Event, Fishing, OREGON

Free Fishing Weekend returns Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving Day

Hagg Lake on August 3, 2020. Photo: Chas Hundley

Free Fishing Weekend will return to Oregon on Friday and Saturday, November 26 and 27, the last of three such “Free Fishing Weekends” to be held in 2021.

On those days, fishing, crabbing, and clamming is free to all residents and non-residents, meaning no fishing licenses or tags, including a Combined Angling Tag or Columbia River Basin Endorsement are required.

Traditionally, the free fishing weekends are accompanied by Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife-sponsored fishing events, but all have been canceled since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. 

ODF&W has compiled a number of angling resources, including a list of 50 fishing locations within one hour of Portland, a list which includes Gales Creek’s 8-acre Dorman Pond on Highway 6, a list of family-friendly fishing areas throughout the state, a weekly recreation report, and a trout stocking schedule. According to ODF&W, Hagg Lake is scheduled to be stocked this week with 4,000 legal-size trout in advance of Thanksgiving weekend. Dorman Pond was last stocked in the first week of May, though ODF&W cautioned that the stocking schedule may not be up-to-date in the Willamette Zone. Vernonia Pond was last stocked in April. 

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According to the 2021 fishing regulations, anglers can keep up to two trout at least eight inches in length from May 22 to October 31 in tributaries of the Tualatin River, such as West Fork Dairy Creek. For the rest of the year, the stream is open to catch-and-release only. Above the Highway 47 bridge in Gaston, anglers are restricted to artificial flies and lures.

ODFW has created a map that shows — complete with little fish icons — stocking locations and popular fishing locations throughout the state.

Check with the local jurisdiction that maintains or owns the body of water you plan on fishing for any closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Gales Creek Journal and sister news publications the Banks Post and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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