Crabs picked for testing at Coos Bay last week tested safe for Dioxin levels, which should mean good news regarding the current closure — however unsafe crabs were found near Brookings and Yachats. The Department of Agriculture, which is in charge of shellfish testing may increase the size of the closed area regarding crab harvest. Their decision-making is based on caution and the coastal areas they close almost always end at either the California or Washington borders.

So while the Oregon coast north of Yachats, Waldport or Newport may remain open to the Washington border there is a very good chance that the closure starting at the California border may be extended northward to include Winchester Bay, Florence and Yachats.

While hoping for the best, the high, muddy water in Oregon’s larger coastal rivers and even bays should lessen the “pain” of an extended crabbing closure.

An update from the ODFW and ODA late last week announced that the area between the North Jetty at Charleston and Tahkenitch Creek will remain open to crabbing while the coastal stretch from Tahkenitch Creek to Cape Foulweather (south of Depoe Bay) is now closed to crabbing.

Gary Wolfer sent me a series of photos of beach erosion near the second parking lot south of Winchester Bay. The photos showed that the dropoff went from barely noticeable to six feet in less than two weeks.

The heavy rains got fresh salmon into the coastal coho lakes and South Coast rivers. While anglers may have to wait a few days to fish for the jumbo Chinooks, the South Coast rivers are famous for, the coho salmon lakes should remain clear enough to fish. The folks at Darlings Resort reported that the largest coho checked in so far measured 32-inches, but they expect a much larger portion of adult cohos among the later-arriving fish.

Don’t count on Oregon to follow suit, but Washington has a new way to determine if a steelhead is of hatchery origin. It seems that warm water curtailed steelhead-marking operations of the Makah Tribe’s hatchery on the Hoko River. When these fish started returning to the Hoko River unmarked, steelhead having dorsal fins of less than 2 and 1/8-inches were deemed to be of hatchery origin. The standard of 2 1/8 inches has been used elsewhere to identify unclipped hatchery steelhead. The new method of determining hatchery origin will most likely continue until the unmarked hatchery steelhead are no longer entering the Hoko River.

Bradley Lake, stocked during the last week in October, is the last lake to receive planted trout along the Oregon coast, but Butterfield and Saunders both have fishable numbers of uncaught stocked trout. Walter Wirth Lake and Walling Pond in Salem as well as the Alton Baker Canal in Eugene will receive trout plants through December. Junction City Pond will be stocked with larger trout in mid-December.

A few skilled and determined bass anglers are still catching a few bass, but the catch of anglers using lures designed to appeal to both bass and salmon on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes has consisted almost entirely of salmon and larger trout.

My friend, William Lackner, has put together an absolutely awesome website that has loads of outdoorsy information guaranteed to help anglers, hunters and travelers in western Oregon. The site’s name is “Mile by Mile Guide to the Oregon Coast” and its URL is: www.milebymile.info/. Check it out once and you’ll be back.

Washington State wildlife managers are evaluating the behavior of 11 young deer at a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center in Thurston County, where they euthanized three fawns and an elk calf last week after finding those animals had become habituated to humans.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has confirmed that several turkey vultures have been poisoned from the veterinary euthanasia drug pentobarbital in the Simi Valley area of Ventura County.

Seven turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) were found dead or impaired in California’s Simi Valley in October. Two of these were successfully rehabilitated by the Ojai Raptor Center, but the other five died. Pentobarbital exposure was confirmed in the digestive system of one of the dead turkey vultures. The source of the exposure remains unknown.

Pentobarbital is a drug used by veterinarians to euthanize companion animals, livestock and horses. If the remains of animals euthanized with pentobarbital are not properly disposed of after death, scavenging wildlife – such as turkey vultures and eagles – can be poisoned. Veterinarians and animal owners are responsible for disposing of animal remains properly by legal methods such as cremation or deep burial.

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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