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Old 07-12-2001, 11:17 PM   #1
brshooter
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Default Health concerns & warmwater fish

I was wondering about eating the warm water fish from the Willamette and Lower Columbia? In the fishing regs, there are health warnings about eating the fish due to toxins. I see lots of people fishing bass and panfish in the Willamette and Multnomah Channel. Do they C&R these fish, or do they take them home and eat them? I have always been afraid to eat them, so I don't fish them.
I grew up in Eastern Washington fishing areas like Potholes Reservoir, Banks Lake, and Moses Lake for perch, crappie, bluegill, and walleye. I love to eat this fish and would like to find an area to get into them. I know there are bass & walleye to be had on the Columbia. Would they be safe to eat if a person caught them above the I-205 bridge? I am sure the water is not the best there, but it has to be better than what is flowing through the Willamette and Multnomah Channel.
I fish for steelhead up at Camas and just thought when I am waiting for, or after, the outgoing tide, I could go chase some of these other critters.

[ 07-12-2001: Message edited by: brshooter ]
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Old 07-12-2001, 11:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Health concerns & warmwater fish

Hi brshooter!

Well, I won't eat warmwater fish out of the columbia or willamette rivers. In fact I rarely eat them from anywhere.

One thing people do not relize about the willamette and columbia river bass is that it takes them a LONG time to grow up. A five pound fish that comes out of the multnomah channel is likely ten years old. Please release these bass. They're loaded up with toxins and grow slowly because we have such a limited growing season.

We have no hatchery produced warmwater fish. It's up to us to be stewards of this resource. If someone wants to eat bass I would try to find a farm pond with a healthy population of fish and harvest only 1 1/2- 3lb fish. Turn loose the big girls...they make more. Don't forget you're camera, so you have bragging rights on those fish.

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Old 07-12-2001, 12:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: Health concerns & warmwater fish

Most serious fishermen C&R on the Willamette. I wouldn't eat anything that wasn't anadromous out of that water. 50% of the fish in the lower river have skeletal deformities as a result of the pollution. I know that many (not to be discriminatory) immigrants do catch and eat a lot of the trashier fish out of the river (ie carp, crappie, bullhead, suckers). I don't think most of them realize the dangers of eating these fish. Oregonian did a good article on the pollution and the fish in the lower Willamette a few months ago. Reinforced my decision not to eat anything out of there.

As far as the Columbia goes, around Camas would be BETTER than below Kelly Pt, but I don't really think those fish taste good enough to mess w/ eating them. You can catch some great walleye and bass in that area if you know where to fish. I just don't think that they taste good enough to counter the serious HEALTH RISKS. If you want to eat some of your bass or walleye, you might want to consider traveling. The walleye around the Dalles Dam would probably be okay to eat, but throw the big ones back. They don't taste as great and they can only get biggger! Best eating smallmouths will come out of the John Day or the Umpqua if you are willing to make the trek. Plenty of good farm ponds and lakes in the area that hold big largemouth bass. Can anyone say Hagg Lake or Smith and Bybee? I'm sure some of them might even be okay to eat out of. I just make it a point not to eat any of the bass or panfish I catch from the Willamette drainage. Too much bad s***t in the water. Good luck.
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Old 07-12-2001, 12:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Health concerns & warmwater fish

Here's some official information on the topic, although slightly old I doubt the situation has improved.

Eating fish out of the willamette
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Old 07-13-2001, 12:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Health concerns & warmwater fish

I wouldn't even consider eating a bass or other resident fish out of the Willamette. I certainly would not eat anything at all out of Smith or Bybee Lakes. YYYYUUUUUCCCCCKKKKK.
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