Clam Watch, Crab Watch and Fish Watch provides the latest information available on local clam digging and crabbing conditions on the Oregon Coast to facilitate planning your crabbing, clam digging and fishing adventures.

Clam Digging, Crabbing and Fishing Locations

Scroll down and click on the following links to view the latest information available on clam digging, crabbing and fishing conditions in Oregon's Coastal Waters. Please share your clam digging, crabbing and fishing adventures with us by emailing your comments, photographs or video clips to clamdigginginfo@gmail.com or post them to the Forum Page. Thanks Bill

Razor Clams: Harvesting razor clams reopened on 10/01 with a good population of carry over clams available for harvest. On 05/04 Bill from Bud's Campground reports limits of razor clams along the entire length of Clatsop Spit beaches.

2013-05-08 06:30 AM PDT -0.30 feet Low Tide Wed
2013-05-09 07:11 AM PDT -0.49 feet Low Tide Thu
2013-05-10 07:50 AM PDT -0.54 feet Low Tide Fri
2013-05-11 08:26 AM PDT -0.46 feet Low Tide Sat
2013-05-12 09:01 AM PDT -0.31 feet Low Tide Sun
2013-05-13 09:35 AM PDT -0.09 feet Low Tide Mon
2013-05-23 05:58 AM PDT -0.53 feet Low Tide Thu
2013-05-24 06:47 AM PDT -1.12 feet Low Tide Fri
2013-05-25 07:35 AM PDT -1.50 feet Low Tide Sat
2013-05-26 08:23 AM PDT -1.65 feet Low Tide Sun
2013-05-27 09:12 AM PDT -1.56 feet Low Tide Mon
2013-05-28 10:01 AM PDT -1.25 feet Low Tide Tue
2013-05-29 10:51 AM PDT -0.77 feet Low Tide Wed
2013-05-30 11:43 AM PDT -0.17 feet Low Tide Thu
2013-06-05 05:26 AM PDT -0.08 feet Low Tide Wed
2013-06-06 06:10 AM PDT -0.39 feet Low Tide Thu
2013-06-07 06:52 AM PDT -0.56 feet Low Tide Fri
2013-06-08 07:30 AM PDT -0.59 feet Low Tide Sat
2013-06-09 08:06 AM PDT -0.54 feet Low Tide Sun
2013-06-10 08:40 AM PDT -0.43 feet Low Tide Mon
2013-06-11 09:12 AM PDT -0.26 feet Low Tide Tue
2013-06-12 09:43 AM PDT -0.06 feet Low Tide Wed

Overall, clam digging for razor clams on along the beach at Clatsop Spit has been excellent in recent years. The 2011 seasons saw a decline in the population density of razor clams, but the population density rebounded in 2012. Digging productivity was excellent in 2012. We expect good numbers of razor clams to be taken when the season reopens on 10/01/12. The best clam digging this past year is from the beach associated with Fort Stevens and at the Cove at southern end of Seaside. Clam digging productivity over the next series of Spring tides should be excellent over the next week:

We recommend staying at Bud’s Campground budsrv.com/rv_park_photos.htm . Of all the R/V Parks along Hwy 101 in Seaside Bud’s Campground is the best. Bud’s is conveniently located 3 miles north of Seaside on the west side of Hwy 101. Bud's Campground is the only R/V Park that carries a complete line of razor clams digging equipment. Call Bud’s at:1-800-730-6855. Bill and Shirley will make your stay a pleasant one.

I am often asked, "Where do you prefer to dig clams?" The answer is Seaside for razor clams. Netarts Bay is my favorite bay to dig bay clams on the North Coast, Coos Bay on the South Coast. That leaves all points between open for discovery and great adventures. As always good digging, Bill

Crabbing as of 05/09:

ODFW Crab Management ?

We applaud ODFW’s ongoing crab study in some of Oregon’s bays but can we depend on ODFW for guidance when handling crabs and returning crabs to the water.

Currently other than recommending that crabbers retain softshell crabs the ODFW does not have recreational management guidelines in place for handing of crabs.

