Pete Heley Outdoors 11 / 10 / 2015

My friend Bill Lackner, a longtime irritant of the ODFW, the Department of Agriculture and other agencies and officials for claiming that they let the public down by not adequately testing Oregon’s shellfish seems to have a valid point now that the state of California has decided to delay its opening of their commercial dungeness crab season and to outright close their commercial red rock crab season. In addition, the state of Washington has closed crabbing in Willapa Bay without advance notice due to elevated levels of marine toxins.

Recent tests of the viscera (guts) from crabs taken in the ocean off Brookings showed levels of domoic acid of 43.0 ppm at 15 fathoms, 13 ppm at 30.0 fathoms and 40.0 ppm at 45 fathoms. Toxin levels are much higher in the crab “guts” than in the actual crab meat, but but the level for an FDA alert is 20.0 parts per million.

As for Oregon, a joint (ODA / ODFW) health advisory is in effect for recreational crab harvested between Cape Arago (south of Charleston) and the Calif. border from the ocean, bays and estuaries. Due to high levels of domoic acid in their guts, or butter, crab should be eviserated before being consumed. Points north of Cape Arago are not affected by this advisory, however the ODA recommends always taking a pass on eating crab guts.

Recreational and commercial harvest of mussels is closed from the mouth of the Yachats River to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid; the closure applies to mussels on all beaches, rocks, jetties and bay entrances. Mussel harvesting remains open to the north from Yachats to the Columbia River.

Recreational harvest of bay clams is open (except for razor clams) inside estuaries along the entire Oregon Coast.

Scallops are not affected by closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten and commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers.

Coho salmon     are now in Siltcoos Lake and there is considerable fishing pressure directed at them, but fishing has been slow – possibly due to the dam not being left open after an initial flush. Anglers shouldn’t expect much improvement in the coho catch until the lake level raises enough for the dam to be left open or there is enough water going down the fish ladder to make it less of an obstacle to the salmon. In the meantime, there are good numbers of searun cutthroat in the lake and of last week, spinnerbaits and crankbaits were producing good catches of largemouth bass. Fishing for yellow perch using worms or perch meat has also been fair to good and the perch should be moving into shallow water over the next several weeks. Anita, at Nightingale’s Resort on Siltcoos’s Maple Creek Arm has recently been posting coho salmon catches on the resort bulletin board the same day the fish are caught.

The hosts at Tahkenitch Landing reported that both salmon and searun cutthroats were ready to enter Tahkenitch Creek on their way into Tahkenitch Lake, but the International Paper employee in charge of opening the dam each fall has yet to do so.

Tenmile Lakes will be need some exceptionally high tides or a decent amount of rainfall to get salmon into the system, but if they can get upstream as far as Spin Reel Park they can easily get into Tenmile Lakes.

As of last weekend, a very few Chinook salmon have entered the Elk and Sixes rivers. Continued rain should have these streams fishing well and they clear up quickly when muddy.

Sadly, adult tui chubs have, once again, turned up in ODFW test nets on Diamond Lake. Maybe this time the ODFW will consider stocking a fish that will effectively feed on the chubs, yet not be too easy to catch. Brown trout are already in the system to a point less than one-quarter mile below the lake. Tiger trout, a brook trout-brown trout hybrid would be another good choice for a natural solution.

Over the last decade, it seems that a fair portion of the ODFW’s available funds have been directed at this diminutive nuisance fish in this one lake.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.
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