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Old 07-22-2019, 09:45 AM   #1
Bobber Downey Jr.
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Default Walleye edibility - below Bonneville

Sorry if this topic has been exhausted already. I couldn't find a dedicated thread in my searches here, and Google wasn't much more helpful.


I know the Lower Columbia has fish advisories all over the board for various species on what is and is not ok to eat. Other species are listed as "safe for one meal per week" and other such levels.


What I can't find are anything official specifically talking about Walleye below Bonneville. Many other species have levels of safety listed, but not Walleye. Given the popularity of that fishery, and how many people are eating them, you'd think there would be some mention. I know there's a mention in like a footnote for the Willamette about them, but that's about it.


I had a friend recently re-introduce me to walleye fishing after I'd not targeted them since I was a youngster growing up in central WA. He told me about the Multnomah Channel fish - "they're safe to eat because they're migratory." But to me, that doesn't mean much if they're migrating from one unsafe location to another. If they're not something that's really ok to eat around here, I'd like to get that figured out before I invest any more time or money in that.


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Old 07-22-2019, 10:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: Walleye edibility - below Bonneville

I'm not so sure we are not getting paranoid with these fish warning's. As a kid I ate a ton of trout out of East Lk, I understand that's a no no any more. Or you can go some where and eat one species and not another, what's with that? You like to eat walleye, eat them! Your only gonna live once! You can find something bad about every thing you eat, ya just gonna quit eating?
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Old 07-22-2019, 10:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Walleye edibility - below Bonneville

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I'm not so sure we are not getting paranoid with these fish warning's. As a kid I ate a ton of trout out of East Lk, I understand that's a no no any more. Or you can go some where and eat one species and not another, what's with that? You like to eat walleye, eat them! Your only gonna live once! You can find something bad about every thing you eat, ya just gonna quit eating?
Because I'd prefer to not eat PCBs and heavy metal/toxins that can accumulate in the flesh of resident fishes. The reason for some and not others is based on their migratory status and diet.



I don't plan to "quit eating," but something about me that I don't know if most on here could relate to is that the only meat I cook/eat at home is stuff I harvest myself. When I don't have meat in the freezer I've harvested, I have plenty other things that I enjoy eating.
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Old 07-22-2019, 01:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Walleye edibility - below Bonneville

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Because I'd prefer to not eat PCBs and heavy metal/toxins that can accumulate in the flesh of resident fishes. The reason for some and not others is based on their migratory status and diet.



I don't plan to "quit eating," but something about me that I don't know if most on here could relate to is that the only meat I cook/eat at home is stuff I harvest myself. When I don't have meat in the freezer I've harvested, I have plenty other things that I enjoy eating.
Hard to imagine walleye being in a different class than bass in terms of PCB and mercury contamination since they are both at the same spot in the food chain and resident fish.

It is also strange, as you note, that there is no information below Bonneville for the Columbia. That seems really odd since the Willamette, and MC as part of the Willamette, are both called out.
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Old 07-22-2019, 01:55 PM   #5
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Hard to imagine walleye being in a different class than bass in terms of PCB and mercury contamination since they are both at the same spot in the food chain and resident fish.

It is also strange, as you note, that there is no information below Bonneville for the Columbia. That seems really odd since the Willamette, and MC as part of the Willamette, are both called out.
It's especially strange since Bass, carp, catfish and other species get mention. Given that walleye are a more popular food item than any of those, it's just a strange omission.


Let's speculate on conspiracy theories about lobbying from the guide industry
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Old 07-22-2019, 04:05 PM   #6
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If you are concerned, I will take all the walleye fillets off your hands and make sure they are safely disposed of. ; )

I'm not concerned about it for myself. There's probably 10 other things I consume that will do me in before I eat enough freshwater fish. However, I would follow the guidelines for feeding my growing kids or if my wife was still planning on having children.
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Old 07-22-2019, 05:29 PM   #7
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Fish topic has been discussed many times by Ifish. The Dallas Chronicle has reported on this as well as the Oregonian. A study by Army Corp of Engineers in August 2011 was reported in Oregonian and reported on PCBs found in resident fish at a level of 183. The threshold is .047. I am no mathematician but that’s a whole bunch of crap that you shouldn’t eat. Other studies has lower levels it still troubling. There is also a mercury problem. Now you can make fun of this and you can eat whatever you want but do you really want to feed this to your kids or pregnant wife? The key is fish that reside there through their entire lives. Not salmon or steelhead. I took two cheap trips to Manitoba and Ontario this year for walleye and pike. The walleye fishing at small do it yourself no frill lodges is off the charts tremendous. Hundreds of walleyes in a day(not an exaggeration, our group of 6 got over 2000)...walleyes you can eat and nice pike as a surprise if they don’t bite you off. Any walleye fisherman who has not gone to one of these isolated lakes and enjoyed non stop action is denying himself of one of the best deals in fishing trips anywhere.
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Old 07-22-2019, 05:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: Walleye edibility - below Bonneville

Thank you that's the info I was after. I wasn't able to locate anything on my searches for some reason.

