Tag Archives: CRABBING

Free Fishing Weekend This Sat., Sun. In Oregon

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

It’s free to fish, crab or clam in Oregon on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 17-18.

 During these two days, no fishing licenses or tags (including a Combined Angling Tag or Columbia River Basin Endorsement) are required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon for both residents and non-residents.

“FAMILY TIME IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT,” SAYS TOM SCHNELL, HERE WITH THE REWARDS OF A RECENT DAD-DAUGHTER RHONNA DAY AT PAULINA LAKE, AND YOU COULD ENJOY TIME ON THE WATER WITH YOUR LOVED ONES DURING OREGON’S AUG. 17-18 FREE FISHING WEEKEND. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Although no licenses or tags are required, all other fishing regulations apply including closures, bag limits and size restrictions. If you are fishing for salmon, steelhead or marine species like rockfish, remember to check the Fishing section of the Recreation Report for the zone you want to fish to find the latest regulations.

Look for the latest on fishing conditions and regulations at ODFW’s Weekly Recreation Report, which is updated every Wednesday. Trout and warmwater fishing are ideal for beginners; see the trout stocking schedule to find out when your local pond was stocked with hatchery rainbow trout.

If you’re in the mountains, combine a hike with a fishing trip and hike in to one of Oregon’s higher elevation mountain lakes. These stay cooler in the summer which keeps trout on the bite. See ODFW’s guide to Fishing Oregon’s hike-in lakes.  

If you are on the coast this weekend, ocean fishing for rockfish, tuna and coho salmon has been good. Surfperch can be targeted from beaches and jetties by those staying on shore (see How-to fish for surfperch). Or try crabbing, which is currently open along the entire Oregon coast (reminder to always double check ODA shellfish restrictions before clamming or crabbing).

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From Salmon To Perch To Crab To Derbies, August Has Lotsa Ops: Yuasa

Editor’s note: The following is Mark Yuasa’s monthly fishing newsletter, Get Hooked on Reel Times With Mark, and is run with permission.

By Mark Yuasa, Director of Grow Boating Programs, Northwest Marine Trade Association

In the blink of an eye, summer has shifted past the midway point but that doesn’t necessarily mean anglers should throw shade on late-season fishing opportunities.

In fact, the horizon looks very bright in August when salmon fisheries come into play at Buoy 10 near the Columbia River mouth, Willapa Bay, inner- Elliott Bay, Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Freshwater fish seekers also can set their sights on abundant yellow perch in many statewide lakes!

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

First off, the pink – a salmon that returns mainly during odd-numbered years and often referred to as “humpies” for a distinct hump that grows on their back near spawning time – forecast is a paltry 608,388 which could be among the lowest runs on record dating back to 1959. Returns soared above 1 million in 2001 and peaked at more than 10 million in 2009. The strong pace continued when it hit 6-plus million in 2011, more than 8 million in 2013 and dipped to 4 million in 2015.

In 2015, the pinks went from bloom to gloom as they faced a monumental drought period and extremely warm water temperatures in rivers. Winter flooding followed leaving very few young pinks to make it out to the ocean where they eventually ran into “The Blob” a large mass of warm water that wreaked havoc on sea life.

That lead to a dismal 2017 with an actual return of around 511,000 (1.1 million was forecasted) pinks, which was less than 82 percent the historical 10-year average.

While the pink forecast is conservative – this summer’s unexpected strong return of chinook and coho – we just might see a late fourth quarter comeback for humpies too. In fact, some early pinks began showing up in catches back in July so don’t give up on them just yet.
“There have been a lot of pinks caught (at Neah Bay and La Push) and many of them are nice size fish,” said Wendy Beeghley, the WDFW coastal salmon manager.

An unexpected large return of pinks were also showing up in other places like Sekiu, outside of the Freshwater Bay closure zone and in open areas off Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca as well as the San Juan Islands (which closed Aug. 1 for salmon fishing).
The Puget Sound pink run usually peaks in mid-August, and in southern Puget Sound the last week of August and early September are best.

Pinks aren’t the only game and so far, the coho and hatchery king fisheries have been a pleasant surprise from the coast clear into open areas of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The party lights began flashing for coho in June when places like central Puget Sound (Area 10) reopened for off-the-charts good action on resident coho. Then good king action began happening last month in the San Juan Islands (now closed to fishing in August), Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Tulalip bubble fishery and south-central Puget Sound.

It was the same scenario in the ocean when catches ramped up in late June from Neah Bay south to Ilwaco and have remained good this past month. Most of this is likely related to a strong forecast of 1,009,600 coho to the Columbia River compared to a 2018 forecast of 349,000.

Look for coho success in open areas of Puget Sound and Strait to only get better in August and build to a crescendo in September. In Puget Sound the total coho return for 2019 is 670,159, which is up from last year’s 557,149.