ODFW omits any discussion of the importance of the crab’s nervous system, the Thoracic Ganglion, when handling of releasing crabs. The thoracic ganglion is located underneath the crab near the tip of the abdominal flap. The thoracic ganglion is easily damaged when the crabs are handled roughly or thrown or dropped into the water from docks or boats. The solution is to return all unwanted crabs to the water gently.       

Statements attributable to ODFW staff encourage crabbers to retain legal sized soft shell male crabs because the crabs are going to die anyway. Some studies suggest that 45 percent mortality rate of softshell crabs occur as compared to hard shell crabs. Each year crabbers handle tens of thousands of soft shell crab. Where does that leave ODFW's crab management philosophy and practices? There are more questions than answers when it comes to the mortality of Dungeness crabs as applied to current harvest practices. There is no reason why ODFW cannot recommend the proper handling methods to safely return unwanted crabs to the water. Even though the limit of crabs is 12, keep only enough crabs for your immediate needs.

Currently 05/04, Crabbing productivity in all of Oregon’s Bays should improve with the dry spring weather.

Crabbing in Coos Bay and Netarts Bay is usually fairly good in winter and early spring but crabbing productivity continues to be slow in those bays. To date, the most productive crabbing has been in Coos Bay which saw some upward movement over ten days or so but crabbing remains hit and miss on a day to day basis. Crabbing from Webers Dock at Bandon is improving and limits of crabs are being taken in the bay at Bandon. Crabbing in Winchester Bay should improve as the river level falls but to quote Pete Heley, “crabbing is terrible.” Crabbing on the north coast at Siletz Bay see boat crabbers taking fair number of crabs intermittently. Crabbing in Nehalem Bay had improved but once again productivity has fallen off. My friends went crabbing from the north shore of Siletz Bay yesterday afternoon at low tide and caught 5 nice hard crab 3 hours into the incoming tide at sunset. Crabbing in Tillamook is beginning to improve with upward movement of the catch rate for those crabbing from boats.

The commercial crabbing while not as productive as in past seasons on the central and north coast is having a negative impact on the number of crabs entering Oregon’s Bay. Recreational crabbers are going to have to work harder than last year to take limits of crabs.

The most productive crabbing usually occurs in the lower portion of the saltwater dominated bays, Coos Bay and Netarts Bay. Crabbers in Oregon’s Bays have to deal with the high river flows common during the rainy season usually from November through April. Crabbing in the smaller estuaries is over until next spring or early summer unless we have an extended period of dry weather.

A check of the Northwest River Forecast shows river levels for all of Oregon's rivers have fallen to levels typical for the end of spring. Will the dry weather trend continue? Take advantage of the dry weather crabbing before the crabs begin to breed in late April and May.

The smaller estuaries the Chetco, Rogue, Salmon, and Necanicum are the first to be affected by seasonal flooding followed by the larger estuaries Coquille, Siuslaw, Alsea, Siletz, Nestucca, Nehalem, Yaquina, Tillamook, Coos, Netarts and the Lower Columbia River Estuary. Conversely when river levels drop crabbing improves first in Sand Lake, Netarts and Coos Bays before improving in Oregon's other estuaries.

The smaller estuaries the Chetco, Rogue, Salmon, and Necanicum are the first to be affected by seasonal flooding followed by the larger estuaries Coquille, Siuslaw, Alsea, Siletz, Nestucca, Nehalem, Yaquina, Tillamook, Coos, Netarts and the Lower Columbia River Estuary. Conversely when river levels drop crabbing improves first in Sand Lake, Netarts and Coos Bays before improving in Oregon's other estuaries.

Columbia River Estuary: and scroll down the pages to view your area of interest: crabbing or fishing. The information on digging razor clams on Clatsop spit beaches is posted under Razor Clams.

Necanicum River Estuary like the Salmon River Estuary is dominated by freshwater and crabbing productivity is limited to periods of extended clear weather. Digging razor clams at Seaside is the focus of recreational activity at the Necanicum River at Seaside.

