Monthly Archives: November 2017

WDFW News – WDFW Delays Commercial Crab Fishery on Washington Coast Due to Low Meat Content.

State shellfish managers have delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery on Washington’s coast due to inadequate meat in crab shells.

The commercial fishery on Washington’s coast typically opens Dec. 1. Recent testing indicates crabs along the coast do not have sufficient meat in their shells to meet industry standards for harvest. The fishery will be delayed until at least Dec. 16 to allow more time for crabs to fill with more meat.

Another round of testing will take place after the Thanksgiving holiday to determine whether the fishery can open Dec. 16 or will need to be further delayed, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“It’s not unusual for crabs to need more time to fatten up,” Ayres said. “We’ll re-evaluate in another week or two.”

Contrary to an erroneous news report, WDFW did not delay the commercial crab fishery due to a harmful algae bloom, Ayres said. Algae blooms can cause elevated levels of domoic acid, which can be harmful or fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. Recent test results indicate crabs along the Washington coast are currently safe to eat.

Recreational crabbing remains open in Washington’s coastal waters as well as in several areas of Puget Sound. More information about recreational crab fishing in Washington can be found on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/

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WDFW News – Washington Sportsfishing Records Fall on Consecutive Days.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed today that two state sport fish records fell during one late September weekend.

Mike Benoit, of Gig Harbor, set a new state record for the largest opah caught off the coast of Washington on Sept. 23. The 37.98-pound fish measured 32.5 inches. Benoit was live bait fishing with anchovies out of Westport.

The new record exceeded the previous opah record by more than two pounds. That record was held by Jim Watson on a fish caught 45 miles off the coast of Washington.

Then, on Sept. 24, Erik Holcomb of Lynden set a new state record for the largest blue shark. The 49.50-pound fish measured 71 inches. Holcomb was also live bait fishing with anchovies out of Westport.

The new record exceeded the previous blue shark record by almost 22 pounds. That record was held by Zachary Jackson on a fish caught 57 miles off the coast of Washington.

A complete list of Washington’s sport fishing records is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/records/

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Endangered Foxes Poisoned By Rodenticides.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is investigating the poisoning of two San Joaquin kit foxes found dead in Bakersfield last month. Although the foxes were found ten miles apart, the cause of death was the same: exposure to high levels of the second-generation anticoagulant rodenticide, brodifacoum, which resulted in severe internal bleeding and hemorrhaging. The carcasses were discovered by residents of Kern City and north Bakersfield who reported them to the Endangered Species Recovery Program (ESRP), a local conservation group that monitors kit foxes in the city and greater Central Valley. ESRP has been working closely with residents in both areas, as this urban kit fox population has declined in recent years due to a fatal outbreak of sarcoptic mange.

San Joaquin kit foxes are only found in California and are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. Despite the many obstacles kit foxes face in the wild, most notably due to habitat loss, they seem to be thriving in the Bakersfield area and have become beloved city residents. This urban population is increasingly more important to the survival of the species as natural habitats disappear. However, city living is risky. Urban kit foxes are more likely to die from vehicle strikes, dog attacks, entombment, diseases transmitted by domestic pets or invasive wildlife, and poisoning from anticoagulant rodenticides. Rodents are kit foxes’ primary food item, which makes them terribly vulnerable to poisons ingested by rodents. When they eat rodents that have been poisoned with these baits, they’re exposed to those rodenticides.

Due to their harmful impacts on non-target wildlife — including hawks, owls, bobcats and mountain lions — second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides are now restricted in California. Since July 2014, four of these chemicals can only be legally sold to and used by professional exterminators. CDFW urges residents to help protect kit foxes by using alternate means of rodent control such as exclusion, sanitation and trapping, and to ask any pest control professionals they employ to do the same.

To learn more, please visit our webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Living-with-Wildlife/Rodenticides. For more information, please call or email the CDFW Wildlife Investigation Laboratory at (916) 358-2954 or vog.ac.efildliwnull@nilliMcM.alletS.

If you find a San Joaquin kit fox that appears to be impaired, please contact the CDFW or ESRP at (661) 835-7810.

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CDFW News – 2017 Youth Essay Contest Offers Chance To Earn Lifetime Hunting License.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Wildlife Officers Foundation are again co-sponsoring the annual “Passing on the Tradition” essay contest for young hunters.

The California Wildlife Officers Foundation will recognize one grand-prize winner with a lifetime California hunting license that is valued at more than $600. Second and third place winners will also be selected and prize packages will be awarded.