There will be a short inner-Elliott Bay king fishery from Aug. 2-5 and additional days may occur if in-season data shows the run to be stronger than expected. That won’t be the only crowning moment as areas from Whidbey Island south to Olympia have seen an uptick in catches of hatchery kings and should see good fishing this month in places that remain open.

WDFW extended the hatchery king salmon fishery in northern Puget Sound (Area 9), which is open through Saturday (Aug. 3). Central Puget Sound (Area 10) also remains open for hatchery kings as does south central Puget Sound (Area 11). Look for the latter two to produce some stellar fishing heading into this month.

Lastly, before heading out the door, check the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/ for any possible emergency closures this month and also what marine and freshwater areas are open or closed for salmon.

Yellow perch options bloom in the summer heat

There’s nothing better than getting a first-time angler or youth hooked on fishing and yellow perch is one of those prime options.

Lake Washington – which is 20 miles long and covers more than 22,000 acres – is one of those places that comes alive in August for yellow perch.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

Their population levels in this large urban lake is very robust and they continue to have yearly strong recruitment and survival rates that won’t make the slightest dent on production.

Most yellow perch average 7 to 10 inches along with some “jumbos” hitting the 11- to 12-inch range.

WDFW experts say it is only a matter of time before the official state record could come from Lake Washington. The current state record of 2.75 pounds was caught by Larry Benthien at Snelson’s Slough in Skagit County on June 22, 1969.

The reason behind this possibility is due in part to the ample feed and room for yellow perch to grow in Lake Washington, which is the second largest natural-bodied lake in Washington. Female perch are the largest and tend to grow much faster (usually maturing in three to four years) and can live if 8 to 10 years.

The best time of the year to fish for yellow perch begins around July when the water heats up, and peaks from August through October.

Look for schools of yellow perch in shallow water, 15 to 35 feet, and close to the shoreline. They will school up in shaded locations just outside the cover of weed beds, milfoil, aquatic weeds and lily pads or under docks, piers and overhanging trees and brush.

Yellow perch are active throughout the day and the only time they seek out covered areas is at night when predators are lurking.

Popular locations to fish are Seward Park; Kenmore log boom and pier; Juanita Bay; Magnuson Park shoreline; Andrews Bay; Newport area and slough; Yarrow Bay; Gene Coulon Park in Renton; Mercer Island near Luther Burbank Park; and off Leschi Park, Madison Park, Stan Sayres Pits and Mount Baker Park. Areas from the Montlake Cut into Lake Union are also good especially off Gasworks Park.

A light-to-medium-action trout fishing rod with a spinning reel attached to 4- to 6-pound test line works best. Use a worm and drop-shot (egg-style) weight attached to a three-way swivel or Sniper Lure Snubs – a colorful tiny 3-inch plastic worm. Live maggots, a skirted crappie jig work well. After you catch your first perch cut a small chunk of the meat or even a perch eyeball as bait.

Other good perch lakes are Sammamish near Issaquah; Kapowsin southeast of Puyallup; Beaver and Pine near Issaquah; Sawyer northwest of Black Diamond; Harts southeast of Yelm; Goodwin northwest of Marysville; Stevens east of Everett; American near Fort Lewis; Angle in Sea-Tac; Desire in Renton; and Meridian in Kent.

Dungeness crab fishing opportunities providing fairly decent catches

The Dungeness crab fishing success has been somewhat better than expected although many are having to still throw back some soft-shelled crabs.

Areas east of Bonilla-Tatoosh Island boundary line (Marine Catch Area 4), Sekiu (5), Port Angeles (6), east side of Whidbey Island (8-1 and 8-2) and northern Puget Sound (9) are open through Sept. 2 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week).

Central Puget Sound (10) is open through this Saturday, Aug. 3. The shorter season is due to an overage in last year’s crab catch.

Hood Canal (12) north of a line projected due east of Ayock Point is open through Sept. 2 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week). Areas south of Ayock Point are closed this summer to help rebuild crab populations.

The San Juan Islands (7 South) is open through Sept. 30 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week). San Juan Islands (7 North) opens Aug. 15 through Sept. 30 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week).

South-central Puget Sound (11) and southern Puget Sound (13) are closed this summer to help rebuild crab populations.

NW Salmon Derby Series loaded with events in August

The derby series kicked into high gear with the Lake Coeur d’Alene Big One Fishing Derby on July 24-28 seeing a good number of anglers turn out despite the  tough fishing. Top angler in the adult division was Bret Hojem with a 13.54-pound chinook; and top youth angler was Cooper Malcolm with a 9.82 chinook.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

Prior to that the Puget Sound Anglers Bellingham Salmon Derby was held July 12-14. A total of 392 adult tickets and 72 youth tickets were sold with 164 chinook weighed-in for the event, which was 10 more fish caught than last year.

Tom Hartley of Anacortes took the top prize of $7,500 with a 21.90-pound hatchery chinook; second was Chris Wilson with a 21.60 worth $2,500; and third was Adam Beardsley with a 20.62 worth $1,000.

