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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: December 2016
Don’t pay a “Dump Fee” to dispose of your used Christmas tree. CCA will take your tree and use it to create salmon habitat in local area streams. BARE TREES ONLY. No decorations or spray on fake snow.
Trees can be dropped off at the back southwest corner of the Reedsport Les Schwab’s store. Look for the signs and pile of trees.
Offshore bottomfishing is productive and open through March of 2017 when it will only be open at depths less than 30 fathoms (180 feet).
Beginning on January 1st, there will be a number of changes regarding bottomfishing. The changes are listed on the ODFW website under marine resources. They include:
Any vessel fishing for, or possessing, bottomfish in the ocean must have a functional descending device onboard, and use when releasing any rockfish outside of 30 fathoms. Functional descending device means one that is ready to be used. There are a variety of commercially available descending devices, ranging in price from $5 to $60. Additionally some anglers have developed homemade devices.
Information on rockfish recompression and descending devices including videos
Bag Limits or Sub-Bag Limits
Marine fish (rockfish, greenlings, skates, rays, etc.) remains at 7 fish per day.
Of the 7-fish marine daily bag limit, no more than the number below are allowed:
NEW— 6 black rockfish
NEW— 4 blue/deacon, China, copper, or quillback rockfish combined
Not new— 1 cabezon during open season (July 1- December 31)
NEW— There is no longer a sub-bag limit for canary rockfish.
Not new— Lingcod 2 fish per day
Not new— Flatfish species, other than Pacific halibut, 25 fish per day. Skates and rays, although flat, are not included in this group; rather, they fall under the 7-fish marine bag limit.
Minimum Length Limits
NEW— Greenling = none
Not new— Lingcod = 22 inches
Not new— Cabezon = 16 inches
Recreational crabbing is now open along the entire Oregon coast, but because of high river flows and muddy water, the best crabbing is currently in the ocean and in Oregon’s larger bays which are currently saltier than the river systems. Right now commercial crabbing is open from Cape Blanco to the California border. The rest of the Oregon coast will reopen to commercial crabbing on Jan. 1st, 2017.
Regulation changes regarding rockfish will take effect on Jan. 1st – such as mandatory use of descending devices when fishing in water more than 30 fathoms deep. No more than six black rockfisk may be included in the daily limit of seven bottomfish. No more than four blue/deacon, china, copper or quilback rockfish may be retained as part of the seven fish daily limit. With the exception of Pacific halibut, marine flatfish such as sand dabs and flounder still have a 25 fish daily limit, but fish such as skates and rays, although flat, are considered part of the seven fish daily limit for marine bottomfish.
Lingcod still have a separate two fish daily limit and the minimum length for legal retention is still 22-inches. The minimum length of ten inches on greenling will no longer be in effect after the first of the year. Greenling will still be included in the seven fish daily limit for marine bottomfish.
Bottomfish anglers need to be aware that the current daily limit on cabezon of one fish at least 16-inches in length will cease at the end of December. From Jan. 1st through June, cabezon will not be legal to keep. The open season on cabezon runs from July 1st through December.
Another potential world record spotted bass was recently pulled from northern California’s Bullards Bar Reservoir. This fish weighed 10.80 pounds. An even larger spotted bass of nearly eleven pounds was caught from the reservoir about a year ago, but still has not been certified as a world or state record. There were some discrepancies with that fish in that no California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife employees were available to witness the weighing, but a further hindrance to certifying the fish was that the angler who caught the fish tried to hide where he caught it.
This angler does not believe an angler should be required to reveal where he caught a really impressive fish – unless he wants it certified for a lake, state, national or world record. A lucky angler should not be allowed to have it both ways. I also do not believe that fish from private waters should be eligible for any official record consideration.
This coming weekend (Dec. 31st, 2016 and Jan. 1st, 2017) will be a “free fishing weekend”. People will be allowed to fish, crab or clam open Oregon waters during the two days without having to purchase a fishing or shellfish license. A combined Angling Tag, commonly called s “steelhead tag” will also not be required for the two days, but daily limits are still in effect.
Winter steelhead fishing is in full swing and there are good numbers of fish in all local streams that host runs. Although some anglers use lures or flies, most use bait, with roe or sand shrimp being most popular. The most effective strategy might be simply keeping track of which streams are in peak fishing condition when the trip actually occurs.
