The ODFW and Oregon Department of Agriculture updated the severity of hazards, warnings and closures on November 18th. Due to questions regarding crabbing closure, here is the latest information:
From the ODFW:
State delays Dungeness crab season coastwide to ensure safe product
NEWPORT, Ore. – The commercial Dungeness crab season along the Oregon coast normally opens Dec. 1, but can be delayed to ensure a safe and high-quality product to consumers. Testing of crab in recent weeks showed elevated levels of domoic acid in the southern half of the state. Based on these results and consultations with the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA), the Oregon commercial crab industry and Washington and California Departments of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is delaying the ocean commercial Dungeness crab season along the entire Oregon coast. This delay will allow completion of additional testing for domoic acid in order to provide confidence that crab harvested from Oregon waters are safe to consume. Oregon’s commercial crab industry places a high priority on making sure that seafood consumers can be confident that they are buying a safe, high-quality, and sustainable product when they purchase Oregon Dungeness crab.
In the next couple of weeks, ODFW will be continuing to work closely with ODA, fishery managers from WA and CA and the Oregon commercial Dungeness crab industry to test crab in all areas as regularly as possible. Additional domoic acid test results are scheduled to be available by the end of the first week of December, and ODFW plans to evaluate options for opening the commercial season at that time.
Despite the delay, crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers.
From the ODA (all closures and restrictions):
Recreational shellfish harvesting status
The recreational harvest of razor clams is closed along the entire Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to the California border for elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays.
The recreational harvest of mussels is closed from the Yachats River to the California border for elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays.
The recreational harvest of mussels is open from the Columbia River to the Yachats River.
The recreational harvest of bay clams is open along the entire Oregon Coast from the Columbia River to the California border.
Recreational crab harvesting in bays and estuaries is closed from Heceta Head to the California border for elevated levels of domoic acid in crab viscera (guts/butter).
Recreational crab harvesting in bays and estuaries is open from Heceta Head to the Columbia River. The consumption of crab viscera (guts/butter) is not recommended.
Scallops are not affected by this closure when only the adductor muscle is eaten. The consumption of whole recreationally caught scallops is not recommended.
Commercial shellfish products remain safe for consumers. Samples show no biotoxins at this time. Call the Shellfish Safety Hotline 800-448-2474 with any questions or better yet, to avoid jamming the line, get immediate updates from the ODA website: *http://www.oregon.gov/oda/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx
In summation and to clarify, crabbing is closed all waters including bays from 14 miles south of Yachats and just north of Sea Lion Caves. All waters now includes bays, estuaries and river tidewater.
In a surprising extended season this year (extended by nature as this fishery is open all year), surf perch has remained good of most ocean beaches.
There just aren’t a lot of fish available at Siltcoos Lake for those trolling for wild coho. A few anglers caught some over the past weekend but it has been poor to slow for most. The Westlake Boat Ramp remains closed while under construction. The coho fisheries at Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile all end one hour after sunset on December 31st.
With the south coast closed for crabbing, consider Yaquina Bay as results here have been quite good. This information isn’t secret, however, so be prepared for plenty of company.
Salmon fishing was fair the past weekend for some on the Alsea but has been slow this week. Fish are coming, though according to some of the locals who estimate an improvement in the first week of December. ‘Course rain forecast for that period of time won’t hurt, either. One angler reported being watched by a sea lion at a fishing hole on the Alsea. What makes this story notable is that he was between Milepost 22 and 23.
A few Coquille trollers are working tidewater for late-season Chinook or coho, but action slowed way down as the river level dropped.
Anglers fishing the jetties at Coos Bay are taking fair catches of rockfish at Coos Bay. With crabbing closed, the only other possibility for entertainment in the Coos system is the wild coho fishery which remains open with a one-fish-per-day bag limit until the 1st of December. Few have been trying for coho this late in the season although there are still some to be caught. The few Chinook lingering are well past their prime.
Boats launching out of Good Beach to jig for black rockfish and lingcod are doing well when they can get out. The challenge is that there are so few windows of opportunity to do so at this time of year. Now that Rogue Bay is all but done for Chinook trollers, anglers are concentrating on steelheading upriver. The stretch of the Rogue River around Agness has continued to produce half-pounders and fly fishers in this area aren’t put off by low water or flows less than 1,500 cfs. Only fin-clipped fish may be kept. Fishing for steelhead is fair to good on the middle Rogue but pressure is light now that the Chinook spawn has ended and steelhead are no longer holding in those dependable areas below salmon redds. The better fishing remains on the upper river with the area above Shady Cove where bait is legal getting the most attention. Anglers will find less pressure below the deadline and willing summer steelhead in surprisingly good condition for late November. Use scented egg imitations or pull plugs for summer below Shady Cove.
Storm fronts hammered the south coast last week and into the weekend, pushing Chetco level and flow well into fishing range. As it dropped, fishing was good. While there are still opportunities with upriver stretches now open for fishing, techniques must return to those used prior to the freshet; working deeper holes with bobber and bait for Chinook holding in those areas. The next round of rainfall will improve conditions but this won’t occur ’til the first week of December according to forecasts.
As of Wednesday this week, reports from Elk River were of low, clear water. Pressure was on at the Sixes River but there were no catch reports. That’s no reports; not necessarily no fish caught. “The ocean off the mouth of the Elk River is open to chinook fishing through November, but there is very little sport effort, and some commercial trollers are active in the fishery.” Catches were great over the past weekend but it’s been dry since then.
With a couple feet of snow on the ground at Diamond Lake, it’s a winter wonderland. There’s no lake fishing, however, and the prospect is pushed forward, probably well into the new year, when ice fishing may be a possibility. We say “may be” as there’s no guarantee that ice will form in sufficient thickness to support angler’s weight. The forecast of a warmer and drier than average winter thanks to el Nino won’t help this situation.