Historically, the primary targeted species of the Oregon recreational fleet has been coho salmon with chinook a distant second. During the 1990's, halibut and bottomfish gain importance and often became the primary target species as salmon opportunities dwindled. The fishery has been sampled by ODFW since the early 1960s. Ocean creel data was supplemented by salmon/steelhead tag license data through the 1980 season. Creel data alone have been used since 1981.
Hammond/Warrenton/Astoria (Columbia River) Garibaldi (Tillamook Bay) Pacific City Depoe Bay Newport (Yaquina Bay) Florence Winchester Bay (Umpqua River) Charleston (Coos Bay) Bandon Gold Beach Brookings.Samplers are typically in place to sample the ocean fisheries by March in the larger ports and by May or June in the smaller ports. Sampling continues through September or October in some ports. In recent years, seasonal staff levels have been increased due to the need to monitor the bottomfish fishery.
In 1999-2001 ORBS included sampling in nearly all ports year around. That data provides a baseline for estimating the additional uncovered trips and catch.
Catch per boat data and angler counts are collected at least several days a week, including all weekends and holidays in all major ports. Anglers are interviewed at boat ramps, moorages, and charter docks. Samplers usually work from early morning to late afternoon, but work hours vary to reflect fishing activity. The catch is sampled for species, fin marks, scales, lengths and some weights. Snouts are collected from salmon with coded wire tags for decoding and age structures are collected for selected species.
Prior to 1999 non-salmon finfish catch was recorded by major species group (rockfish, lingcod, flatfish, halibut, tuna, and miscellaneous) for all sampled trips, and a percentage of the sampled boats were sampled for full species composition. The species composition data was used to refine the major species groups. Since 1999 all fish are recorded to the species level for each boat sampled.
Charter boat effort in most ports is estimated by contacting each charter office for their count of boat trips by trip type i.e. salmon fishing, bottomfish fishing, tuna fishing, etc. Effort information for private boat trips is primarily obtained through boat counts by ODFW samplers of bar crossings. Boat counts are generally conducted 4-6 days per week depending on the number of samplers available at the port, and the effort count method employed. At most ports boats exiting into the ocean are counted from dawn until 10 AM. Expansion factor(s) based on previous interviewed boat counts is applied to account for boats going out after 10 AM. In Pacific City, Depoe Bay, Florence, Bandon, and Gold Beach total effort is estimated from a combination of boat trailer and/or moorage slip counts and a tally of outgoing vessels. Currently, ORBS is evaluating the use of video for bar crossing counts in select ports.
Sample rates vary substantially by port. ORBS maintains a minimum sampling goal of 20% of all ocean trips, and it is rare to find a port/week strata that does not meet the sampling goal. Sampling rates for some ports such as Depoe Bay and Pacific City, reach sampling rates of 60-80% or more. The average coastwide sampling rate is typically within the range of 35-45% of the angler effort.