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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: December 2016
As I am writing this on Sunday, crabbing remains closed for our area. Some, but not all of the crabs recently tested were safe. By safe, the Oregon Department of Agriculture considers a reading for domoic acid of of 30 parts per million for crab viscera (guts) and a reading of 20 parts per million for crab meat. Most of the tests involve the crab guts.
The most disappointing facet of the current crabbing closure is that crabbing was quite good when the closure started and because of high muddy water will be much tougher when the fishery inevitably reopens. Ocean crabbing can be a productive winter option when conditions permit – which isn’t that often.
Ocean and bar conditions have also limited fishing opportunities for for lingcod and rockfish which can be quite good during the winter months.
Peak fishing for winter steelhead is fast approaching, but so far the fishing has been disappointing. The Umpqua River, which usually has fair numbers of winter steelhead by mid-November is producing fish, but most of the fishing pressure seems to be at Sawyers Rapids. Other area streams are still waiting for their peak runs.
Most of the fishing pressure on Tenmile Creek takes place near Spin Reel Park, since almost all of the keepable finclipped steelhead head up Eel Creek while most of the wild fish journey past the Tenmile Creek/Eel Creek confluence to spawn in in tributaries of Tenmile Lakes.. As of last Saturday there were three winter steelhead in the STEP holding pen on the upper end of Eel Creek. By the time Eel Creek opens for sreelhead fishing on January 1st, there should be fair numbers of steelhead in the stream.
It’s important for Eel Creek and Tenmile Creek to have steelhead in them, since they almost never muddy up and are essentially an “insurance policy” against heavy winter rains that can muddy the water in other local steelhead fisheries.
Recent catches of yellow perch indicate that they may spawn earlier than normal this year. Most of the recent catches of larger perch have been females since they need to feed heavily to aid in the development of their egg masses. Most of the perch taken recently have been found to have small perch in their stomachs.
Since none of our local lakes have been stocked with trout since mid-October, trout anglers need to concentrate their efforts on the larger coastal lakes. These lakes host searun trout and also have native trout. Anglers have a more difficult time targetting the trout planted in them and the trout planted in the larger lakes are less likely to be quickly caught and far more likely to carryover. With cold winter water temperatures, still-fishing with bait on or near the bottom is usually more effective than trolling.
Hunting, fishing and other ODFW licenses for 2017 are now available for purchase. The prices are the same as for 2016. If purchasing a license as a gift, one will need to know how to correctly spell the first and last names of the intended recipient as well as their date of birth. If purchasing a yearly license or tag for someone 12 years old or older, their social security number will need to be in the system. The documents need to be signed by the intended user before actually using them. Every year numerous youngsters are unable to purchase yearly ODFW documents because they do know their social security numbers.
The Wells Creek Inn, which has sponsored a Spring Chinook Fishing Contest for approximately 20 years has recently changed ownership. According to restaurant employees, the new owners intend to keep changes to a minimum and they definitely plan to continue the contest.
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 OR/CA border is set for Dec. 18.
“We have consistently taken a very precautionary approach when opening our crab fisheries,” said Caren Braby, ODFW Marine Resources Program Manager. “Recent test results have consistently shown low biotoxin results on the southern end of the state and decreasing levels in ports north of this area indicating they are of excellent quality, safe for consumption and ready for harvest.”
The two agencies also announced the immediate opening of the recreational bay and ocean crab fishery from Tillamook Head (just south of Seaside) south to Cape Lookout (just south of Netarts Bay) effective Dec 10. Recent test results met the criteria to remove the shellfish health advisory in this area. All recreational harvest from Tillamook Head north to, and including, the Columbia River remains open. All recreational harvest of Dungeness crab from Cape Lookout to Cape Blanco remains closed due to elevated levels of domoic acid.
“We are excited to be able to open up another section of the coast for recreational crabbing as we see biotoxin levels decrease and stay below alert levels, Braby said. “We hope this trend will continue and allow us to open the remaining areas for recreational crabbing and commercial harvest soon.”
Opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season along the other areas of the Oregon coast is still delayed due to concerns about domoic acids levels in the central section of the coast. ODFW will continue to work closely with ODA and the Oregon commercial Dungeness crab industry to test crab in central section of the coast. In close coordination with ODA, fishery managers from Washington and California and the Oregon commercial Dungeness crab industry, ODFW plans to evaluate options for opening the commercial season once additional domoic acid test results are available.
It is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to cooking. Evisceration includes removing and discarding the internal organs and gills.
Despite the delay, crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers.
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. For more information on toxin closures, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448‐2474 or visit the
ODA shellfish closures web page at:
Wildlife officers have arrested two suspects for trafficking striped bass in Fresno County, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced.
Leepo Her, 32, and Kue Her, 35, both of Fresno, were arrested Thursday morning, Dec. 8, on charges of illegally selling striped bass on the black market.
