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About Appeal tribune. (Silverton, Or.) 1999-current | View Entire Issue (July 21, 2021)
| WEDNESDAY, JULY 21, 2021 | 1B
William Sullivan Special to Eugene Register-Guard
USA TODAY NETWORK
ho hasn’t dreamed of staﬃng a ﬁre
lookout for a summer, escaping the
pressure of city life, having time to do
all the things you’ve been putting oﬀ?
In the freedom of your panoramic mountaintop cab-
in, you could read edgy novels, study Italian or learn
to draw birds.
If that sounds enticing, I suggest you visit the
staﬀer on Mount Ireland ﬁrst. In fact, I’m going to
suggest that you climb this 8,321-foot peak in East-
ern Oregon’s Blue Mountains anyway, partly be-
cause it’s a great hike and partly because I suspect
the staﬀer there could use some company.
Last summer, I visited Mount Ireland while up-
dating my hiking guide for Eastern Oregon. It had
been seven years since I’d been there, and things
change, even in the wilderness.
The trail to the top climbs 2,320 feet in 3.3 miles
among white granite boulders festooned with cush-
ions of phlox, yellow sulfur ﬂower and purple pen-
stemon. At the summit, a 13-foot-square metal look-
out building teeters on the edge of the North Fork
John Day Wilderness, with mountain goats on
snowy cliﬀs to either side and Baldy Lake half a mile
almost straight down, a giant sapphire in a green for-
See PANORAMA, Page 2B
Where to catch crabs from the shore
It’s an intriguing question that comes
to mind when you check out a meaty
(sorry) section of the Oregon Depart-
ment of Fish and Wildlife’s online crab-
bing information pages at ODFW Recre-
When you click on the link to “Crab-
bing reports,” a chart comes up that lists
catch statistics for boat and “land”
(meaning from docks, jetties, shore, etc.)
at eight bays in Oregon.
It provides a rough analysis based on
success rates for the most productive
times to go coastal.
Winchester Bay on the south coast, as
an example, is literally oﬀ the chart in
mid-June for limits of Dungeness crabs,
hopefully pre-molt, which will be ex-
For the boat-less among us, and a lot
closer to home, the peak for land crab-
bers on Yaquina Bay at Newport is mid-
August at eight a person.
The information, according to the web
page, is based on catch surveys done by
the department, although there are gaps
in statistics for most of the bays during
the course of the year.
It’s not all crab boils and cocktail
As the explainer for the tables says,
male Dungeness crabs -- males above a
certain size are the only ones legal to
keep -- shed their shells, or molt, in June.
So while there are more legal-size
males, the new, larger shells don’t ﬁll out
with meat until the late summer and into
During the interim, a lot of the crabs
are like a really skinny guy in a water-
ﬁlled empathy suit; all ﬁller, little meat
Ergo, the Winchester Bay comment
Squeeze a leg other than the claw.
If it’s squishy, not ﬁrm, throw it back
to let it bulk up.
Now back up a click and check out the
other links on the opening page.
A lot of it is fascinating stuﬀ, such as
the “Crab identiﬁcation” page.
There are some great pictures and de-
scriptions of the crabs found in Oregon,
including some bizarre varieties such as
the spiny lithode (yes, it’s a thing) and
There’s even a section about non-na-
tive exotic and invasive varieties.
Pass the cocktail sauce.
Bunch of problems
A recent conversation with a friend
reminded me that a lot of anglers believe
bananas are bad luck aboard a ﬁshing
So much so that I once saw a skipper
roundly chastise an ignorant angler for
packing a banana in his lunch cooler be-
fore unceremoniously tossing the of-
fending fruit over the gunwale.
The lore and legend of the fruity
See MILLER, Page 2B
The columnist wades right in on Alsea
Bay to get a Dungeness crab. KAY MILLER/
SPECIAL TO THE STATESMAN JOURNAL