With the exception of the Umpqua River, most local streams fish best when they are not high and muddy. Tenmile Creek has been fairly high, but not muddy and fishing showed an improvement at Spin Reel Park last week. Eel Creek, which opens to steelhead fishing on Jan. 1st may be high, but almost certainly will be clear. As for the Umpqua, some of the river’s largest steelhead are caught by bank anglers plunking bait during high, muddy river flows.
I received a most interesting letter last week from Bob Murphy of Yoncalla. It seems that Bob and his two children (Stephanie and Ivan)
decided in early April to see if they could catch a thousand fish during 2016.
They mostly fished for bass and panfish in Cottage Grove Lake with several trips to Cooper Creek Reservoir in Sutherlin and single trips to several other waters. Many of the fish were released and many of the fish were small – but not all of them. Stephanie landed a 14-inch crappie and Bob landed a 20-inch smallmouth bass with a 17-inch girth. Both the crappie and the five pound three ounce smallie came from Cottage Grove Lake.
Although they caught 825 of their fish at Cottage Grove Lake, their one-thousandth fish, a ten inch largemouth, came from Cooper Creek on August 27th. By mid-November they had landed well over eleven-hundred fish and almost certainly would have caught more if they hadn’t spent considerable time measuring and documenting their catch.
Congratulations to the Murphy family for finding an interesting way to make their family outings even more fun.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) announce the opening of the commercial crab season from Cape Blanco (just north of Port Orford) to the Oregon/Washington border starting January 1, 2017.
Fishery managers and food safety specialists consistently exercised caution in opening the crab season this year due to elevated levels of domoic acid found in crabs along Oregon’s central coast. The almost month-long delay in opening the season allowed for additional testing for domoic acid to provide confidence that crab harvested from Oregon waters are safe to consume and of excellent quality.
“Along with the state agencies, the Oregon commercial Dungeness crab industry has taken a very proactive and precautionary approach to the opening of this crab season in the interest of public safety and consumer confidence in a high quality product” says Caren Braby, ODFW Marine Resources Program Manager.
Testing of crab in recent weeks show the elevated levels of domoic acid in the central section of the state have decreased and are all below U.S. Food and Drug Administration alert levels for at least two sample periods in a row.
Commercial crab boat lights will start dotting the horizon in the central and northern portions of the state on December 29 as boats are allowed to set gear three days prior to the fishery opening. The recreational harvest of Dungeness crab in Oregon’s bays and ocean is currently open coastwide.
As the crab fishery in these areas get underway, state agencies will continue to monitor marine biotoxins in shellfish to ensure concentrations remain below the alert level for consumer safety.
For more information about Oregon’s shellfish marine biotoxin monitoring, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448‐2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page.
Recreational crabbing for our local area finally opened last Friday. The entire southern Oregon coast is now open from the Oregon-California border northward to the North Jetty of the Umpqua River. In other words, from the Umpqua’s North Jetty north to about Tillamook (Cape Lookout), a distance of about 140 miles is still closed to crabbing. So popular crabbing spots like Florence, Waldport and Newport remain closed to crabbing until further notice. Charlston and Winchester Bay are now open for crabbing, but someone attempting to crab out of Winchester Bay would need to head south or due west to be crabbing in open waters. The few crabbers that actually ventured out into the ocean last weekend reported fair to good success. Commercial crabbing has reopened along the southern Oregon coast. Quite often, commercial crabbing remains closed until the entire coast is open to avoid concentrating commercial crabbing effort on a relatively small area.
While recent tests for marine toxins in shellfish in our area have shown safe levels of domoic acid, test results have fluctuated greatly and quickly. So there may be more closures regarding shellfish in the months ahead. Right now the entire Oregon coast is open for mussels and bay clams and closed for razor clams.
Beginning Jan. 1st in 2017, any vessel fishing for, or possessing, bottomfish in the ocean must have a functional descending device onboard, and use it when releasing any rockfish outside of 30 fathoms. A functional descending device means one that is ready to be used and easily accessible. Ocean fishing for lingcod and rockfish has been good when ocean and bar conditions have allowed it.