Over the last year, wildlife officers checked the two men on several occasions as they were fishing throughout California’s Central Valley. Both men were frequently found to be in violation of various laws, including possession of gross overlimits and retention of undersize striped bass. The two men were cited a total of eight times in the last year, and the egregious nature of their poaching activities led wildlife officers to believe they may be selling fish on the black market.
Wildlife officers analyzed the suspects’ citation history and began a focused investigation collecting an abundance of evidence showing that they had made thousands of dollars through the illegal sale of wild-caught striped bass. The investigation culminated in multiple search warrants served Thursday morning where wildlife officers located live crappie and bluegill in an aquarium, frozen striped bass, marijuana and evidence of a marijuana cultivation and sales operation, and methamphetamine and evidence of methamphetamine sales.
Striped bass were introduced to California more than a century ago and quickly became a highly prized game fish throughout California’s Central Valley. Known for its white flaky meat, striped bass are commonly targeted for consumption. Sport fishing activities related to striped bass generate millions of dollars annually to the California economy; however, commercial take of wild caught striped bass was outlawed more than 70 years ago. The continuing demand for wild-caught striped bass gives way to an illegal black market which threatens local bass populations and the legal sport fishery.
“This is another example of the threat that wildlife trafficking places upon a species,” said David Bess, Chief of CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division. “The fish and wildlife of California belong to all the citizens of the state and cannot sustain the abusive greed of traffickers.”
CDFW officers booked both suspects into jail and will seek prosecutions for numerous counts of Fish and Game code violations related to unlawful take and illegal sales, various drug charges, and possible child endangerment. If convicted, the suspects could face several thousands of dollars in fines and penalties, incarceration, forfeiture of assets and equipment and the revocation of their fishing privileges.
Anyone with information about unlawful fishing, hunting or pollution is encouraged to contact CDFW CalTIP, a confidential secret witness program that encourages the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters. The CalTIP number, (888) 334-2258, is printed on the back of every hunting and fishing license. Tips can also be relayed by text to tip411, which allows the public to text message an anonymous tip to wildlife officers and lets the officers respond back creating an anonymous two-way conversation. Anyone with a cell phone may send an anonymous tip to CDFW by texting “CALTIP”, followed by a space and the message, to 847411 (tip411). There is also an app for smartphones that works similarly. For more information on the program and the new CalTIP app, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/enforcement/caltip.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will launch a new system later this month to sell fishing and hunting licenses and the Discover Pass.
“We are very excited to launch the new system,” said Peter Vernie, WDFW’s licensing division manager. “It will be more user-friendly than the current system and will provide a better experience for our customers and the many retailers who sell state recreation licenses.”
Each year, WDFW sells about 2.5 million hunting and fishing licenses and related recreational permits, generating about $55 million for fish, wildlife, habitat management and enforcement activities that directly support recreational opportunities. Licenses are sold online, by telephone, and through a network of 600 business vendors across the state.
Vernie said WDFW will shut down the current system on the evening of Dec. 17 and will resume sales on Dec. 19. Licenses will not be sold on Sunday, Dec. 18, during the transition to the new system.
Hunters and anglers should be sure to buy their licenses before 6 p.m. Dec. 17 if they plan to be on the water or in the field the next day, he said.
“We appreciate our customers’ and our retail partners’ patience as we make this change,” Vernie said. “We are doing everything we can to minimize inconvenience and to deliver a secure, functional system on December 19.”
Vernie said licenses will be available in mid-January for the 2017-18 hunting and fishing seasons that begin April 1.
Hunters are also reminded to report their harvest online at WDFW’s website or by calling 1-877-945-3492. The hunter reporting service will be unavailable during the transition, Vernie said.
WDFW’s licensing system is located at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov
As we move into December of 2016 many aspects of winter are here. Migrating Eagles were spotted in the sand dunes on Potholes Reservoir as well as along O’Sullivan Dam and in the Lind Coulee arm of Potholes Reservoir. We look forward to seeing the eagles each year and it is another sign of upcoming winter in the Columbia Basin. We are experiencing really high water for this time of year on Potholes Reservoir. The reason for that is record rain in October and a good amount of rain in November. This is resulting in the emergency over flow canal being open and turned on for the first time since 1997. The pool height for Potholes Reservoir is 1041.13 as of December 1, 2016. Please call the MarDon Tackle shop for any hunting or fishing questions (509) 346-2651
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.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the opening of the ocean and bay recreational crab fishery along the southern Oregon coast from Floras Creek (just north of Port Orford) to the California border.
The ocean and bay recreational crab fishery also remains open along the northern coast from Tillamook Head to the mouth of the Columbia River, including the area inside the Columbia River mouth. Tillamook Head is located between Seaside and Cannon Beach.