This year’s contest invites entrants to share how hunting has influenced or affected their lives.

“Youth hunters learn invaluable lessons about safety, ethics and conservation when they team with their mentors,” said CDFW Hunter Education Program Administrator Capt. Robert Pelzman. “This year’s essay topic promises to provide plenty of heartfelt examples of how their varied experiences in the field have had a beneficial impact on their individual lives.”

The contest is open to all junior hunting license holders, as well as youths under 18 who have earned a hunter education certificate. Entrants should submit an essay of 500 words or less.

Entries should be submitted via email to Lt. John Nores at vog.ac.efildliwnull@seron.nhoj and must be received on or before Friday, Dec. 15 at 5 p.m. On their essay, applicants must also provide their date of birth, place of residence and a contact telephone number and email address.

Essays will be reviewed and scored by CDFW wildlife officers and other CDFW representatives. The winners will then be notified by telephone. For additional information, please contact Lt. John Nores at (408) 591-5174.

AWARD CEREMONY: The grand prize will be awarded during a special ceremony at the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) show scheduled in Sacramento on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. The contest winner must be present and accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For information on becoming a Hunter Education Instructor to help “Pass on the Tradition” to others, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/hunter-education.

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ODFW News – Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delayed.

The traditional Dec. 1 opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season will be delayed until at least Dec. 16 along the entire Oregon coast as testing shows crabs are too low in meat yield.

The ocean commercial Dungeness crab season in Oregon is targeted to open Dec. 1, but can be delayed to ensure a high-quality product to consumers and avoid wastage of the resource. Crab quality testing in early November showed that none of the test areas met the criteria for a Dec. 1 opening. The delayed opening will allow for crabs to fill with more meat.

A second round of crab quality testing will occur in late November or early December, and the results will be used to determine if the season should open Dec. 16, be further delayed, or be split into two areas with different opening dates.

Currently there are crab closures in effect for recreationally and commercially harvested crab from bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties due to elevated levels of domoic acid from Cape Foulweather to Tahkenitch Creek and from north jetty of Coos Bay to the California border. Crab harvesting outside of these areas remains open in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties.

In conjunction with the delayed ocean commercial season, commercial harvest of Dungeness crab in Oregon bays that are currently open will close at 12:01 a.m. Dec. 1, but may reopen if the ocean commercial fishery opens in December. Recreational harvest of Dungeness crab in the ocean off Oregon will open Dec. 1 as scheduled in areas where there are no Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) health advisories.

Despite the delay of the ocean fishery and because of the health closure in portions of the state, crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers. The closure in the health advisory area ensures safety and the delay in the commercial ocean season promotes a high quality harvest. For more information on ODA health closures, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page.

Commercial Dungeness crab is Oregon’s most valuable fishery. Last year’s season opening was also delayed but still brought in the highest ex-vessel value ever ($62.7 million) with 20.4 million pounds landed, about 22 percent above the 10-year average.

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ODFW News – Fish, Crab, Clam on Nov. 24 and 25.

ODFW is waiving all fishing licensing requirements on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to #optoutside with friends and family during the long holiday weekend.

On Nov. 24 and 25, 2017, all fishing, crabbing and clamming in Oregon will be free for both Oregon residents and non-residents. That means no licenses, tags or endorsements are needed on those days. All other fishing regulations apply.

Below are some good bets for fishing, crabbing or clamming on Thanksgiving weekend. For more, check ODFW’s Recreation Report, which is updated on Wednesday each week. Be sure to check water conditions and the weather forecast before heading out and dress appropriately. If you’re heading to the coast, be wary of high surf.

Trout: Lakes and reservoirs across Oregon have been stocked with trout in recent weeks, and several western Oregon lakes will be stocked the week of Nov. 20 including: Waverly Lake (Albany), Emigrant Lake (Ashland), Hyatt Reservoir (SE of Ashland), Applegate Reservoir (SW of Ashland), Expo Pond (Central Point), Faraday Lake (Estacada), Blue Lake (Fairview), St Louis Ponds (Gervais), Reinhard Park Pond (Grants Pass), Mt Hood Pond (MHCC-Gresham), Junction City Pond, Medco Pond (east of Lost Creek Lake), Willow Lake (east of Medford), Agate Reservoir (White City/Medford), Garrison Lake (Port Orford), Walter Wirth Lake and Walling Pond (Salem), Alton Baker Canal (Springfield) and Progress Lake (Tigard).

