Coos Bay and Surrounding Area
232.3 North Bay Viewpoint is located on the west side of Highway101. The viewpoint is the access point to the tidal flats associated with the slough of North Coos Bay and a good location from which to view wildlife. Softshell clams are dug along the shore.
232.8 The Trans Pacific Parkwayprovides access to Horsfall Beach, North Beach and the west shore of Coos Bay. Turn west from Highway 101 drive toward the far shore and park at the turnout at the far side of the small bridge. Fishing the incoming tide for perch and striped bass is good. The tidal flats are a favorite location to pump for mud or sand shrimp.
232.8 Horsfall Beach is located above North Beach. Access is gained by turning west from Highway 101 onto the Trans Pacific Parkway and right on Horsfall Beach Road. The beach has full service camping facilities and equestrians are welcome. Horsfall Beach is the surf fishing hot spot for Coos County for redtail surfperch and an occasional white seaperch. Fishing for striped bass is good to excellent.
232.8 North Beach located just north of the entrance to Coos Bay is listed by ODFW as a location to dig for razor clams. North Beach is administered by the BLM. North Beach is accessible by off road vehicles via the jeep trail from the Trans Pacific Parkway. Driving on the wet dry sand areas of the beach is allowed from September 16th through March 14th and restricted to the wet sand area from March 15th through September 15th. Check with the BLM office to confirm the areas open to vehicles. The regulations for driving on the sandy dunes and on the beach for the BLM differ from those of the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area, so be prepared to fulfill the requirements for both agencies. The fishing is excellent for redtail surfperch and striped bass.
234.0 Coos Bay
Oregon's largest bay is a saltwater dominated bay because the bay receives comparatively little freshwater water from the rivers flowing into it. The Conde McCullough Bridge is the dividing line between West Coos Bay and East Coos Bay. The Conde McCullough Bridge was named in honor of the engineer who was a leading innovator in early bridge design of Oregon's coastal bridges. The Estuary Reserve at South Slough in Coos Bay is an attraction that will provide visitors with insight to the functional values associated with estuaries. A large percentage of all marine species depend on the ecological productivity of estuaries for their survival. Information compiled from scientific studies at the South Slough Estuary Reserve should be used to restore the functional values to Oregon's other bays and estuaries.
The bar at the entrance to Coos Bay is usually safe to cross but the boater should be prepared to deal with fog and the waves generated by the prevailing afternoon winds. The last 300 yards of the north jetty is submerged as is the last 100 yards of the south jetty. The submerged jetties are subject to breakers most of the time. A submerged jetty extends 500 yards off the east shore of West Coos Bay 0.8 of a mile NE of Coos Head. The jetty extends in a SW direction from the east shore at a location from just above Fossil Point towards Coos Head. A light with a seasonal fog signal marks the north jetty. A lighted whistle buoy is 1.8 miles WNW of the entrance.
The following underlined areas describe some of the dangerous tidal conditions affecting safe boating when entering or departing Coos Bay as listed at www.boatoregon.com and click on Publications/Library and Forms. Scroll down to Boating in Oregon's Coastal Waters and click on your bay of interest to familiarize yourself with the conditions at the bar.
Sand spit, South Slough. As you leave the Charleston Boat Basin, the South Slough sand spit is on your left. It extends north, parallel to the channel from South Slough buoy #4, approximately 450 yards toward South Slough light #2. Presently, nun buoy #2T marks the north end of the sand spit. Do not cross this area.
Submerged jetty. When you proceed out from the Charleston Boat Basin in the South Slough channel, and are directly between South Slough light #4 and can buoy #5, directly ahead will be South Slough light #1, marking the end of the submerged jetty. This jetty is visible only at low water. When departing the Charleston Boat Basin, stay to the left of light #1 at all times.
Sand spit, north beach. This area is dangerous because of shoal waters and submerged jetties. Occasionally on a strong ebb there will be breakers in this area. Avoid this area because of the possibility of going aground or striking submerged jetties and pilings. Note, too, that inbound and outbound tugs with tows, freighters, and so forth, pass close aboard this area and cannot stop for obstructions in the channelincluding small vessels.
South jetty, Guano Rock area. This is a very dangerous area because of shoals that extend out from the south jetty to the entrance channel. Breakers are frequently experienced from Guano Rock lighted whistle buoy #4 extending out to just past the end of the south jetty. Exercise care in this area at all times, especially on ebb tides.
