Oregon commercial crab fishery to open Dec. 31
NEWPORT — Fresh Oregon crab is back on the menu soon — the commercial Dungeness crab fishery will open along all of Oregon’s coast on Tuesday.
Prior to the opener, crab vessels will set gear from Saturday onward, using the “pre-soak” period of time to set gear in anticipation of the first pull of ocean crab pots just before the new year.
The ocean commercial Dungeness crab season in Oregon is targeted to open Dec. 1, but can be delayed to ensure a high-quality product to consumers and to avoid wastage of the resource. Crab meat recovery testing in late November and early December showed that many areas within the Tri-State region still did not meet the criteria for an opening. The delayed opening has allowed for crabs to fill with more meat and all areas have now exceeded meat recovery criteria.
Recreational crab harvesting is currently open coastwide in the ocean, bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties. Recreational crabbers should always call the Shellfish Hotline (800-448-2474) for closures before crabbing.
Commercial Dungeness crab is Oregon’s most valuable fishery. Last year’s delayed season opening still brought in the second highest ex-vessel value ever ($66.7 million) with 18.7 million pounds landed, just above the 10-year average.
ODFW recreation report
Whale Watching Week
During the winter, nearly 25,000 gray whales travel along the Oregon coast on their way to the warm lagoons of Baja Mexico. Come and wave hello as they pass by during Whale Watching Week Friday through Tuesday. Oregon State Parks lists 24 whale watching spots along the coast — each staffed by friendly and knowledgeable volunteers as part of the Whale Watching Spoken Here program.
Rain and holidays in the forecast: best bets for fishing
This week’s rain should get more steelhead moving into the rivers. They also will create challenging fishing conditions as water levels rise. Best bet, keep an eye on river levels and once they begin to drop, hit the river.
About 196 king-size rainbow broodstock will be stocked in Row River Nature Park Pond near Cottage Grove, Walling Pond in Salem, Timber Linn Lake in Albany, and Walter Wirth Lake in Salem.
Lost Lake Reservoir is a go-to trout fishing destination throughout the winter.
Trout anglers also can target the Crooked, lower Deschutes, Metolius, Klamath, Blitzen and Owyhee rivers, where fishing for native redbands is open throughout the year. Here are 7 tips for winter trout fishing.
The Ana Reservoir and River are good bets for winter fishing. Both are spring fed waterbodies and remain a constant temperature throughout the year.
It’s not too early to report your hunt
You’re right. The reporting deadline for 2019 hunts isn’t until Jan. 31, 2020. But now that we’ve got you thinking about it, why not report early and get it over with?