Other derbies on the horizon are the South King County PSA Salmon Derby, Aug. 3; Brewster Salmon Derby on Aug. 1-4; Gig Harbor PSA Salmon Derby, Aug. 10; Vancouver, B.C. Chinook Classic, Aug. 17-18; and Edmonds PSA Coho Derby, Sept. 7. The Columbia River Fall Salmon Derby on Aug. 31 has been cancelled due to expected low salmon returns.

Drawing for the grand prize boat takes place at the conclusion of the Everett Coho Derby on Sept. 21-22. New at the Everett Coho Derby is a second weigh-in station located at the Edmonds Marina.

The grand prize $75,000 Weldcraft 202 Rebel Hardtop boat from Renaissance Marine Group in Clarkston will be making the rounds to each derby. The boat is powered with a Yamaha 200hp and 9.9hp trolling motor on an EZ-loader galvanized trailer.

The boat is rigged with Burnewiin accessories; Scotty downriggers; Raymarine Electronics; a custom WhoDat Tower; and a Dual Electronics stereo. Other sponsors include Silver Horde Lures; Master Marine and Tom-n-Jerry’s; Harbor Marine; Salmon & Steelhead Journal; NW Sportsman Magazine; The Reel News; Sportco and Outdoor Emporium; and Prism Graphics. It is trailered with a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado – not part of the grand prize giveaway – courtesy of Northwest Chevrolet and Burien Chevrolet.
In other related news, anglers can also start looking at 2020 with dates finalized for Resurrection Salmon Derby on Feb. 1-2; Friday Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 6-8; and Roche Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 13-15.

Details: http://www.nwsalmonderbyseries.com/.

Summer is sneaking by quickly so it’s time for me to jump on the boat and get into the fishing action. I’ll see you on the water!

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Summer 2019’s Last Hurrah For Area 10 Crabbers Coming Up

Crabbing off Seattle, Shoreline, Bainbridge Island and on the rest of the Central Sound’s Marine Area 10 wraps up after Aug. 3, WDFW is reminding shellfishers.

That’s a month earlier than usual and due to a bit of an overharvest last summer, according to state shellfish biologist Don Velasquez.

MARINE AREA 10 CRABBERS HAVE JUST ONE MORE OPENING LEFT IN THE SEASON, THIS COMING THURSDAY, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The 2018 quota was 40,000 pounds, but crabbers harvested more than 46,000 pounds, and so through “buyback provisions” in negotiated state-tribal agreements, that dropped this year’s allowable take to 33,212 pounds, he says.

Velazquez says that that mark is modeled to be met at the end of this coming Saturday.

It’s possible that with last year’s Area 11 and 13 closures more South Sound crabbers hit Area 10, driving up the catch, but there could be also good news on the horizon for Tacoma and Olympia Dungeness lovers.

“I think there is some hope” for next season, Velazquez says.

They’ve been closed since 2018 to rebuild abundances that crashed in recent years, possibly due to overly warm waters, north-south larval transport issues, and/or overharvest.

According to a WDFW presentation last year, two entire back-to-back year-classes of crabs that represented Dungies that would have been legal-sized for sport and tribal fishermen in 2017 and 2018 were “missing, not detected.”

The year-class that would have been legal this summer 2019 were also said to be “greatly reduced.”

“It usually takes four years for crabs to reach legal size,” Velasquez says, and next year’s harvestable Dungeness would have been born after The Blob abated and waters cooled in the South Sound.

Still, the state and tribal closures to rebuild abundance weren’t stopping some scofflaw(s) who recently hung several pots in Vashon and Maury Islands’ Quartermaster Harbor tethered to duck decoys to try and keep the illicit activity on the downlow.

But the — literally — odd ducks only served to attract the eyes of a watchful WDFW marine patrol officer who spotted the “out-of-place” fowl on the water.

(WDFW)

While crabbing will continue as usual on its Thursday-Monday schedule elsewhere in Puget Sound, a larger than usual number of recently molted shellfish are being also reported.

“We’re running into a lot of soft-shells,” confirms Velasquez, “particularly in Areas 8-1 and 8-2.”

As hard-shelled crabs are harvested through tribal and state seasons, the percentage of soft-shelled ones, which must go back in the water regardless of whether they’re legal or not, can rise as the crabs grow, doff their old shell, and regrow a new one.

The biologist points to page 132 of the fishing pamphlet for the best ways to determine the status of crabs — pushing the abdomen, the shell next to the mouth or the first segment of the first walking leg.

“They shouldn’t ‘pop can’ in with finger pressure. They should be rock hard,” Velasquez says.

WDFW says that soft-shelled crabs have less meat than they do when in hard-shell condition, and it is of “lower quality” too.

As for recent reports, Northwest Sportsman sources report “good” to “hit and miss” crabbing in the San Juans.

Marine Area 7 South is open through Sept. 30, while 7 North opens Aug. 15 through the end of September.

And crabbing is open through Labor Day in Areas 4, 5, 6, 8-1 and 8-2, 9, and Area 12 north of Ayock Point.