Cannon Beach: We need to hear from the diggers at Cannon Beach

Nehalem Bay is one of Oregon's premier crabbing bays. The crabs enter Nehalem Bay along the channel that runs along the south side of the jetty channel.

Tillamook Bay is Oregon's second largest bay and recreationally friendly. Crabbing, fishing and digging clams is very good in Tillamook Bay as shown the following video clip of 2 crabbers clean 4 limits of crabs at the Barview County Park. Avoid boating in the lower bay and jetty channel during the outgoing tide. Disabled boats are easily swept into the waves generated at the bar.

Netarts Bay is noted more for the excellent crabbing and clam digging than for fishing.  It is dangerous to attempt to cross the bar at Netarts Bay at anytime. Use caution when boating in the lower bay.  The high velocity of the outgoing tide can pull a small boat across the bar into the surf........

Sand Lake is a multifunctional use area for off road vehicle use, hiking, fishing, crabbing and clam digging.

Nestucca River Estuary: Salmon fishing for Chinook salmon is the focus on the Nestucca River Estuary. Economical R/V and tent space accommodations in the Three Capes Scenic Loop are extremely limited for the average fishermen. There are low cost alternatives to the high priced RV parks in Woods and Pacific City for R/V ers and tent campers. The Webb County RV Park is located just north of Kiwanda R/V Park and the Woods Campground and County Park is another low cost option for campers located nearby in Woods.

Salmon River Estuary is unique. Visitors are surrounded by the incredible beauty of the flora and fauna every member of the family will embrace.

Siletz Bay: Salmon fishing for Chinook salmon and excellent crabbing and digging purple varnish clam is the attractions at Siletz Bay.

Depoe Bay Fishing and crabbing are the attractions here.

Yaquina Bay Crabbing, Digging Clams and Fishing are the attractions here.

Alsea Bay Crabbing, Salmon Fishing and Digging Clams are the attractions here. The Grim Reaper claimed another boater in the lower bay earlier this November foolish enough to get caught in the lower bay at the wrong time. His body washed out to sea and was never recovered.

Siuslaw River Estuary Crabbing, Digging Clams and Fishing are the attractions here.

Winchester Bay on the Umpqua River: The Crab Watch Report for the Umpqua River is provided by the outdoor reporter and writer, Pete Heley at the Stockade Market.

Coos Bay - Oregon's premier crabbing, clam digging and fishing bay.

Coquille Bay at the Port of Bandon

Port Orford, Rocky Point and Other Small Estuaries

Chetco Bay at Brookings

Rogue River Estuary at Gold Beach

A check of the Northwest River Forecast shows river levels for all of Oregon's rivers have returned to average levels. Look for river levels to rise with the return to seasonal rainfall beginning in late Fall into the Winter months. The smaller estuaries the Chetco, Rogue, Salmon, and Necanicum are the first to be affected by seasonal flooding followed by the larger estuaries Coquille, Siuslaw, Alsea, Siletz, Nestucca, Nehalem, Yaquina, Tillamook, Coos, Netarts and the Lower Columbia River Estuary. Conversely when river levels drop crabbing improves first in Sand Lake, Netarts and Coos Bays before improving in Oregon's other estuaries.

Click on Chetco River to display the height of the river level for the Chetco River near Brookings.

Click on the Illinois River level near Kerby.

Click on the Rogue River levels. to view the river levels at Agate Dam, Grants Pass, at Raygold, Below Prospect, Lost Creek Dam, Near Agnes, Near Eagle Point, Near Mcleod, Near Prospect, Rogue River Valley Canal.

Click on Rogue River to display the height of the river level for the Rogue River at Agnes

Click on Coquille at Coquille to display the height of the river level for the Coquille River at Coquille

Click on Coquille at Myrtle Point to display the height of the river level for the Coquille River at Myrtle Point

Click on Siuslaw to display the height of the river level for the Siuslaw River near Mapleton.

Click on North Umpqua River at the Winchester Dam to display the height of the river level at the Winchester Dam.

