Oregon Officials on Coastal Crabbing, Fishing, Clams
(Oregon Coast) – It's great news for bottom fishing along the Oregon coast, and for clamming and bay crabbing – but not so good for ocean crabbing (above: Seaside, where razor clamming is hot).
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife just released its fishing report for the week, along with a bulletin about commercial and recreational ocean crabbing.
ODFW said bottom fish can be a good catch this time of year, when weather and ocean conditions permit. Some charter boats have been going offshore for yellowtail rockfish.
Pacific halibut fishing is closed for the year, and state officials will be working next year's schedule soon. Fishing for salmon in the ocean is closed except in state waters near the Elk River.
Razor clamming is good on Clatsop beaches (which includes Cannon Beach, but mostly Seaside through to Warrenton).
Recreational shellfish harvesting of all kinds except some scallops is open along the Oregon coast. Mussels, bay clams and razor clams are all fair game.
“The consumption of whole recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended,” ODFW said. “However, coastal scallops are not affected by toxin closures when only the adductor muscle is eaten.”
Call the shellfish safety hotline before harvesting: 1-800-448-2474, or see http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/ then click on the shellfish icon.
Crabbing in the ocean normally opens on December 1 but it has been delayed this year to December 15. Both recreational and commercial crabbing have been halted until then, while crabbing in bays is still open.
“Crab quality testing in early November showed the majority of test areas coast wide did not meet minimum preseason test criteria,” ODFW said this week. “Fishery managers in Oregon, Washington and California met today and decided to delay the opening at least until December 15 to allow crab quality to improve. A third round of crab quality testing will occur in late November or early December.”
The delayed opening date will give time for the crab to fill with more meat. It will also provide the three states with more information for setting an appropriate commercial crab season opening schedule.
Meanwhile, ODFW reports bay crabbing remains very good, with crabbers in the Columbia River estuary, Coos and Winchester bays reporting limits. The crabs are in good condition and full of meat.
ODFW said bay crabbing is better after a run of dry weather, as immediately following significant rainfall the salinity in the bays drop.
“Crabbing success is often best during the slack tide at high tide or low tide when crabs are looking for food,” ODFW said.
Depoe Bay, another hotspot for fishing charter boats. Below: Astoria
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