The 210-mile area between Tillamook Head and Floras Creek will remain closed to ocean and bay recreational crabbing due to elevated levels of domoic acid recently detected in the viscera of Dungeness crab.
Commercial crabbing is currently closed along the entire Oregon coast (in the ocean, in bays and in estuaries). Changes in the status of the ocean commercial crab fishery will be considered next week upon consultation with the commercial crab industry and the Washington and California Fish and Wildlife agencies. Additional crab viscera samples from impacted areas are being analyzed on a weekly basis to determine when and where additional fishery openings will occur. Two successive tests with domoic acid levels below the alert level are required to re-open areas for recreational and commercial crabbing.
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.
ite 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.
For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA Shellfish website – https://www.oregon.gov/…/Shell…/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx
CDFW News – More of Commercial Dungeness Crab Fishery to Open Dec. 3; Some Areas Will Remain Closed.
An approximately 50-mile portion of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery between Point Reyes, Marin County and near Salt Point, Sonoma County that has been closed due to elevated domoic acid levels will open on Dec. 3 at the recommendation of state health agencies, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced today. However, the fishery will remain closed north of Salt Point to the Humboldt Bay entrance. The closed portions of the coast may open once testing by state agencies shows that the area is safe with regard to domoic acid levels.
On Dec. 3 at 12:01 a.m., the commercial Dungeness crab season will open from Point Reyes (38° 00’ N. lat.) to near Salt Point (38° 34.5’N. Lat.). The opener will be preceded by an 18-hour pre-soak period commencing at 6 a.m. on Dec. 2. The area between Salt Point and the north jetty at the Humboldt Bay entrance south will remain closed until the CDFW Director receives a recommendation from the state health agencies that levels of domoic acid – a naturally occurring toxin – do not pose a public health risk. Last fall and winter, domoic acid along the West Coast interrupted Dungeness and rock crab fisheries from Santa Barbara to the Oregon state line.
At the recommendation of the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham submitted to the Office of Administrative Law an emergency rulemaking to keep the commercial Dungeness crab fishery closed north of Point Reyes (38° 00’ N. lat.) and to close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point (37° 11’ N. lat.). State and federal laws prohibit the commercial distribution of seafood products that contain domoic acid levels above the federal action level of 30 parts per million in the viscera, or guts. Because of this, on Nov. 8, OEHHA in consultation with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommended to CDFW to close or delay the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season north of Point Reyes and close the commercial rock crab fishery north of Pigeon Point. On November 23, OEHHA, in consultation with CDPH, recommended that CDFW open the commercial fishery from the north jetty at the Humboldt Bay entrance to the California/Oregon state line at its normal opening date of Dec. 1, and is now recommending the commercial fishery be opened from Point Reyes to near Salt Point.
The recreational season for Dungeness crab opened on Nov. 5 and remains open with a warning from CDPH to recreational anglers to avoid consuming the internal organs of Dungeness crab caught between Salt Point and the north jetty at the Humboldt Bay entrance.
Closure of the above-referenced commercial fisheries 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 fisheries be open, and the Director of CDFW provides notification to the commercial fisheries. Recreational fisheries will remain open under a warning to anglers not to eat the guts of crab caught in the affected areas.
CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in crab along the coast to determine when the fisheries can safely be opened. CDPH, in conjunction with CDFW, has been actively testing crabs since early September and results from the most recent tests showed that select crabs from the closed areas had elevated levels of domoic acid in their viscera. Domoic acid is a potent neurotoxin that can accumulate in shellfish, other invertebrates and sometimes fish. It causes illness and sometimes death in a variety of birds and marine mammals that consume affected organisms. At low levels, domoic acid exposure can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness in humans. At higher levels, it can cause persistent short-term memory loss, seizures and can in some cases be fatal.
Despite the winter chill, Washingtonians have plenty of reasons to head outdoors during the holidays. Seasonal fisheries are underway throughout the state, waterfowl hunting is in full swing and birders are gearing up for some prime viewing opportunities.
Those planning to spend time outdoors between holiday shopping can enjoy:
Steelhead fishing: Fisheries for hatchery steelhead are up and running, drawing stalwart anglers to rivers on both sides of the Cascades.
Goose and duck hunting: Success rates should be improving in some areas as more northern birds move into Washington.
Trout fishing: Anglers continue to reel in trout at numerous lakes throughout the state.
Puget Sound crabbing: Several areas of Puget Sound remain open for Dungeness crab fishing.
Wildlife viewing: Audubon Society chapters around the state are preparing for the annual Christmas Bird Count, which gets going this month. For more information, visit the Audubon website at http://www.audubon.org/
For more information about fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities available this month, see the Weekender Regional Reports posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/. These reports are updated throughout the month to provide current information about recreational opportunities around the state.