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Old 07-22-2019, 06:15 PM   #9
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You should also be cautious in eating too many bananas. If you were to eat a billion of them, the radiation would kill you very quick.
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Old 07-22-2019, 06:35 PM   #10
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You should also be cautious in eating too many bananas. If you were to eat a billion of them, the radiation would kill you very quick.
Whew! I was at 999,999. I will stop now and be fine
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Old 07-22-2019, 07:16 PM   #11
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I quit eating any resident fish out of the lower Columbia/Willamette system a over a decade ago. I'm not sure that the fish from the John Day up are much better, but they sure smell better. This is a VERY non scientific observation, but the local fish smell like the mud they live in. Even the flesh. I assume it's because they eat a lot of crawfish & sculpins off of the bottom. Fish from the mid-Columbia on up smell like fresh fish.

I still don't eat a lot of resident fish. Even then only well trimmed.

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Old 07-22-2019, 08:35 PM   #12
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When I was a kid I ate a ton of perch and catfish out of the multnomah channel and Gilbert river and I lived to tell the story , but i sure wouldn't do it today. That said I eat walleye at least once a month from columbia in front of my house which is just above bonny.
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Old 07-29-2019, 06:15 PM   #13
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The danger with mercury is it accumulates in your body. You don't pass it or get rid of it. Remember the saying "Mad as a hatter"? Hat makers used to use mercury, and one of the effects of too much accumulated mercury is a bit of insanity.
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Old 07-29-2019, 10:06 PM   #14
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There's only one fish I've caught my dog won't eat. One out of hundreds of species, walleye from the channel. Tested it a couple times in different meals. I like it but haven't kept any for myself in a couple years now just for this reason.
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:51 AM   #15
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I'd check Oregon Health Authority web site...they have some notes on various species of concern that include walleye and other resident fish. Washington Environmental Health have some info too. Seems that most of our freshwater fish that eat other fish will bio-accumulate some mercury if that might on ones concern list. Because salmonids and other ocean dwelling fish that put on weight out off shore there seems to be less of a concern for most contaminants. Age of the fish matters.
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Old 07-30-2019, 07:30 AM   #16
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Default Re: Walleye edibility - below Bonneville

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You should also be cautious in eating too many bananas. If you were to eat a billion of them, the radiation would kill you very quick.
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Old 07-30-2019, 07:33 AM   #17
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Default Re: Walleye edibility - below Bonneville

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I'd check Oregon Health Authority web site...they have some notes on various species of concern that include walleye and other resident fish. Washington Environmental Health have some info too. Seems that most of our freshwater fish that eat other fish will bio-accumulate some mercury if that might on ones concern list. Because salmonids and other ocean dwelling fish that put on weight out off shore there seems to be less of a concern for most contaminants. Age of the fish matters.

An amazing thing to me is they tell you it's bad for you then tell you how many serving's a month is safe to eat. What's with that? Either it's bad for you or it's not! Taking just a little poison at a time is still taking poison!
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Old 07-30-2019, 07:50 AM   #18
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An amazing thing to me is they tell you it's bad for you then tell you how many serving's a month is safe to eat. What's with that? Either it's bad for you or it's not! Taking just a little poison at a time is still taking poison!
As stated earlier it is about lifetime accumulation of poison (mercury). It is bad for you but at the amount they recommend you will die from other causes before suffering from mercury poisoning.

The radioactive banana comment was amusing but does not apply. The body only stores so much potassium. All potassium contains some radioactive isotopes. When you eat a banana your body will excrete any excess potassium. Thus the level of radioactive isotopes in the body does not change regardless of the number of bananas consumed.