Only male Dungeness a minimum of 6 1/4 inches across the back can be kept; male or female red rocks 5 or more inches across the back can be retained.

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Puget Sound Crab Seasons Begin July 4; Areas 11, 13, South 12 Closed

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today announced the Puget Sound summer crab fishing season, which gets underway July 4 with openings in a number of marine areas.

KIRAN WALGAMOTT MEASURES A DUNGENESS CRAB HAULED OUT OF SECRET HARBOR THIS PAST SUMMER. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Marine areas 4 (Neah Bay – East of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait), 8-1 (Deception Pass), 8-2 (Port Susan/Everett), 9 (Port Gamble and Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle/Bremerton), and the portion of 12 (Hood Canal) north of a line projected true east from Ayock Point will open for sport crabbing on Thursday, July 4. The two subareas that comprise Marine Area 7 will open later in the summer to protect molting crab.

Summer seasons for the upcoming fishery are posted on WDFW’s crab-fishing website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/crab.

WDFW continues to monitor crab abundance throughout Puget Sound and manages crab fisheries to maintain healthy populations, said Bob Sizemore, shellfish policy lead for WDFW.

“Dungeness crab populations in the southern reaches of Puget Sound and southern Hood Canal have experienced stress in recent years,” said Sizemore. “Crabbing in the northern portions of Puget Sound has been very good and should be good again this year,” he added.

Recreational crabbing will be open Thursdays through Mondays each week. Crabbing is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays through the summer seasons.  All shellfish gear must be removed from the water on closed days.

Crab seasons are scheduled as follows:

  • Marine areas 4 (Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait), 8-1 (Deception Pass), 8-2 (Port Susan/Everett), and 9 (Port Gamble and Admiralty Inlet): Open July 4 through Sept. 2.
  • Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton): Open July 4 through August 3.
  • Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) north of a line projected true east from Ayock Point: Open July 4 through Sept. 2.
  • Marine Area 7 South (San Juan Islands/Bellingham): Open July 11 through Sept. 30.
  • Marine Area 7 North (Gulf of Georgia): Open Aug. 15 through Sept. 30.

The following areas are closed this season:

  • Marine areas 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island) and 13 (south Puget Sound): These areas continue to be closed to promote recovery of Dungeness crab populations in those areas.
  • Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) south of a line projected true east from Ayock Point:  This area is also closed to promote recovery of the Dungeness crab population in south Hood Canal.

The daily limit throughout Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. Fishers may also keep six red rock crab of either sex per day in open areas, provided those crab are in hard-shell condition and measure at least 5 inches across.

Crab fishers may not set or pull shellfish gear from a vessel from one hour after official sunset to one hour before official sunrise.

Puget Sound crabbers are required to record their harvest of Dungeness crab on their catch record cards immediately after retaining the crab and before re-deploying the trap. Separate catch record cards are issued for the summer and winter seasons.

Catch record cards are not required to fish for Dungeness crab in the Columbia River or on the Washington coast, where crabbing is open year-round.

Tons Of Ops For Oregon’s June 1-2 Free Fishing Weekend

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

It’s free to fish, crab or clam in Oregon on Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2.

During these two days, no fishing licenses or tags (including a Combined Angling Tag or Columbia River Basin Endorsement) are required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon for both residents and non-residents. Although no licenses or tags are required, all other fishing regulations apply including closures, bag limits and size restrictions.

SHAD ARE AMONG THE PLETHORA OF SPECIES TO TRY AND HARVEST DURING OREGON’S JUNE FREE FISHING WEEKEND. ODFW REPORTS “HUGE NUMBERS” IN THE LOWER UMPQUA, WHILE SCHOOLS ARE ALSO BUILDING IN THE LOWER COLUMBIA TOO. (ODFW)

Look for the latest on fishing conditions and regulations at ODFW’s Weekly Recreation Report, which is updated every Wednesday. Trout and warmwater fishing are ideal for beginners; see the trout stocking schedule to find out when your local pond was stocked with hatchery rainbow trout.

The first weekend in June has long been Free Fishing Weekend in Oregon. (Oregon State Parks are also free for visitors that weekend, with free parking Saturday-Sunday June 1-2 and free camping Saturday.) ODFW and volunteer fishing instructors, State Parks and other partners also host fishing events statewide that weekend, bringing all the gear new anglers need (rods, reels, bait) to try fishing.

See below for a list of events and visit the Free Fishing Weekend page for more information including contact information for each event.