No trout have been planted in any lakes along the Oregon coast for two months, but some of the larger lakes have carrover, native and searun trout. Diamond Lake now has an ice cover which may be thick enough for ice-fishing. Make sure to check at the resort before actually venturing out on the ice. When fishing, make sure to release any tiger trout caught – they’ll barely be eight inches long anyway.
Last week’s cold snap almost certainly slowed fishing success for yellow perch and had them seeking deeper water. In Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes anything over 15 feet qualifies as deeper water. Bullhead catfish and some bass will be at similar depths. Expect slow action and very light bites.
Hunters have until January 31st to report their hunt results – even if they did not use their tags – and for hunters that purchased deer and elk tags, not reporting could mean your next hunting tag could come with a $25 surcharge.
Another “free fishing weekend” is coming up. This one will be Dec. 31st and January 1st. Fishing and shellfish licenses won’t be necessary and steelhead anglers will not need combined angling tags. Unless there are last minute changes, there won’t be any harvesting of razor clams in Oregon, or crabs in the area along the Oregon coast that remains closed to crabbing.
Once again, 2017, fishing licenses and tags make great holiday gifts and have been available for purchase since Dec. 1st.
In a decision many Oregon hunters will applaud, Colorado officials will proceed with a controversial plan to kill dozens of mountain lions and bears to bolster the state’s declining mule deer population.
Last week’s vote by Parks and Wildlife commissioners authorizes specialized contractors to kill up to 25 black bears and 15 mountain lions per year across two regions in the central and western parts of Colorado. The project will run for three years, to be followed by a six-year study of how deer populations respond to fewer predators.
The population of Colorado’s mule deer, a prized quarry of hunters, has dropped sharply in a puzzling, decades-long decline to about 450,000 animals, which state officials said was about 110,000 fewer than there should be.
A 2014 state study tied the decline to seven factors, including predators, whose numbers have swelled because of a “decline in frequency of severe winters.”
Critics, however, said the state should focus first on the human-led destruction of mule deer habitat.
“The decline of mule deer in western Colorado and around the west is obviously a complex issue with complex causes,” Brian Kurzel, Rocky Mountain regional director for the National Wildlife Federation, told The Huffington Post. “By far, the greatest issue — and one that I think deserves the most attention in any science-based study — is habitat quantity and quality.”
Kurzel pointed out that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently approved 15,000 new oil and gas wells in a patch of western Colorado sometimes referred to as “the mule-deer factory,” where the herd has declined to about 30,000 from more than 100,000 in the early 1980s. Though state officials have acknowledged oil and gas development affects mule deer populations, they didn’t oppose the federal decision. Other factors, including highways (which disrupt migratory corridors), residential growth and human recreation are also curbing the mule deer population, Kurzel said.
State Parks and Wildlife officials don’t necessarily disagree. They pitched the $4.5 million predator-culling program as a way to gather research for later decisions.The state budget ― and the contribution of deer hunters to it ― also may be a factor. The Denver Post reported that Colorado Parks and Wildlife gets 90 percent of its funding from hunting and fishing licenses.
The department denied that its plan to kill predators of animals prized by hunters is influenced by money, but there’s no question more diversified funding would be a good thing, especially if deer populations continue to decline.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding north state Trinity River anglers to return salmon and steelhead tags in a timely manner.
Tag return information is used each year to calculate harvest and help biologists estimate population size of steelhead and salmon runs. This information feeds into the Klamath basin fall Chinook run-size estimate and informs the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s creation of regulations and quota sizes for the Klamath fishery. The data also allows CDFW to determine if progress is being made toward the goals of the Trinity River Restoration Program.
“We rely on anglers returning tags to us in the same season the fish are caught so that the information can be used in the management of our fisheries,” said Mary Claire Kier, a Trinity River Project environmental scientist. “Timely return of fish tags is a crucial component in making an accurate harvest estimate.”
Only tags returned to CDFW in the same season they are obtained can be used in the harvest estimates.
Please return all Trinity River fish tags to:
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
5341 Ericson Way
Arcata, CA 95521
Anglers can obtain a form to accompany the tags at www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/inland/fish-tags or send the tags with:
Angler’s name and address
Date and location fish was caught
Whether the fish was kept or released
Anglers should also cut the knot off tags before sending to ensure they will clear the United States Postal Service sorting machine.