North jetty, submerged. The north jetty extends approximately 200 yards to the west. The outward end of the jetty is submerged from the visible end of the jetty out toward buoy #3. Never cross this area. There are breakers in this area most of the time. When departing the bar northbound, be sure to pass buoy #3 before turning to the north.
Area north of buoy #5. This area can be very dangerous when there are any large swells on the bar or during ebb tide. Freak breakers are common in this area. Many boats do transit this area on occasion, but it is strongly recommended that you never cross here.
Rough Bar Advisory Sign is positioned eight feet above the water on jetty just north of the Charleston Boat Basin. This is a two-part sign, facing toward the Charleston Boat Basin and toward South Slough light #2. The Charleston Coast Guard station records weather and bar conditions; you may obtain this information by phoning (541) 888-3102 or (541) 888-3267 before boating in Coos Bay.
Good fishing for salmon extends over a wide area outside of Coos Bay and the area with the hot bite varies throughout the season as the salmon migrate offshore. Fishing for rockfish is excellent from Baltimore Rock to Gregory Point southward through the rocky structure associated with Sunset Bay and from Rocky Point to Simpson Reef. Fishing is excellent for Rockfish and Chinook salmon along Whiskey Run Reef located southwest of Cape Arago. Feeder salmon enter lower Coos Bay during the summer usually in July feeding from Charleston to Fossil Point north to Jordan Cove.
Chinook salmon return to Coos Bay about the first week of September peaking in early October and run through October. The most productive fishing occurs early in the run by trolling a plug cut herring with the incoming tide from the jetty jaws to the Empire Boat ramp.
Troll a plug cut herring, spinner or spinner bait combinations with the incoming tide through high slack tide in the deepwater channel from the Empire Boat ramp to the Conde McCullough Bridge. Back troll or back bounce with the outgoing tide mini mooching or trolling a plug cut herring, a bait wrapped Flatfish lure or a spinner bait combination seaward from the Empire Boat ramp or the Conde McCullough Bridge.
The most productive fishing in east bay occurs in the Marshfield Channel trolling a plug cut herring, spinners, spinner bait combinations or bait wrapped Flatfish lures with the incoming or outgoing tide with from the mouth of Isthmus Slough upriver to the Chandler Bridge. Local fishermen concentrate fishing from the mouth of Catching Slough upriver to the Chandler Bridge.
Fish the 4.80 mile tidal reach of the Coos River from the confluence of the Millicoma and the South Fork of the Coos Rivers to the Chandler Bridge trolling with the incoming tide through high slack tide or back trolling or back bouncing with the outgoing tide using a plug cut herring, bait wrapped Flatfish lures, spinners or spinner bait combinations. Drift with the tidal current back bouncing a walnut sized gob of salmon eggs and sand shrimp combination or drift with the tidal current using a free sliding bobber to fish a walnut sized gob of salmon eggs and sand shrimp suspended just off of the bottom. Anchor above the up current side of the deeper holes during the outgoing tide and fish on the bottom with bait wrapped Flatfish lures; bait sweetened SpinNGlos, wobblers or a walnut sized gob of salmon eggs and sand shrimp combination.
Fish in the approximately 9.71 mile tidal reach of the Millicoma River to the community of Allegheny or the South Fork of the Coos River to the community of Dellwood. Drift with the tidal current using a bobber rig baited with sand shrimp and/or salmon eggs. Anchor up current from the deeper holes and fish on the bottom salmon eggs topped with sand shrimp, bait sweetened SpinNGlos or an assortment of wobblers. Troll with bait wrapped Flatfish lures, rainbow colored spinners or spinner bait combinations.
Coho salmon return in September peaking in late September and running through October into November. Troll plug cut herring, hoochies or streamer flies behind a wire spreader or diver in the upper half of the water column with the incoming tide from the jetty jaws to the Jordan Cove. ODFW sponsors a terminal fishery for fin clipped coho salmon returning to Isthmus Slough. Trolling a plug cut herring or pink, chartreuse or rainbow colored spinners with green accents are productive options.
Striped bass enter Coos Bay from the middle of March before spawning upriver in June. The larger mature striped bass enter the bay followed by schools of smaller striped bass feeding heavily on spawning herring. The larger striped bass move upriver to the tidal portion of the Millicoma River and the South Fork of the Coos River, but fishing is only allowed in the Coos River. The most productive fishing occurs in the Coos River drifting with the tidal current back bouncing a plug cut herring, strip bait cut from shad or by casting broken back rainbow colored Rapala type lures into schools of striped bass. After spawning in June the stripers move down river into the bay feeding heavily before returning to the ocean in the middle of September.
