Like it or not, bass fishing in Oregon continues to gain more and more visibility. With great visibility comes great responsibility?

There are a wide range of opinions on many subjects relating to bass and warm water species. Feel free to weigh in on those topics here but also know heated debate that leads to personal attacks of any kind will be removed.

The topic for today’s blog is a regulation that not many are currently aware of or really know when specifically it was put into place across the state. All Oregon waterbodies EXCEPT the Columbia River zone have a regulation on the books about retention of bass over 15 inches. The only exception to this rule is permitted tournaments or non-permitted tournaments where a tournament banner is used and ODFW, State Police, and any other necessary waterbody agencies are notified.

What does this mean for anglers in Oregon? If you aren’t fishing a recognized tournament, you could be fined for having a limit of bass in the livewell larger than 15 inches. In the Southwest Zone, the limit is one single bass over 15 inches. This may be a shock to some who still feel taking pictures with multiple fish and releasing them does the fish no harm. No matter what the opinion on the subject is, the policy is in place and can be enforced at any time.

Since most of us fish for the same reasons and enjoy the competition side of the sport, what can be done to stay legal when fun fishing against a few friends? At this point, unless regulations are challenged and changed, even small competitions between friends will need to follow the tournament notification process on the ODFW site:

So next time you head to the water, think twice about getting pictures of multiple bass at once (unless you are like me and just really good at catching the small ones).

For more information on the Oregon regulations, pick up a regulations book anywhere licenses are sold or check online at:

Examples of regulations below:


Featured Photo: Nick Chin and Bobby Brown fishing a permitted tournament at Tenmile Lake in April 2018