Winter steelhead: Thanksgiving usually marks the beginning of winter steelhead season on the coast, and some early returning hatchery fish have already been caught. Check the Recreation Report for the latest on conditions.

Crabbing and clamming: While some crabbing closures are in effect due to domoic acid and ocean crabbing is closed, recreational crabbing is open in bays and estuaries and on beaches, docs, and piers from the north jetty of Coos Bay to Tahkenitch Creek and from north of Cape Foulweather to the Columbia River. Always check ODA’s shellfish page before crabbing or clamming for the latest information on any closures due to domoic acid http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx Bay clam and mussel harvesting are currently open along the entire Oregon coast and razor clamming is open on Clatsop County beaches.

For tips on how and where to fish, crab and clam, visit ODFW’s new webpage www.myodfw.com

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Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Recreation Report

The water level is rising, and the water temperature is falling on the Potholes Reservoir. The current water level is 1038.15 – 1.37 feet higher than this time last week. The water temperature is in the low to mid 40’s.
Not a lot to report this week on the fishing side – not that the fish aren’t there – just not many anglers on the water this week. Best bet would be to work the face of the dam with crankbaits, swimbaits, dropshot baits, and football heads with skirted hula grubs and blade baits for smallmouth bass and walleye. Medicare Beach is producing is producing nice trout both from the beach with Power Bait and from a boat trolling Flicker Shads. Also fish the deeper humps between Goose Island either trolling Slow Death rigs or vertically jigging ½ – ¾ oz. Flash Blades for walleye.
This week has been very productive for both duck and goose hunters. The Northern mallards are continuing to arrive. Teal and Widgeon are also being taken. There are opportunities for geese in the fields as well. Mostly little birds right now, but numbers are good.

Johanna Bolling caught this nice Rainbow trout this week on Medicare Beach!

Tyler Inderbitzen after a successful hunt – four geese and a limit of mallards!

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Oregon Coast Crab Closures Update

Ocean waters are closed to Dungeness crab Oct. 16 – Nov. 30.
Areas closed to crab harvest, including bays and estuaries:
Tahkenitch Creek (north of Winchester Bay and Reedsport) north to Cape Foulweather (north of Newport).
North jetty of Coos Bay south to the California border.

Areas open to crab harvest:
North jetty of Coos Bay north to Tahkenitch Creek.
North of Cape Foulweather to the Columbia River.

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Oregon Recreational Shellfish Biotoxin Closures.

Call the Shellfish Safety Hotline before harvesting​

1-800-448-2474​

The Oregon Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) shellfish biotoxin hotline is toll free and is updated immediately when shellfish toxins reach the alert level. The hotline is your best source for up-to-date clam, crab, and mussel closure information. ​

​Recreational shellfish harvesting status

​Razor clams

The recreational harvest of razor clams is OPEN from the Columbia River down to Cascade Head (north of Lincoln City). The recreational harvest of razor clams is CLOSED from Cascade Head to the California Border for elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays.

​Mussels

The recreational harvesting of mussels is OPEN along the entire Oregon coast from the Columbia River to the California border.

Bay clams

The recreational harvest of bay clams is OPEN along the entire Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to the California border.

Crab

Recreational crab harvesting in bays is OPEN from the Columbia River to Cape Foulweather (south of Depoe Bay) and from Tahkenitch Creek (north of Winchester Bay and Reedsport) to the north jetty of Coos Bay. Recreational crab harvesting is CLOSED from Cape Foulweather to Tahkenitch Creek, and from the north jetty of Coos Bay, including the Coos Bay estuary, to the California Border.

It is always recommended you eviscerate the crab and discard the “butter” (viscera or guts) prior to cooking. When whole crab are cooked in liquid, domoic acid may leach into the cooking liquid. It is recommended you discard the cooking liquid, and do not use it in other dishes, such as sauces, broths, soups, stews, stocks, roux, dressings, etc. The consumption of crab viscera is not recommended.

Recreational seasons and licensing requirements: Visit the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website​.
Commercial crabbing information: Visit the Commercial Crab Biotoxin Information​ webpage​.
Scallops

Scallops are not being sampled for biotoxins at this time. Due to potential biotoxins, consuming whole scallops is not recommended. However, the scallop adductor muscle does not accumulate biotoxins and may be safe for consumption.

Commercial shellfish

Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers. Samples show no biotoxins at this time.

