (I mention beer too much). There will always be another day.
Rockaway Beach is a great beach for the entire family. It’s a beautiful sandy beach that stretches for about 7 miles. You will see families razor clamming and fishing off the beach. Always a good sign for Spearos.
Where’s the best spot to go spearfishing at Rockaway Beach? Look straight out at Twin Rocks, one with an arch (hard to miss). This is a fantastic spot where plenty a Lingcod has ended up in my belly. It’s not that far of a swim or use a sea kayak. A kayak is great to use all along the Oregon Coast. I highly recommend using one. Take a look here to see my top recommendations.
Gold Beach is a small coastal town where the Rogue River meets the Pacific Ocean. I love to go spearfishing here. you can’t really go wrong. Get out on the beach and take your pick of the rock formations poking out of the Pacific. Take a swim out and you won’t be disappointed.
Get ready to get your limit of Cabezon and Lingcod. For the beginner Spearo you will find plenty of rock cod to practice your skills on. Just a friendly reminder to please think before you go spearfishing. Whatever you spear, you take home to eat. Don’t destroy any living creature just for fun and non-use. I can’t stress that enough…very important!
Indian Beach part of Ecola State Park is a beautiful secluded sandy beach with many rock formations popping out of the ocean and a Spearos dream. Watch out for the surfers when spearfishing, they are there to enjoy too. It’s really not an issue but just a mention.
I suggest trying your luck on both the north and south ends of the beach. There are wonderful shallow and deep rock pools filled with all kinds of sea creatures for the kids to explore when you are spearfishing.
Again rock cod, Ling Cod and Cabazon are aplenty in these waters. I have seen some Pacific Halibut here, but nothing legal to spearfish.
Not just Indian Beach, but Ecola State Park, in general, is a great place to go Oregon spearfishing. Plus go for a hike, etc. Go take a drive and explore the park. You won’t be disappointed in its beauty and things to do.
Located 90 miles north of the California border is Bandon, a town that has many a beach that’s great to go spearfishing. The coastline along Bandon is filled with sea stacks of rocks you can take a kayak out to explore. Face Rock and Elephant rock are excellent areas to go spearfishing. Again please be careful when the surf is up.
Mill Beach – Zwag Island and Diver Rock
Mill Beach is a good place to go out in Brooking Oregon. Go out between Zwag Island and Diver Rock. Watch out for the surf when entering. This is not a place for the beginner due to the surf. You guessed it a sea kayak is great to use when entering.
There are some pods of kelp out there where rock cod and sea perch like to hang out. I’ve seen a couple of nice sea bass out there too. This location is also a great spot to go scuba diving too. You might come across a few divers.
Here are a few of my top recommendations, I found super useful when spearfishing:
Go and explore the Oregon Coast. Its rugged beauty has many great places to go spearfishing. I’ve given you my top five locations but there are so many. Some are just off the highway with no name and untouched. As always be safe, check local regulations and enjoy the wonderful world of spearfishing.