The problem with mercury is that there is no mechanism in our bodies to excrete it. Every mg we accumulate takes us one step closer to mercury poisoning. Personally, I see no reason to run that race against time.
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Old 07-30-2019, 08:45 AM   #19
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An amazing thing to me is they tell you it's bad for you then tell you how many serving's a month is safe to eat. What's with that? Either it's bad for you or it's not! Taking just a little poison at a time is still taking poison!
I have seen warnings about mercury in fish for many years in almost all waters. Some fish and some waters have more than others. The mercury from the Columbia resident fish levels are high enough to discourage me from consumption. Add the other insanely high levels of toxins that have been reported and this decision is an easy one for me. How long does it take to affect any individual? What are the signs of toxicity? Tremors? Memory loss? Imbalance? Cancer? You may never know what hit you. Are young people more susceptible to these products? All fishermen will answer these questions differently. Reading the guidelines then using common sense seems wise to me.
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Old 07-30-2019, 09:08 AM   #20
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Default Re: Walleye edibility - below Bonneville

Thanks a ton guys. Helps a lot.


I'm well aware of the dangers of mercury and heavy metal poisoning, which is why I take it pretty seriously. Maybe some think it ridiculous and that I'm being over-cautious, but that's my choice and I'm happy to leave more of them for you.


Now to see how high up in the big C one has to go to find some with acceptable levels of toxins.
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Old 07-30-2019, 03:22 PM   #21
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Eat in small portions! If a fish Lives in that river year round it has a chance of being polluted
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Old 08-01-2019, 11:32 AM   #22
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Eat in small portions! If a fish Lives in that river year round it has a chance of being polluted
Is glue sniffing bad for You? How would you know unless someone told you? How much sniffing do you have to do to damage your body? Can you tell that you have done damage until it has shown obvious physical signs? Why would you sniff glue?
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Old 08-15-2019, 02:37 PM   #23
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It's not just mercury. PCBs are pretty awful as well.

This is a very good report from the EPA from 2009.

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production...rt_jan2009.pdf
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Old 08-22-2019, 05:26 PM   #24
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PCB is site specific, so, as a general rule, if you aren't fishing around the inner harbor or in the Bonneville dam area you shouldn't be concerned with that particular poison. Mercury, on the other hand, is endemic to the Columbia, and no where are the levels low enough not to be a problem. Heed the warnings, because heavy metals are bad news, especially for pregnant women and for children. Mercury is a naturally occurring element, but it has higher concentrations in some waters due to Cinnabar mining (the last mine closed near Prineville in the 1960's) and the use of mercury to separate gold from ore. Early mining operations contributed heavily to the mercury contamination of Oregon waters. As for eating resident fish, the younger the better, and mercury tends to concentrate in the fattiest tissues, which would be belly meat. Levels that are considered 'safe to eat' for adults, children and pregnant women are set via scientific methods, and advisories are not made lightly. Many are ignoring the warnings, and some will suffer no ill effects, a few will have problems later on, but nobody will show any immediate symptoms from consumption of fish because the concentrations are still quite low. Just remember, the amount your body absorbs is cumulative. I eat resident fish, including walleye, and I do pay attention to the advisories. For a bit of trivia, the term 'Mad as a hatter', was the result of the use of mercury in making hats, which resulted in some of the workers absorbing high enough concentrations to cause obvious brain damage in a relatively short period of time.
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:20 AM   #25
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It's not just mercury. PCBs are pretty awful as well.

This is a very good report from the EPA from 2009.

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production...rt_jan2009.pdf
Good info. This sentence in the introduction struck me: "Many other contaminants are found in the Basin, including arsenic,
dioxins, radionuclides, lead, pesticides, industrial chemicals, and “emerging
contaminants” such as pharmaceuticals
found in wastewater. This report does
not focus on those contaminants, in part because there is a lack of widespread
information on their presence in the Basin. "


So it's important to be concerned about toxin that are not measured as well. Where I live the walleye & bass are OK once or twice a month, yellow perch can be eaten every day and pike should be small and only eaten occasionally.