Investigations by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) have culminated in illegal trafficking of wildlife cases pending in Los Angeles and Alameda counties, and in San Francisco.
In recent weeks, CDFW’s Wildlife Trafficking Team worked three separate investigations:
CDFW wildlife officers intercepted and seized 377 items of jewelry containing pieces labeled as mammoth ivory at an air cargo terminal in Los Angeles, following a report from U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) inspectors regarding the unlawful commercial importation. The ivory was shipped from Indonesia into California. Criminal charges will be recommended to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for the suspected violations.
CDFW wildlife officers and USFWS inspectors intercepted a shipment of three boxes from Indonesia containing 116 items made of python skin. The items included large and small purses, large bags and a variety of wallets. Like ivory and rhinoceros horn, it is unlawful to import into California for commercial purposes the dead body or parts of a python. The items were seized, and criminal charges will be recommended to the Alameda County District Attorney’s office for the suspected violations.
Wildlife officers also worked with the San Francisco District Attorney’s office to crackdown on illicit trafficking of ivory and rhinoceros horn in San Francisco. Wildlife officers inspected several businesses in San Francisco and found two with significant violations. Wildlife officers seized a solid bone pagoda and a rhinoceros horn bracelet at one location. At another location they seized 18 statuettes ranging from 15 to 26 inches containing suspected pieces of ivory and 37 statuettes ranging in size from one-half inch to six inches suspected to be made entirely from ivory. They also seized suspected whale teeth, two ivory chess sets and two carved tusks labeled as mammoth ivory. The total value of the seized items from the San Francisco operation is estimated at over $500,000. Criminal charges will be recommended to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office for the suspected violations.
CDFW wildlife officers have submitted formal complaints to prosecutors in San Francisco and Los Angeles and Alameda counties. Prosecutors will determine whether charges will be filed. No arrests have been made to date.
A law banning the sale of nearly all ivory in the state of California took effect July 1, 2016. The ban, which can be found in California Fish and Game Code, section 2022, encompasses teeth and tusks of elephant, hippopotamus, mammoth, mastodon, walrus, warthog, whale and narwhal, as well as rhinoceros horn, regardless of whether it is raw, worked or powdered, or from a store or a private collection. Under the law, advertising the sale of any items containing ivory is also strictly prohibited. The legislation helped fund the team of CDFW officers to focus on ivory, rhinoceros horn and other wildlife trafficking, including training and laboratory capability for evidence analysis.
“Under Governor Brown’s leadership, laws to combat illegal wildlife trafficking have been substantially strengthened,” said David Bess, Chief of CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division. “The creation of our Wildlife Trafficking Team and enhancement of our laboratory and legal staff are important steps in stopping the epidemic of poaching and trafficking of wildlife in California and around the world. This effort by our wildlife officers demonstrates that the black market trafficking of wildlife in California will not be tolerated. We stand ready beside our federal and state partners, as well as District Attorneys across the state to take these poachers and traffickers out of business.”
Under the new law, raw ivory and most crafted items that include ivory may no longer be purchased, sold or possessed with the intent to sell, with limited exceptions, including the following:
Ivory or rhino horn that is part of a bona fide antique (with historical documentation showing the antique is at least 100 years old) provided the item is less than five percent ivory or rhino horn by volume;
Ivory or rhino horn that is part of a musical instrument (with documentation of pre-1975 construction) provided the instrument contains less than 20 percent ivory or rhino horn by volume; and
Activities expressly authorized by federal law, or federal exemptions or permits.
Although the sale of ivory and elephant parts has been illegal in California since 1977, the new law closed a loophole that allowed the continued sale of ivory that was imported into the state before 1977. The sale of ivory, rhino horn or products that contain ivory will be a misdemeanor, punishable by fines up to $50,000 and one year of incarceration.
Frigid winter weather has hit Central Washington. With single digits all still waters are frozen in Grant County. Potholes Reservoir has Ice in the sand dunes and part of the Lind Coulee as well. Moses Lake is full of ducks and geese and the refuge on Winchester Wasteway, Frenchman Lake and Royal Lake. Many years the birds head to the Columbia River when the weather turns harsh like this. We will hope for a warming trend but if not we could see the lake freeze over soon.