Saturday events:

  • Alsea, Oregon Hatchery Research Center, Saturday, June 1, 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Baker City, Highway 203 Pond, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Bridal Veil, Benson State Park, Benson Lake, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Camp Sherman, Wizard Falls Hatchery, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Chiloquin, Klamath Hatchery, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Clatskanie, Saturday, June 1, Gnat Creek Hatchery, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Park at hatchery only, no parking along the highway.
  • Detroit, Hoover Boat Ramp, Saturday, June 1, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Disabled access available.
  • Diamond Lake, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Enterprise, Marr Pond, Saturday, June 1, 8:00 a.m. – noon
  • Estacada, Small Fry Lake/Promontory Park, Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Eugene, Alton Baker Park, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Florence, Cleawox Lake, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Gervais, St. Louis Ponds, Saturday, June 1, 9:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Gold Beach, Libby Pond, Saturday, June 1, 8 a.m.-noon
  • Hammond, Coffenbury Lake -Fort Stevens State Park, Saturday, June 1, 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Disabled access available.
  • Hebo, Hebo Lake, Saturday, June 1, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Hood River, Lost Lake Resort, Saturday, June 1,  8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Klamath Falls, Lake of the Woods Resort, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Lakeside, Eel Lake/Tugman STP, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Medford, Fish Lake, Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Oakridge, Willamette Hatchery, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Otis, Salmon River Hatchery, Saturday, June 1, 8:00 a.m. – noon
  • Prairie City, McHaley Pond, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Rockaway Beach, Nedonna Pond, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Selma, Lake Selmac, Saturday, June 1, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Silverton, Silverton Marine Park, Saturday, June 1, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Note there is no parking at Marine Park, so participants must catch a bus from one of several locations in town to get to event, see webpage for details.
  • Sunriver, Caldera Springs, Saturday, June 1,  9:00 a.m. – noon
  • Sutherlin, Cooper Creek Reservoir, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Tillamook, Trask River Hatchery, Saturday, June 1, 8:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.
  • Toledo, Olalla Reservoir, Saturday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. More info

Sunday events:

  • Port Orford, Arizona Pond, Sunday, June 2, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Reedsport, Lake Marie, Sunday, June 2, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Best bets Free Fishing Weekend

This time of year Oregon anglers are spoiled with choices. Here are just a few options to consider:

  • In the last two weeks, dozens of waterbodies have been stocked with thousands of rainbow trout, and fishing should be excellent!
  • Cutthroat trout fishing should be good in north coast streams.
  • Huge numbers of shad have been coming out of the mainstem Umpqua, especially neat Cleveland Rapids. Shad enthusiasts should also check out the Coos and Coquille basins.
  • Striped bass are still being caught in the lower Umpqua Basin and on the Coquille River from Riverton to Arago.
  • Breitenbush River will be stocked for the first time this year the week of May 27.
  • Summer steelhead conditions continue to be good on the Clackamas River with the best fishing early and late in the day.
  • Anglers are reporting some spring Chinook being caught on the Hood River.
  • Anglers are catching their limits of kokanee on Wickiup Reservoir.
  • Look for the phenomenal hatch of salmonflies to continue this week on the Klamath River from the Powerhouse to the CA border. Golden stoneflies should also be hatching in good numbers.
  • Fishing has been excellent at Heart Lake, where all fishing methods seem to produce full stringers of trout.
  • The crappie (and mosquitoes) are biting on Cold Springs Reservoir as the fish move into the shallows to spawn.
  • Trout and kokanee fishing have been good on Wallowa Lake.

Ocean, Bays Closing For Crabbing From Bandon To CA Border

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announce the immediate closure of all recreational crabbing on the southern Oregon coast from Bandon to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes Dungeness and red rock crab harvested in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties.

CRABBING ALONG OREGON’S SOUTHERN COAST IS BEING SHUT DOWN DUE TO ELEVATED TOXIN LEVELS IN THE SHELLFISH. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Recreational crab harvesting from Bandon north to the Columbia River (including the Coquille river estuary) remains open in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties.

Meanwhile, for commercial crabbing, ODA and ODFW are requiring that all crab harvested from Bandon to the California border be eviscerated (gutted) before it can be deemed safe for consumption. Domoic acid levels are elevated only in crab viscera, or the guts, of crab sampled and tested from this area of the Oregon coast.

For recreational crab harvesters, it is recommended that crab always be eviscerated prior to cooking, which includes removal and discard of the viscera, internal organs, and gills.


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Because of Oregon’s precautionary management of biotoxins, the crab and shellfish products currently being sold in retail markets and restaurants are 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 microscopic algae and originate in the ocean. Toxins cannot be removed by cooking, freezing or any other treatment. ODA will continue to test for toxins in the coming weeks. Removal of the advisory requires two consecutive tests in the safe range.

For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page at http://ODA.direct/ShellfishClosures   

For commercial crab biotoxin information, go to: http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/CrabBiotoxinInfo.aspx

New Improved Boat Launch, Facilities In Reedsport Shown Off

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Boaters and anglers now have improved access to the lower Umpqua River in Reedsport, now that the Rainbow Plaza boat ramp is complete.  Rainbow Plaza is a popular and heavily used boat launch facility with an estimated 10,000 boat launches per year.

