Pete Heley Outdoors 2 / 15 / 2017

The crabbing closure from Coos Bay’s North Jetty to Heceta Head was lifted Feb. 10th – so, once again the entire Oregon coast is open to recreational and commercial crabbing. For how long, one can only guess.

Also on Feb. 10th, following the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced that it will extend the open area of the commercial rock crab fishery northward to Bodega Bay in Sonoma County.
The commercial rock crab fishery is now open from 38° 18′ N. Lat. (Bodega Bay, Sonoma County) south to the California/Mexico border. Closure of the commercial rock crab fishery north of Bodega Bay shall remain in effect until the Director of OEHHA, in consultation with the Director of CDPH, determines that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommends the fishery be open. In the meantime, CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in rock crab within the closure area of the coast. CDPH, in conjunction with CDFW, has been actively testing crabs since early September. The most recent test results showed that domoic acid in rock crabs from Bodega Bay and Point Reyes had fallen below the alert level of 30 ppm in their viscera.

It seems that our governor is urging ODFW commission members to rethink their vote to allow gill nets to remain in the Columbia River. Perhaps it was the potential loss of millions of dollars in federal aid that Oregon put at risk when it chose to break with the state of Washington in how to manage the 309 miles of the Columbia River Oregon shares with Washington. If Gov. Brown is unhappy with that vote, perhaps she have put more thought into her recent commissionappointments. The Commission will take up this issue at either their scheduled March 17 meeting or at a special meeting before April 4. The huge Columbia River, always difficult to manage properly, will be even more difficult until Oregon and Washington get on the same page.

On Wednesday, Feb. 15th, the Christmas trees collected by the Oregon Coast Anglers and stored at Les Schwab’s will be hauled to Elkton here 14 students will be picked up to assist in placing the trees in Fitzpatrick and Sawyer creeks for habitat enhancement for salmonid smolts. Some larger trees have already been anchored in these streams to make placement of the Chrismas trees easier and more effective. Two ODFW biologists assisted with the project.

On Saturday, Feb. 25th, the annual Expo put on by the Lower Umpqua Flycasters will take place between 9 am and 3 pm at the Reedsport Community Center. Admission is free and 26 fly tiers are expected to reveal their expertise to public scrutiny.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a land acquisition that will add 95 acres to the Coquille Valley Wildlife Area in Coos County during their meeting in Tigard on Feb. 11th. The wildlife area provides wetland habitat for wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities.
The Nature Conservancy is providing funds to acquire the property.

Stanley Paalksnis, an Onalaska, Wisconsin resident, is looking at losing his fishing privileges for 12 years and fines of $24,683 along with having his fishing boat seized for illegally poaching more than 2,500 panfish. The sentencing is to occur in the near future.
Mr. Paalksnis, aged 74 had his boat and home recently searched by Wisconsin DNR in November 2015 and the wardens seized over 2,500 panfish. The mixed bag included bluegills, crappies and perch putting the man well over the possession limits for each type. Paalksnis also confessed to the illegal sale of fish in Chicago, where he was selling bags for 5 dollars over a 20 year period.
Paalksnis’s biggest mistake was not practicing his unsportsmanlike fishing in the Pacific Northwest on the Columbia River where Washington and Oregon have recently removed all limits on spiny ray fish species.

Florence-area lakes being planted with trout this week include Alder Lake (850 legals); Cleawox (2,000 legals); Dune Lake (500 legals) and Munsel Lake (500 12-inchers). All these lakes received substantial trout plants last week.

Newport-area fishing spots were also planted this week with Olalla Reservoir getting 4,000 legal and 200 15-inch trout and Big Creek Reservoir #1 getting 2,000 legals and Big Creek Reservoir #2 getting 4,000 legals and 100 15-inchers. The north Oregon coast will not receive anymore trout plants until mid-March, but some Coos County and Douglas County waters will begin receiving trout plants in late February.

Yellow perch are in their immediate pre-spawn stage and water temperatures in most of our local lakes are now in the 45 to 50 degree range that usually signals the start of spawning season.

Bassfishing should become productive with slightly warmer weather. Some serious local anglers wait for water temperatures to reach 51 to 55 degrees and that usually occurs earliest on north or west shorelines. Three good early season bass lakes are Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes.

Tenmile will host the annual “Frostbite Open” on Saturday, Feb. 25th. The weigh-in will be held at Osprey Point RV Resort after 3 pm. The tournament should be close to its 75 boat limit and the success of these early-season bass experts makes the weigh-in worth watching.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.

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