Species #81 — Whitespotted Greenling

Though not as common as Kelp Greenling, Whitespotted Greenling do appear with some frequency along Oregon’s Central Coast.

Species: Whitespotted Greenling (Hexagrammos stelleri)
Location: Yaquina Bay, Newport, OR
Date: November 21, 2016

I’ve had better days fishing the hundreds of docks in Newport, but this day wasn’t half bad.

Since I normally go there to target Striped Seaperch for the table, anything else is just a bonus.

Rarely do I fish this area without catching at least one or two bonus species and that day was no different.

When I first pulled up a greenling, I assumed it was the significantly more common Kelp Greenling I’d caught dozens of times, but having just reviewed fish field guides for the Pacific Coast, I realized upon closer inspection it was a Whitespotted Greenling.

This species doesn’t grow as large, isn’t as common, and up until that moment, I’d never even heard of one being caught in Oregon. That’s not to say they aren’t caught with some frequency, but since the Oregon Fishing Regulations don’t picture them, I assume the Whitespotted Greenling is commonly dismissed as a small Kelp Greenling when anglers pull one up.

Whitespotted Greenling have much more white on their bodies and tend to have light-colored markings on their anal fin and face whereas Kelp Greenling have an overall darker complexion.
Kelp Greenling can have wide variability, especially between genders. This variability can include white spots, but they always have a darker overall complexion than Whitespotted Greenling with a dark anal fin and face.

***

The bite continued to be above average until something big made my line shake.

“That’s no greenling,” I said to the small contingent of onlookers, and the fight was on. This was going to be something good.

#SpeciesQuest #CaughtOvgard

Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #82 — Monkeyface Prickleback.

Species #73 — Copper Rockfish

I caught this fish under the Coast Guard station. They eventually saw us and gave us a “random inspection” before encouraging us to leave.

Species: Copper Rockfish (Sebastus caurinus)
Location: Yaquina Bay, Newport, OR
Date: March 24, 2016

If you’ve never been on the open ocean on a small boat intended for use in the lake, then you haven’t lived.

My first trip was on a 17-foot Bayliner with high gunwales out of the Port of Brookings-Habor. It was a little rough, but I wasn’t worried.

My second trip was on a 14-foot flat-bottomed aluminum duck boat, and I was more than a little worried.

Fortunately, before we made it to the end of the bar, the Coast Guard stopped us and told us the bar was closed to small vessels. I was equal parts disappointed and relieved.

My friend, Eric Elenfeldt, was a phenomenal boater, and if I were to go on the ocean in a tiny vessel with anyone, I’d want him driving, but still. It was a rough bar that day.

We made the best of it, dropped our crab pot, and started fishing. He picked up a Red Irish Lord, his first, and we started catching a few rockfish here and there. Before long, the sheet rain started, and we took cover under the Coast Guard station’s large platform. It was the best decision we made all day.

Almost instantly, we caught fish.

Small Lingcod at first and then my first Copper Rockfish obliged me. Then several more.

Smedium Copper Rockfish and small Lingcod were the bulk of the catch here.

Eventually, the guys on the platform spotted us and performed a “random inspection” even though Eric’s inspection sticker was clearly visible on the side of the boat.

They gently asked us not to fish there because it was a matter of national security, and though I’m pretty sure they can’t do that on a navigable waterway, we moved.

It wasn’t long before we saw them fishing from the platform. Huh.

The rest of the day was slow as we struggled to find fish, but we’d learned something: the Coast Guard defends its fishing spots as well as they defend the lives of those out on the ocean.

#SpeciesQuest #CaughtOvgard

Read the next entry in #SpeciesQuest here: Species #74 — Redear Sunfish.