Please call our store for Ice Fishing updates 509-346-2651. As of today we do not have any news on safe ice but that can change daily with these temperatures. The MarDon Store has Ice Auger’s, Swedish Pimples and Maggots. Make sure and check ice conditions before walking on any new ice.
The Royal Hunt Club is a great option to get access to private land for Pheasant, Goose or even Duck Hunting this Season. A season pass will run $300 per hunter or you can but a 3 day consecutive pass for $125 per hunter. This land is in the greater Royal City Area and is roughly 20,000 acres. For more information please call (509) 346-2651 or email moc.trosernodramnull@ofni.
Duck & Goose Plucking now available. Bring in you days hunt and drop off at the MarDon Store, dont forget you will need you hunting license number to correctly fill our the form. The price is $7 for a duck and $20 for a goose.
NEW-Descending Devices Mandatory
Any vessel fishing for, or possessing, bottomfish in the ocean must have a functional descending device onboard, and use when releasing any rockfish outside of 30 fathoms. Functional descending device means one that is ready to be used. There are a variety of commercially available descending devices, ranging in price from $5 to $60. Additionally some anglers have developed homemade devices. More information on rockfish recompression and descending devices can be found at: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/recompression/index.asp
Bottomfish Season Structure
The recreational bottomfish (groundfish) season is scheduled to be the same as the last several years, with fishing allowed at all depths January 1-March 31 and October 1 –December 31. April 1- September 30 will be restricted to fishing shoreward (or inside) of the 30 fathom regulatory line. The seasonal depth restriction is in place to limit impacts to yelloweye rockfish. Cabezon will once again be open July 1- December 31 with a 1 fish sub-bag limit.
Bag Limits or Sub-Bag limits
Marine fish (rockfish, greenlings, etc) remains at 7 fish per day
NEW—6 black rockfish; out of the 7 fish marine bag, no more than 6 may be black rockfish
NEW—4 blue/deacon, China, copper, or quillback rockfish combined
1 cabezon, during open season (July 1- December 31)
NEW—Removed the canary rockfish sub-bag limit; part of the regular 7 fish bag limit
In large part due to the conservation measures by all fishery sectors for the last 14 years, canary rockfish was declared rebuilt in 2015 based on a federal stock assessment. This allows for additional harvest. ODFW will continue to monitor catches of canary rockfish to make sure the Oregon recreational quota of 75 mt is not exceeded. For reference, the quota in 2016 was approximately 12 mt.
Lingcod remains 2 fish per day
Flatfish species, other than Pacific halibut, remains at 25 fish per day. Notes skates and rays are not “flatfish”, they fall under the 7 fish marine bag limit.
To assist anglers with these bag and sub-bag limits ODFW has updated the handout titled “What can I keep and how many?” available for download by clicking on here. It is intended to be a visual aid to assist anglers.
Lingcod minimum length = 22 inches
Cabezon minimum length = 16 inches
NEW—Greenling minimum length – removed
Additional information can be found on the ODFW recreational bottomfish webpage or by calling the Marine Resources Program at 541-867-4741
The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce that additional areas have been added to the ocean and bay recreational crab fishery along the southern Oregon coast.
The recreational crab fishery is now open from the north jetty of the Umpqua River (including Winchester Bay) south to the California border. On the north coast, the recreational crab fishery is open from Cape Lookout north to, and including, the Columbia River.
The area between Cape Lookout and the north jetty of the Umpqua River will remain closed to ocean and bay recreational crabbing due to elevated levels of domoic acid detected in the viscera of Dungeness crab. The closure includes popular recreational crabbing spots in Siletz Bay, Yaquina Bay, Alsea Bay, and the Siuslaw River.
Changes to the status of the ocean commercial fishery in the region between Cape Blanco and the OR/WA border will be considered next week upon completion of additional domoic acid testing from the Newport area, and in consultation with the commercial crab industry and the Washington and California Fish and Wildlife agencies.
It is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to cooking. Evisceration includes removing and discarding the internal organs and gills.
Despite the closure, crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers because these products were not harvested in areas closed for biotoxins.
Domoic acid or amnesic shellfish toxin can cause minor to severe illness and even death. Severe poisoning can result in dizziness, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. More severe cases can result in memory loss and death. Shellfish toxins are produced by algae and originate in the ocean. Toxins cannot be removed by cooking, freezing or any other treatment.