(CITY OF REEDSPORT VIA ODFW)

This project was needed as the facility had not had major improvements since the early 90’s.  As part of this project, a new piece of land was purchased and an old building removed, along with expanding the parking lot at the site.  Old derelict pilings were removed and the boat launch was widened to improve navigability and congestion.  Additionally, a new ADA flush restroom was installed, debris deflectors and boarding docks were installed, and parking lot was reconfigured with new curbs, islands, sidewalks and a storm water treatment system.  A new fish cleaning station with grinder was also added across the street from the facility on City-owned property adjacent to the overflow gravel parking along with boat wash-down station.

(CITY OF REEDSPORT VIA ODFW)

According to ODFW STEP Biologist Evan Leonetti, this site provides improved boating access to a great angling opportunity for fall Chinook, coho, surf perch and sturgeon, all within a mile or two from the ramp.  This project added a new fish cleaning station right at Rainbow Plaza, when previously anglers had to drive down to Salmon Harbor to the nearest fish cleaning station.  The facility is attractive to boat anglers, because it offers a two-lane boat ramp with lots of boarding docks and 36 vehicle with boat trailer and 11 single car parking spots; all factors that reduce launch delays and long lines.

Other recreational uses include sea kayaking and canoeing.  According to Jonathan Wright, City Manager of Reedsport, “Each boat, each trailer that you see here – many of them have purchased gas here, purchased materials and have gone to a restaurant or two during their stay here. All those things serve to benefit the local economy.”

Cost of the project was approximately $2M, which was paid by several partners, including the Oregon State Marine Board, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) thru a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration grant, ODFW R&E board, Port of Umpqua, Reedsport Winchester Bay Chamber of Commerce, Oregon State Parks, USDA, Reedsport Urban Renewal District and City of Reedsport.

For more information about boating access and boating regulations, visit www.boatoregon.com.

WA Fish Commission OKs Willapa Crabbing Change, Talks Columbia Salmon Policy

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Sport crabbers will be able to set their pots in Willapa Bay in the fall two weeks earlier than in the past after the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the change at a meeting Monday.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), agreed to allow recreational crabbers to set pots in Willapa Bay on Nov. 15, two weeks earlier than usual. WDFW staff proposed the change to provide more opportunity for recreational crabbers and to reduce gear conflicts with commercial crabbers. 

During the special, half-day meeting in Olympia, commissioners also reviewed the outcomes of a 5-year-old policy that significantly changed salmon fisheries on the Columbia River.

The Columbia River Basin Salmon Management Policy, approved by the commission in 2013, is designed to promote orderly fisheries, wild salmon and steelhead conservation, and economic stability in the state’s fishing industry. Strategies for achieving those goals includes allocating more salmon to sport fisheries, promoting the use of alternative fishing gear in commercial fisheries and increasing the production/releases of salmon in off-channel areas.

Commissioners took public comment on the salmon policy and heard panel discussions that included representatives from conservation organizations as well as commercial and recreational fishing groups.

The commission’s review of the Columbia River policy will continue next month during a meeting in Vancouver with Oregon commissioners. More information on that meeting will be available online in the coming weeks at https://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html.

Yuasa Excited By July’s Westside Chinook, Crabbing Ops

Editor’s note: The following is Mark Yuasa’s monthly fishing newsletter, Get Hooked on Reel Times With Mark, and is run with permission.

By Mark Yuasa, Director of Grow Boating Programs, Northwest Marine Trade Association

For salmon anglers, the thrill of a fish peeling line off the reel in July resembles a sugar rush, free-for-all in the candy store.

I’m hooked on that feeling and judging by the early signs we experienced last month in open salmon fishing areas, there’s enthusiasm in the air of what lies ahead from the coast clear into Puget Sound.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

I harken back to my early college days when summer was a three-month, job-free fishing affair with many fond memories created at a nearby lake, river or a marine area from Sekiu to Elliott Bay and many stops in between.

It was a great time when being young and willing to live on two hours of sleep just to be on the water by 4 a.m. and staying out until well after dark was simply a rite of passage. I confess it’s been more than three decades since those hey-days and while I can’t quite kick up the rpm’s like I did in the past, I still live for those glory moments.

A rush of early excitement occurred in June with the spotlight beaming brightly on south-central Puget Sound in the Tacoma area (Marine Catch Area 11), central Puget Sound (10) and the Tulalip Bubble Fishery (8-2) where fishing took off right when it opened.

“This early part of the summer reminds me of what we used to see in the good old days,” said Art Tachell, the manager of the Point Defiance Park Boathouse in Tacoma.

The catch estimates for south central Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 11) since it reopened June 1 for salmon fishing are 756 fish retained under a catch quota of 5,344. Fishing action has been slow to fair for a mix of resident chinook, 5 to 8 pounds, and kings, 10 to 18 pounds, since the initial opener and the dogfish were thick off the Clay Banks at Point Defiance.

In Area 11, 448 boats with 718 anglers June 1-3 caught 242 hatchery-marked chinook and released 315 chinook for a total of 557 chinook encounters; and 1,042 boats with 1,520 anglers June 4-10 caught 512 hatchery-marked chinook and two unmarked chinook and released 666 hatchery-marked chinook for a total of 1,180 chinook encounters.