After reading the warnings on the Columbia I was disappointed but have decided to skip fishing it as we all like to eat our catch.
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Old 09-03-2019, 01:11 PM   #26
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PCB is site specific, so, as a general rule, if you aren't fishing around the inner harbor or in the Bonneville dam area you shouldn't be concerned with that particular poison. Mercury, on the other hand, is endemic to the Columbia, and no where are the levels low enough not to be a problem. Heed the warnings, because heavy metals are bad news, especially for pregnant women and for children. Mercury is a naturally occurring element, but it has higher concentrations in some waters due to Cinnabar mining (the last mine closed near Prineville in the 1960's) and the use of mercury to separate gold from ore. Early mining operations contributed heavily to the mercury contamination of Oregon waters. As for eating resident fish, the younger the better, and mercury tends to concentrate in the fattiest tissues, which would be belly meat. Levels that are considered 'safe to eat' for adults, children and pregnant women are set via scientific methods, and advisories are not made lightly. Many are ignoring the warnings, and some will suffer no ill effects, a few will have problems later on, but nobody will show any immediate symptoms from consumption of fish because the concentrations are still quite low. Just remember, the amount your body absorbs is cumulative. I eat resident fish, including walleye, and I do pay attention to the advisories. For a bit of trivia, the term 'Mad as a hatter', was the result of the use of mercury in making hats, which resulted in some of the workers absorbing high enough concentrations to cause obvious brain damage in a relatively short period of time.
The warning are set for the populations most at risk; those are pregnant Women, children and for the cultures that do whole fish cooking/eating.
This is a complex issue, and you should take the advisories with knowledge. The fish are caught within a river span which varies by locations, and only 1-2 fish per span. When the “spans” have been caught (which may be a 20 mile total), all fish are sampled as a whole unit. How does one reach a whole unit? All whole fishes are blended to a puree’ and then tested. The results are done in a lab and the findings given to the “Reporting Agency. It is this Agency that set’s the warning level’s based on the “At Risk Groups” eating whole fish 3-5 times a week.
While catching fish for these studies, some of the members caught fish that they kept from the same spans that they used for private testing via fillet samples only out of pocket. The results came well under any level of concern for any toxin, PCB or hard metals. I personally talked with one of the labs and was explained this process and what was then done with the information / results. If you consider your eating of these fish, how you prepare and cook them, then use this information as your indicator or advisory for these species.
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Old 09-03-2019, 07:51 PM   #27
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.. I personally talked with one of the labs and was explained this process and what was then done with the information / results. If you consider your eating of these fish, how you prepare and cook them, then use this information as your indicator or advisory for these species.
Maybe so, not saying you don't believe what you said, but no one cares about my safety more than me.

It is a complex issue and frankly I don't believe the government or the EPA or anyone else are doing a good job of identifying and establishing the toxicity rules and guidelines.

I know there is heavy metal and PCBs from decades of industry on the bottom of these rivers and in the pools of these dams.

I'll choose to eat less of the gnarly fish in these areas.

I prefer to be safe rather than sorry.
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Old 09-05-2019, 08:28 AM   #28
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All whole fishes are blended to a puree’ and then tested.


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Old 09-05-2019, 09:37 AM   #29
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I got a good chuckle out of that. Those were the good ole days of SNL.

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Old 09-06-2019, 03:14 PM   #30
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The warning are set for the populations most at risk; those are pregnant Women, children and for the cultures that do whole fish cooking/eating.
This is a complex issue, and you should take the advisories with knowledge. The fish are caught within a river span which varies by locations, and only 1-2 fish per span. When the “spans” have been caught (which may be a 20 mile total), all fish are sampled as a whole unit. How does one reach a whole unit? All whole fishes are blended to a puree’ and then tested. The results are done in a lab and the findings given to the “Reporting Agency. It is this Agency that set’s the warning level’s based on the “At Risk Groups” eating whole fish 3-5 times a week.
While catching fish for these studies, some of the members caught fish that they kept from the same spans that they used for private testing via fillet samples only out of pocket. The results came well under any level of concern for any toxin, PCB or hard metals. I personally talked with one of the labs and was explained this process and what was then done with the information / results. If you consider your eating of these fish, how you prepare and cook them, then use this information as your indicator or advisory for these species.
Thanks for that information. I think all Gov agencies overstate risks, so they will be immune to any liability in being inaccurate. I find this true, even in the medical field. So, each can peruse information and make up their own mind about their risk level. Thanks again.
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Old 09-27-2019, 02:10 PM   #31
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I have a friend that went to Hawaii for a year and fell in love with poke. He was eating it every day. After a few months he started to appear to be in cognitive decline. His family assumed he was partying too much. Eventually it got so bad he went to the hospital. He was diagnosed with heavy metal poisoning and took many months to get back a point we're he wasn't obviously addled. As someone who had a stroke at 42 and didn't know how to speak/read/write for a while, changes in cognition suck.
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Old 10-09-2019, 02:14 AM   #32
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every poison you put in your body affects you in some way. after enough and enough time it gets you.


why on earth would anyone consciously put poison in their body.


those with any kind of ailments. some of that may have been caused by your past deeds. now they are finding about roundup problems. many still use it to kill weeds in their lawn. they now have lawns to die for.



knew a bunch that worked in the asbestos insulation industry. they would laugh about it. they dont get to laugh anymore.
plus smokers were much more likely to have the issues and die from them. it all adds up. your choice to be blind or not to the consequences.
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