1005375146 crab-measure.JPG
PHOTO BY NANCY MCCLAINCrab gauges, readily available at bait stores, are used to measure Dungeness crabs, which must be at least 5-3/4 inches across.

Crabbing returns to South Coast

Sport and commercial crabbing are now open along the entire Oregon Coast after tests showed levels of the biotoxin domoic acid have dropped to acceptable levels in Dungeness crab.

Tests on Dungeness south of Port Orford showed low enough levels of domoic acid to allow sport and commercial crabbers along the South Coast to join the rest of Oregon crabbers.

Now the ocean, bays and estuaries are all open for sport crabbers in Oregon.

The region was set to open Friday for commercial crabbers but under restrictions that all crab first must be eviscerated because that is where domoic acid concentrates, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, which joins the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in domoic acid testing.

Domoic acid can cause minor to severe illness and even death in humans. Poisoning can result in dizziness, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea.

More severe cases can result in memory loss and death. Shellfish toxins are produced by algae, and are most readily absorbed by filter-feeders such as razor clams, a diet staple of Dungeness.

To watch a video on recreational crabbing along the South Coast, view it here.

All spring bear hunts now controlled

Spring bear hunters in southwest Oregon must apply for their tags by Feb. 10 along with the rest of the state’s bruin stalkers.

After more than a decade of selling southwest Oregon spring bear tags on a first-come, first-served basis, hunting officials reverted back to the controlled-hunt process to be consistent with the rest of Oregon spring bear hunts, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The change was made as part of the agency’s regulation-simplification process and to better distribute hunting pressure in Oregon, considering that more than half of those who bought spring bear tags in southwest Oregon actually hunted, according to ODFW.

The change also means that spring bear hunters who don’t draw their first choice will receive a point-saver toward other draws.

Also new for 2019 is a change in some Eastern Oregon hunts. The Starkey Unit was added to what was formerly the West Blue Mountain hunt, and the area was split into two new hunts (752A Starkey-Ukiah and 754A Mt. Emily-Walla Walla).

Spring bear hunters will apply for tags through the state’s new online licensing system or though a licensing agent or ODFW office.

For those applying online, hunters need to first look up and verify their account at odfw.huntfishoregon.com/login. After completing the online account, go to Product Catalog, then Big Game Hunting, then Controlled Hunts and finally choose the 700 series spring bear controlled-hunt application form.

Steelheaders’ clinic

The Middle Rogue Steelheaders will offer the general public all they need to know to begin or improve their steelhead angling successes during two free clinics set for Feb. 9 in Medford.

The clinics will be at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. that Saturday at Sportsman’s Warehouse, 1710 Delta Waters Road.

The clinic will start with information such as the correct rods and reels, both spin- and bait-casting, as well as the length and sturdiness of the rods. Presenters will discuss the various weights used, as well as the pros and cons of monofilament versus braided line.

The clinic will delve into how to rig, cast and retrieve spoons for steelhead in streams such as the Applegate River, as well as fishing yarn balls as imitation roe and the technique of fishing pink plastic worms under sliding bobbers.

Clinic presenters will also give pointers on where to fish for steelhead in rivers such as the Rogue River, particularly how to look for water steelhead prefer and then how to fish those waters.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

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