Oregon estuaries are rich with many species of clams, although only a few of these species are commonly harvested. Gaper, butter, cockle, littleneck, and softshell clams are primarily harvested due to their abundance, size, and taste.
A wide variety of other bivalve species are found in Oregon estuaries, but are not commonly harvested due either to their scarcity or lack of palatability.
Clamming is a great family activity and you can get started with tools you already have in the garden. Successful clamming does require some knowledge and preparation.
Before clamming, harvesters should be aware of weather, regulations, closures, responsible harvest, and techniques. This video produced by Travel Oregon provides important information about how to clam in Oregon.
Steelhead are native to North America west of the Rockies. This popular sport fish has been introduced to almost every other state and on every continent except Antarctica.
You may be surprised to learn that steelhead and rainbow trout are the same species, but rainbow trout live only in freshwater and steelhead are anadromous, meaning they spend part of their lives in freshwater and part of their lives in the ocean.
Because of their different lifestyles steelhead and rainbow trout are different in appearance, most noticeably in size and color. Rainbow trout derive their name from their beautiful, multi-hued coloration.
Steelhead are generally more streamlined in shape and silvery or brassy in color as adults. Adult steelhead/rainbow trout range in size.
They can reach 45 inches in length and weigh over 50 pounds, although they are usually much smaller. A typical weight is about 8 pounds.
Because steelhead spend 2-3 years in freshwater followed by 2-3 years in the ocean they are typically larger than rainbow trout.
Steelhead/rainbow trout have a varied diet and will feed on just about anything, including zooplankton when they’re young and fish eggs, small fish, crustaceans, mollusks, insects, and even mice as they mature.
This fish is also a food source for many different predators depending on the region and habitat. Their predators include lampreys, fish, birds, bears, river otters, raccoons, and humans. In the ocean, steelhead are eaten by many species including seals, sea lions, and orcas.
Steelhead have been called the ultimate game fish. These elusive and challenging fish can test an angler’s patience and persistence, but the reward is hooking into a fish that is famous worldwide for its line-peeling runs and spectacular, acrobatic fight.
California sea lions are members of the “eared seal” family Otariidae. These pinnipeds live along the rocky Pacific Ocean coastlines of western North America.
They are very social animals and form groups of several hundred individuals onshore. In many areas they have become quite invasive and obnoxious.
California sea lions are the most recognized pinniped species because they are commonly seen doing acrobatic tricks in shows at zoos and aquariums. While they are known for their intelligence and playfulness, these animals also quite athletic.
In the wild, the California sea lion swims up to 25 miles per hour, which is faster than any other sea lion or seal. This superb speed is related to how they use their front flippers.
This animal is also an avid diver. When diving deep, California sea lions slow their heart rates to allow them to remain underwater for nearly 10 minutes before surfacing to breathe. This ability gives them an edge in the pursuit of the fish, squid, and shellfish that make up their primary diet.
California sea lions have color vision. They don’t see all colors, however, but are limited to blue-greens of the color spectrum.
–Wikipedia, California Sea Lions (www.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_sea_lion)
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