This year’s projection of 227,420 hatchery chinook migrating to Puget Sound is up 21 percent from the 10-year average and a 35 percent boost over last year.

The Strait of Juan de Fuca opened July 1 off Sekiu (5) for salmon, and Port Angeles opens July 3. Sekiu is the main intersection of fish runs heading east into Puget Sound and south to the Columbia River and beyond. In the past few years, Port Angeles has gotten off to a hot start and the hope is for another blissful season.

Many are licking their chops on what should be a “summer to remember” for hatchery kings in northern Puget Sound (9) and central Puget Sound (10).

The Area 9 summer hatchery king fishery has a 5,563 quota – which is a similar figure to the 2017 quota and up from 3,056 in 2016. Modeling by WDFW staff suggested this change would likely result in a shorter 2018 season given the forecast of increased hatchery chinook in the area.

“I’ll be happy if the Area 9 hatchery chinook fishery lasts two weeks,” said Mark Baltzell, a WDFW salmon manager. “It was lights out king fishing at Midchannel Bank (last summer) and that seems the place to be when it opens in July.”

Many will focus their time in late July and August in Area 10 that has a cap of 4,743 hatchery chinook.

Shore-bound anglers can get in on the action with numerous piers scattered across Puget Sound that are open year-round for salmon. The Edmonds Pier has already been producing fish since early-June. The steep drop-offs around the Point No Point Lighthouse offer an easy cast to prime fishing holes.

The San Juan Islands are open until July 31 for hatchery kings, and switches to wild and hatchery kings from Aug. 1 through Sept. 3.

Hood Canal south of Ayock Point is open through Sept. 30 with a liberal four-hatchery chinook daily limit. The forecast is 57,558 up from 48,300 in 2017 with many kings destined for the George Adams and Hoodsport hatcheries.

The coastal chinook and hatchery coho fishery got underway on June 23 at Ilwaco (1), La Push (3), and Neah Bay (4). Westport (2) opened July 1 where salmon fishing is allowed Sundays through Thursdays. All areas close Sept. 3 or when the quota is achieved.

“We’ve had some decent success rates up north for the commercial trollers in Area 4 (Neah Bay and La Push), but pretty scratchy fishing in other areas to the south,” said Wendy Beeghly, the head WDFW coastal salmon manager. “I’m expecting (the sport fishery) will start off a little slow, but we might find some fish up north in Area 4.”

Commercial trollers fishing off the coast since May reported the salmon are there one day and gone the next, according to Beeghly with nothing consistent and no huge schools of fish at this point.

“Based on what we forecasted for chinook returns this year we expect it to be a little slow this summer, but that doesn’t always indicate anything, and we will have to wait and see,” Beeghly said.

A downtrend in Columbia River salmon returns could result in mixed success for coastal anglers although “paper fish” forecasts have been proven wrong in the past, so watch for catch trends each week to see when’s a good time to go.

In between the Puget Sound salmon action, be sure to bring along the crab pots for a chance at some tasty Dungies!

Areas 6, 8-1, 8-2, 9, 10 and 12 are open through Sept. 3. Area 4 east of Bonilla-Tatoosh line and 5 are open through Sept. 3. Area 7 South opens July 14 through Sept. 30, and 7 North is open Aug. 16 through Sept. 30. Fishing is allowed Thursdays to Mondays of each week only (closed on July 4). Areas 11 and 13 are closed this summer due to a poor Dungeness crab abundance.

Lastly, some local rivers were bursting at the seams with kings and sockeye; and follow the trout plants in lakes at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/.

Summer Dungeness crabbing underway

The highly popular Dungeness crab season has started in many Puget Sound areas and the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Neah Bay to Sekiu.

Don Velasquez, a WDFW Puget Sound shellfish manager says crabbing should be good this summer in marine waterways north of Seattle.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

Fishing in open areas will be allowed Thursdays to Mondays of each week (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays). The crab fishery is closed on July 4. South-central and southern Puget Sound (Marine Catch Areas 11 and 13) are closed this summer due to a poor Dungeness crab abundance.

The eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca around Port Angeles (6); Deception Pass (8-1); Port Susan/Everett (8-2); northern Puget Sound/Admiralty Inlet (9); central Puget Sound (10); and Hood Canal (12) are open through Sept. 3.

The western Strait of Juan de Fuca from Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh Island boundary to Sekiu (4 and 5) are open through Sept. 3.

The San Juan Islands/Bellingham (7 South) are open July 14 through Sept. 30, and the San Juan Islands “Gulf of Georgia” (7 North) are open Aug. 16 through Sept. 30.

In all inland marine catch areas, the total Dungeness crab harvested in 2017 season was 9,285,912 pounds in all fisheries compared to 10,645,000 in 2016.

This comes on the heel of an all-time record catch in 2015 when state and tribal Puget Sound Dungeness crab fisheries landed 11.8 million pounds, exceeding the previous 2014 record by 1.2 million pounds.

