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Dungeness Crab

Howdy everybody and thank you to everyone that came from near and far to buy fresh ocean crab from our local seafood markets. It’s been a long stressful stretch filled with delays and bad weather but the boys are finally out catching and supplying local markets, and the world, with fresh Oregon Dungeness crab!

As for the sports end of things, well; when we can fish its good, it’s really good. The only obstacles as of late are waves higher than houses and wind that’ll put a smack on ya’. But in true Oregon fashion we had incredible weather this past Sunday with sun, no wind, and water so calm in the bay you could scoot around in a boat or kayak all day long. Of course no one did because on Friday I told everyone how lousy the weather was going to be. Yeah, I pass the blame to the weatherman.

Crabbing in the bay is still good but much slower off the docks. Steelhead fishing is awesome if you fish systems that recover quickly from the heavy rains we have been getting. As for surf fishing not many people have been out there because of the man eating waves. By the end of the week though it looks like wind and waves should subside substantially so if you aren’t at the Eugene Boat and Sportsmen’s Show February second to the fourth you have no excuse to not be playing on the water. Also keep in mind that Roseburg will be having its Sportsmen’s & Outdoor Recreation Show Feb. 16-18. I mention these as a shameless plug as I will be appearing at them and two more shows next month so make sure you swing by and say hello!

I think in honor of Dungeness crab season finally being open we will make that today’s topic.

Dungeness crab live to about a maximum of 10 years and take their first four years to reach sport and commercial harvest size. Starting their lives in the winter as tiny larval “Zoea” the Dungeness crab is at the mercy of tides and currents spending their early lives pelagically, suspended in the water and not venturing near bottom or shore. By the time these little fellas reach the next stage in their lives, the "megalope” stage, the spring ocean currents bring them in to nearshore areas and bays and estuaries where they play an important part in the food chain, and pretty close to the bottom of it at that.

These tiny Dungeness crab will fall prey to everything from whales to salmon.

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If the Dungeness crab lives past this point they graduate to the juvenile stage of their lives and will remain juveniles until about their second birthday living their day to day lives in shallow estuaries among eel grass and other structure. Often when I am out clamming I will uncover a young crab that quickly scurries away and buries himself back in the sand without wasting any time. During this stage of life the Dungeness will molt up to six times a year to accommodate its rapid growth, slowing down to once a year after its second year of life. In its third year the Dungeness crab is an adult and will make its home anywhere from the shallow estuaries of its youth to ocean depths of up to 2000 feet. It’s somewhere in the middle where our commercial fleet is now out baiting and catching them.

Support our fishermen and our local seafood markets and make your way down to Charleston for the finest seafood anywhere.

Rob Gensorek is the owner of Basin Tackle www.basintackle.com in the Charleston Marina and can be reached by phone at 541-888-FISH, by Facebook at Basin Tackle Charleston, or email at basin_tackle@yahoo.com. Robs fishing reports can be heard daily at 6:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. on KRSB Best Country 103 out of Roseburg and his Basin Tackle Outdoor Show can be heard Wednesdays at 3 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 a.m. at kwro.com. In addition to all this he sometimes actually gets out and catches a fish or two.

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