Click on Umpqua River near Elkton to display the height of the river level for the Umpqua River near Elkton

Click on Umpqua River at Reedsport to display the height of the river level for the Umpqua River at Reedsport

Click on Alsea River at Lobster Creek to display the height of the river level for the Alsea River at Lobster Creek

Click on Alsea River at Tidewater to display the height of the river level for the Alsea River – At Tidewater

Click on Siletz to display the height of the river level for the Siletz River at Siletz

Click on Nestucca to display the height of the river level for the Nestucca River near Beaver

Click on Wilson for Tillamook to display the height of the river level for the Wilson River at Sollie Smith Bridge

Click on Trask for Tillamook to display the height of the river level for the Trash River above Cedar Creek near Tillamook

Click on Nehalem to display the height of the river level for the Nehalem River near Foss

Click on the Northwest River Levels to view the height of the river level for the Columbia River.

Click on FISHING INFORMATION to view all the fish species of interest to recreational fishermen found in Oregon's coastal waters.

Saltwater News Bulletins

You can subscribe to receive e-mails and text message alerts for marine topics that you are interested in. to sign up go to http://dfw.state.or.us/MRP/bulletins/index.asp  and enter your phone for text alerts and e-mail information to subscribe to email updates. It’s easy to unsubscribe at any time. Your phone and e-mail information will remain confidential. Five different lists of interest to ocean enthusiasts are available: Bottomfish (recreational), Halibut (recreational), Ocean Salmon (recreational), Ocean Salmon (commercial troll) and Marine Reserves.

Marine Reserves

Prohibitions at Oregon’s marine reserves at Redfish Rocks and Otter Rock are in effect as of Jan. 1. Fishing, crabbing, clamming, hunting and gathering seaweed are all prohibited. Beach walking, surfing, bird watching, diving and other non-extractive uses continue to be allowed. See complete details and a map of the boundaries of the reserves:

Our Response to Marine reserves: Let's see if we have it right. Umm, More Marine Reserves to protect essential marine habitat from encroachment for consumption. We are opposed the development of additional marine reserves because they prohibit the utilization of a renewable resource, marine species, for consumption.

We love protecting essential marine habitat. As I recall we opposed NOAA’s plan to pound pilings into areas of Yaquina Bay with essential marine habitat and we opposed the natural gas docking facility in Coos Bay, again in an area of essential marine habitat. So where does that leave our support for development of the wave buoy energy program in areas of the ocean with soft bottoms? We oppose it for the same reasons proponents of Marine Reserves support them and the development of the Wave Energy Program. Bill

ODFW Reports on 05/08

On 5/08 ODFW reported below PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish, salmon, Dungeness crab, surfperch

The recreational Dungeness crabbing is open in the ocean.

Fishing for bottom fish including rockfish, and lingcod is now closed outside of the 30 fathom curve until Sept. 30. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish and a separate daily limit for lingcod (two). Retention of cabezon is not allowed until July 1 due to a small harvest cap. Fishing for ling cod has been very good for anglers when the ocean has been calm. Anglers are also having good success catching limits of black rockfish in the Coos Bay/Bandon area.

Recreational Chinook salmon fishing is open in the ocean from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. from March 15 through April 30. All Chinook caught in the ocean must be 24 inches or longer. A few Chinook salmon were caught in the Coos Bay area last week.

Anglers are reporting that surfperch fishing is slow to decent depending on what beach you are fishing. Sand shrimp or sand worms are always great baits to use for surf perch fishing. Surfperch fishing usually picks up in April and May.

BOTTOM FISHING

Starting April 1, bottom fishing is closed offshore of the 30-fathom line defined by latitude and longitude. Fishing for bottom fish continued to be good when weather and ocean conditions allowed fishers out on the ocean. Most anglers returned with limits of rockfish and lingcod.

Several bottomfishers caught legal-sized Chinook on shrimp flies. If a Chinook takes your bait while bottomfishing you can keep it – so long as you have a salmon tag and the fish is more than 25 inches. (Be sure all the anglers aboard after the salmon is boated bend over the barbs their hooks.)