General Puget Sound rules are crab pots may not set or pulled from a vessel from one hour after official sunset to one hour before official sunrise. All shellfish gear must be removed from the water on closed days.

Crabbers must immediately write down their catch record cards after retaining Dungeness crab. Separate catch record cards are issued for the summer and winter seasons.

Catch record cards are not required to fish for Dungeness crab in the Columbia River or on the Washington coast.

The daily limit in Puget Sound is five male Dungeness crab in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches.

Fishermen may also keep six red rock crab of either sex daily, and each must measure at least 5 inches. For more information go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/.

Word on NW Salmon Derby Series

Anglers start your motors! The PSA Bellingham Salmon Derby is July 13-15 and Big One Salmon Derby is July 25-29 at Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

Those will be followed by the Brewster Salmon Derby on Aug. 2-5; South King County PSA Derby on Aug. 4; Gig Harbor PSA Derby on Aug. 11; and the Vancouver, B.C. Canada Chinook Classic on Aug. 18-19.

It’s also not too soon to start getting excited about coho in September. I’ve confirmed the PSA Edmonds Coho Derby is Sept. 8, and the biggest derby on West Coast – the Everett Coho Derby is Sept. 22-23.

That is where we’ll draw the lucky name to win a grand-prize $65,000 KingFisher 2025 Falcon Series boat powered with Honda 150hp and 9.9hp motors on an EZ-loader galvanized trailer. It is fully rigged with Scotty downriggers, Raymarine electronics, a WhoDat Tower and a Dual Electronic Stereo. Details: www.NorthwestSalmonDerbySeries.com.

Now it’s time for me to take that first bite of chewy goodness in a “PayDay” candy bar and bee-line out the door to see if I can score a fish or two. See you on the water!

Crab Pots And Ferry Lanes A Bad Combo

WDFW’s asking crabbers not to set pots in the paths of or around the docks of state ferries and do a better job weighting them, saying that last summer three of the big car and people transporters were disabled due to tangles with crab lines.

The message comes out as the five-day-a-week Dungeness season is set to open June 30 in central and northern Puget Sound waters, and in mid-July and mid-August in portions of the San Juans.

A FERRY LOOMS IN THE FOG IN FRONT OF CRABBERS HEADING INTO THE SAN JUANS FOR THE DAY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

It also follows in the wake of a report this spring that a side-scan of the bottom near Anacortes found 614 derelict pots, pointing to the need for shellfishermen to take more care about how and where they deploy the devices.

“We need crabbers to help prevent conflicts with ferries as they hit the water this year,” said Captain Dan Chadwick in a press release.

According to a WSDOT manager quoted by WDFW, last summer the ferry Salish sustained damage to its propulsion system from crab pots that resulted in around 800 canceled sailings as boats on other routes were shifted to make up for the loss of it while repairs were made.

CRABBER RIVER WALGAMOTT WAVES TO A FERRY AS HE HEADS BACK TO ANACORTES AND THE BOAT SERVICES THE ISLANDS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

If I’m starting to sound preachy and like your dad, I apologize, but there are few things more maddening than waiting for a ferry and I’d prefer that we weren’t catching the blame for it.

So here are six tips that Chadwick offered that not only will help ensure the big boats keep running their routes but help cut down on our lost pots:

They are:

Add Weight to Lines – Propellers can sever or wrap up a line floating along the surface. Use sinking lines when possible, and add weight to keep floating lines off the surface.

Know Water Depth – The easiest way to lose a pot is to drop one in water deeper than the length of line attached. Use a line that is one-third longer than the water depth to keep pots from floating away.

Watch Pots – Stay close to dropped crab pots to ensure all are accounted for at the end of the day.

Add Extra Weights to Crab Pots – In many instances, adding just 10 pounds of weight can help recreational crab pots stay put.

Use Escape Cord – Biodegradable cotton cord, which is required on all pots, will degrade and allow crabs to escape if a pot is lost.

Identify Crab Pots – All recreational crab pot buoys must have the crab fisher’s name and address on them, and a phone number is recommended.

By harvest stat, some of the best crabbing occurs in the San Juans, which are only connected to the mainland by the Anacortes ferries, which make stops at Lopez, Orcas, Shaw, Friday Harbor, and Sydney, BC.

But it’s also good in Marine Areas 8-1 and 8-2, at the south end of which is the Mukilteo-Clinton run.

In Area 9 are the Keystone-Port Townsend and Edmonds-Kingston routes, while in Area 10 there are several between Seattle, Bainbridge and Vashon Islands and the Kitsap Peninsula.

Areas 11 and 13 are closed this year.

Crabbing is open Thurs.-Mon. As July 4 falls on a Wednesday, crabbing won’t be open that day.

To report lost pots without fear of penalty, go to https://wdfw.wa.gov/enforcement/lost_gear/ or call (855) 542-3935.

To report poaching, call (877) 933-9847.