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If you are planning to open your trout season in central Oregon, a number of popular fishing spots have changes in their opening dates this year. Both the Williamson and Wood rivers open on April 22nd this year — which is on a Monday, instead of the usual Saturday. Central Oregon lakes that also open on April 22nd this year include Crane Prairie Reservoir, Laurence Lake, Odell Lake and Wickiup Reservoir.

Actually, I like the less impactful opener and the fact that the fish in these popular fisheries have a few days to “adjust” before the heavy fishing pressure of the following weekend.

Heavy rains last week greatly raised pond and lake levels and caused muddy water and near flood conditions in many streams and it is highly unlikely that Johnson Mill Pond, located in a swampy, muddy area, received its trout plant on schedule.

Eel and Tenmile creeks are not muddy and offer poor to fair fishing for winter steelhead.

The ODFW stocking schedule and may be amended several times each week, but as I am writing this column, the waters scheduled to be stocked with trout this week include Buck Lake (425 trophies); Sutton Lake (1,500 trophies); Siltcoos Lagoon (881 trophies); Munsel Lake (3,300 trophies) and North Tenmile Lake (3,000 legals). Whenever North Tenmile Lake is stocked, South Tenmile Lake receives the same amount of fish.

Offshore bottomfishing is still very good and remains open through April. Surf fishing area beaches for redtail surfperch has been very inconsistent, but occasionally very good. Crabbing has been poor as Oregon’s coastal rivers are high and muddy. Crabbing the ocean has been fair and the bottom half of Coos Bay, between the North Spit Boat Ramp and Charleston has been good.

Charges have been dropped against a North Carolina man accused of leaving his pet fish behind without food when he was evicted.

New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David told news outlets that 53-year-old Michael Hinson is no longer charged with animal cruelty and abandonment. He says fish aren’t protected under related statutes that define “animal” as amphibians, reptiles, bird and mammals, excluding humans — and fish.

Officials say Hinson was evicted from his Wilmington home last month and left behind an unhealthy Oscar fish in a dirty tank. He was arrested last week after officials found the 6-inch fish — which is being nursed back to health at an aquarium store.

Sheriff’s Lt. Jerry Brewer said this was the county’s first animal cruelty case involving a fish, which leads one to wonder what’s next? Perhaps a class action suit on behalf of fish forced to live in polluted freshwater lakes or streams or even the ocean?

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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