Cabezon retention is prohibited by all anglers until July 1. Retention of cabezon is allowed July 1 through Sept. 30. Under the federal cabezon quota, there is only enough cabezon to be open for two to three months during the busy summer period. When ODFW asked for public input in the fall, many people said they preferred a later season (July-September) over an earlier season. The daily bag and size limits remain the same (one-fish sublimit, 16-inch minimum length).

Sport fishing for groundfish is open at all depths through March 30. On April 1, fishing for groundfish is closed outside of the 30-fathom curve defined by latitude and longitude.

The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish (of which no more than one may be a cabezon during the cabezon season). There are separate daily limits for lingcod (two) and flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25).
Remember: yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish may not be retained.

The Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area, approximately 15 miles west of Newport, is closed to the harvest of rockfish, lingcod, flatfish and other species in the groundfish group.

OCEAN SALMON

Fisheries samplers reported some limits of Chinook in Newport and Depoe. Fishing for Chinook salmon from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain is open from March 15 through April 30. All retained Chinook salmon must be 24 inches or larger.

Anglers fishing in ocean waters adjacent to Tillamook Bay between Twin Rocks and Pyramid Rock and within the 15 fathom depth contour are reminded that only adipose fin clipped Chinook salmon may be retained or on board while fishing.

Seasons from May 1 through April 30, 2014 are currently being developed. Season alternatives will be reviewed and a final season recommendation made at the Pacific Fishery Management Council public meeting in Portland, Oregon by April 11.

PACIFIC HALIBUT

Staff Recommended 2013 Pacific Halibut Sport Regulations
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will make the final decision on the 2013 halibut regulations, including open dates, at their meeting on April 26.

Leadbetter Point, Wash., to Cape Falcon
Spring All-Depth Season: Open May 3, three days per week, Friday-Sunday, through 9,516 pounds or the start of the summer season on Aug. 2.

Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain
Nearshore Season (Quota = 23,038 pounds)
Open May 2, three days per week (Thursday-Saturday), inside the 40-fathom line (defined by waypoints) through the earlier of 23,038 pounds or Oct. 31.

Spring All-Depth Season: Open May 9-11, May 16-18, May 30-June 1, and June 6-8. Backup days are June 20-22, July 4-6, and July 18-20.
South of Humbug Mountain
Open May 1, seven days per week, through Oct. 31.
The International Pacific Halibut Commission set the annual allowable catch for the West Coast at the same level as last year.For the most up-to-date information visit: dfw.state.or.us/mrp/finfish/halibut/index.asp


We cannot depend on ODFW for guidance when to take soft shelled crabs. The Cheek Test is one of several methods to identify recently molted crabs. Pick up the crab from the back and turn it upside down. Isolate the walking legs with the right hand. Carefully push the "elbow" of the claw towards the mouth of the crab exposing the shell that is usually covered by the folded claw. “Gently” squeeze the cheek with your thumb and middle finger. If the shell flexes release the pressure and return the crab to the water. The recommended method is to Squeeze the the large center section of the first walking leg to determine if the crabs are hard. If the center section of the first walking leg is hard but the abdominal flap flexes when squeezed, the crab is full enough to take. With experience comes the knowledge when to keep crabs with soft shell or return them to the bay. Even though the limit of crabs is 12, keep only enough crabs for your immediate needs.

Fish Harvest Information

The fishing harvest information posted for each bay was compiled from the Recreational Fisheries Information Network a project of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and ODFW harvest tag records. The information posted for each bay and each fish species suggest fishing methods and discloses the migration patterns and run timings recorded over a period of decades.

Boating Safety

Click HERE and scroll down to Boating in Oregon's Coastal Waters and click on your bay of interest to view the boating hazards associated with boating in Oregon's Bays.

Return to Oregon's Razor Clams Return to Oregon's Clams Return to Oregon's Crabs. Return to Oregon Coastal Rockfish. Return to Crab Max. Return to Crabbing 101.

Click HERE to link to ODFW Weekly Recreation Report for the Southwest Zone and HERE to link to the report for the Northwest Zone or HERE for the Marine Zone. For more information about the life cycle of Dungeness Crabs click HERE.