​​Biotoxins and illness

​If you think you have become ill from consuming shellfish seek medical assistance and contact your local health department to report your illness.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 11 / 15 / 2017

As of last weekend, crabbing is still closed from the California border northward to the North Jetty at Charleston – meaning that Oregon’s largest bay and most popular winter crab fishery is still closed. The entire Oregon coast north of Coos Bay remains open for crabbing, but as we get more rain, the crabs will gradually move closer to the ocean and in some cases be downstream of any crabbing docks. However last weekend, decent crab catches were made off the Coast Guard Pier, Dock 9 and Dock A in Winchester Bay. The Triangle, adjacent to the South Jetty should hold crabs all winter long.

Chinook salmon fishing is pretty much over except for the late-run fish in the smaller to mid-size streams along the southern Oregon coast. Streams such as the Elk and Sixes rivers are capable of giving up fairly bright chinooks in mid-December and several years ago, tiny Hunter Creek gave up a 59 pound chinook over Thanksgiving Weekend.

Additional goood news for Winchester Bay crabbers is that the Coast Guard Pier is slated for major renovation which should be completed by mid-March. When completed and the actual cost of the renovation is revealed, those unhappy with the Douglas County Parking Pass will have much less reason to gripe.

Chinook salmon fishing is pretty much over except for the late-run fish in the smaller to mid-size streams along the southern Oregon coast. Streams such as the Elk and Sixes rivers are capable of giving up fairly bright chinooks in mid-December and several years ago, tiny Hunter Creek gave up a 59 pound chinook over Thanksgiving Weekend.

The coastal salmon lakes should have fresh salmon entering them after last weekend’s rains. All three lakes were producing a few fish each day last week, but salmon numbers should be much better with additional rainfall. Hopefully, the proportion of adult salmon among the newly arriving salmon will be larger as early salmon catches so far have been dominated by jack salmon. Salmon anglers on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes need to realize that their second rod endorsement is invalid on these three lakes and have been invalid since October 1st.

A few winter steelhead should be entering the Umpqua River which always seems to receive its winter steelhead a month earlier than other area streams. The earliest catches seem to occur between Family Camp and Elkton.

Bill Taylor, of Winchester Bay, reported very good yellow perch angling at Tahkenitch Lake last week. The 25 perch he kept ranged from nine to 11.5-inches and were full of bass and bluegill fry. Perch fishing has also been fair at Tenmile Lakes with fewer, but even larger fish. Kathy Riess landed a chunky female perch of more than 15-inches last week while fishing near Lakeside Marina.

I enjoyed a very rare sight last week while perch fishing off the Fishing Dock at the County Park in Lakeside’ I had just walked down the ramp and was barely ten feet onto the dock when a lunker largemouth bass of between four and five pounds leaped clear of the water by at least a foot. I just happened to be looking at the spot where the leap occurred. Nothing was chasing the bass and it didn’t appear to be feeding on anything. Infrequently, female bass will jump prior to spawning to loosen their eggs, but the season was wrong. It didn’t seem to be trying to get rid of a lure or hook on a broken line or a parasite. I’ll always wonder why that bass jumped and wonder how it gained the required energy during November. Although I cast my panfish lure to the spot within seconds, the bass wasn’t the least bit interested.

Crappie fishing at Tugman Park on Eel Lake has come to a screeching halt. The fish were becoming fewer and the bites even more tentative, but I think the main reason for the bite stoppage is that the crappie moved. A few bass and trout are still being caught and a scuba diver reported seeing good numbers of brown bullheads near the boat ramp – but no anglers are targeting them. Eel Lake’s bluegills also seem to have disappeared, but most likely have become inactive with a drop in water temperatures

Anglers targeting surfperch, because inshore bottomfishing is off limits, need to be cautious as stormy weather has created hazardous beach conditions. However when conditions allow fishing, the catch rate for pinkfin on the beaches and striped surfperch off the jetties has been fair. Jetty bottomfish anglers, as of Thanksgiving Day will have to wait 38 more days before 2017 arrives with fresh bottomfish quotas that will allow inshore angling.

As for other outdoor news from around the northwest – a proposed wilderness area near Lewiston, Idaho will ban the use of snowmbiles; an Idaho Falls man who was found guilty of starting a wildfire while using illegal fireworks was ordered to pay restitution of 1.7 million dollars and and outdoor activities at Seaside Heights Elementary School were moved inside because of a nearby cougar sighting.

Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.

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