The twilight of evening on a high incoming tide is the best time of day and tide to fish for striped bass in the estuaries. The best fishing in the bay occurs from late March to May and from late July to the middle of September. Fish for stripers as they migrate up into West Coos Bay from the South Slough up the bay into North Slough, Pony Slough and into the Haynes and Kentuck Inlets of East Coos Bay. Most anglers concentrate their efforts at the entrance to or in the shallow water of the Haynes and Kentuck Inlets of EastCoos Bay and in Isthmus Slough as the stripers migrate up river to spawn.
Black rockfish, blue rockfish, copper rockfish are yearround residents of the lower bay. Brown rockfish are occasionally caught in the jetty channel. The most productive fishing for black, blue and copper rockfish occurs after sunset in the jetty channel along the north and south jetties and in the small kelp beds along the shore at Coos Head during the incoming tide. Fish along the east shore from Barview to Sitka Dock and over the submerged jetty at Fossil Point. Bass are also caught among pier structure associated with the Ports of Charleston and Empire and at the base of the Southern Pacific Rail Road trestle located west of the Highway 101 bridge and along the riprap of the North Bend Airport.
Striped seaperch, Pileperch, white seaperch, walleye surfperch, redtail surfperch and silver surfperch enter the bay in the spring during April with the greatest number occurring during the summer months of June and July. Schools of perch move onto the tidal flats feeding heavily on intertidal animals upstream from the entrance to the bay into the South Slough up through West Coos Bay and into East Coos Bay. The fishing ranges from fair to excellent through fall depending on the tides and the weather conditions. Striped seaperch are most commonly caught perch caught followed by pileperch, white seaperch, walleye surfperch, retail surfperch and silver surfperch. Coos Bay offers the most productive fishing for pileperch and white seaperch for any of Oregon's bays. Fish along the channels that drain the tidal flats associated with South Slough, West Coos Bay up through the Jordan Cove and along the riprap associated the North Bend Airport.
The area around Buoy 12 is a local perch hotspot. Fish among the structure associated with docks of the Port of Charleston, the Empire Boat Basin, North Bend and the Port of Coos Bay. Fishing can be excellent in the channel that drains the tidal flats of North Slough, Pony Point Slough. Fish around the railroad trestle at Pony Point and in the deepwater channel off Russell Point that drains the tidal flats associated with Haynes and Kentucky Inlets. Fish along the deepwater channel that drains the tidal flats of North Point and among the pilings under the docks associated with North Bend and Coos Bay.
Kelp greenling, rock greenling and whitespotted greenling enter the bay with the tide throughout the year. The overall catch rate for greenling rates 3rd behind Yaquina and Tillamook Bays. The best fishing occurs in the lower bay from May through August along the submerged structure of the jetties, among the pier structure associated with the Port of Charleston and up the bay past Pigeon Point. The best fishing occurs on the eastside of west Coos Bay but declining numbers further up the bay to Menasha Dike (Transpacific Parkway).
Lingcod fishing is the best from January through April with February and March being the most productive. Fishing during the spawning period is excellent along either ocean side or the bayside of the north or south jetties and inside the bay to the Charleston Bridge.
Cabezon are found all year among the jetty rocks, especially the submerged sections of the north and south jetties. Cabezon move into shallow water during March to spawn. The spawning period is the best time to fish for cabezon. Fishing is slow the rest of the year.
Pacific herring enter the bay to spawn in February, March and into April.
White sturgeon enter Coos Bay from January through July but the best fishing occurs in February declines in March and picks up from April through July before declining in August. The sturgeon fishery of Coos Bay ranks 4th overall when compared to the sturgeon fishery of Oregon ’s other bays. Mud and/or sand shrimp are the most productive bait followed by herring and shad. Shad are most productive bait during their annual spawning run. Fish for shad and use them as bait in Coos and Millicoma Rivers during their annual spawning run from May into June. Fish for sturgeon during the outgoing tide in the deeper holes associated with the channel that drains the North Slough from the Transpacific Parkway Bridge to the railroad trestle bridge. The most productive fishing in the East Bay is associated with the Dolphins just upstream from the Conde McCullough Bridge and in the deeper holes near the Mill Casino upstream to the Allegany Bridge. Fish at the confluence of and in the in the deeper holes associated with the Coos, Millicoma and South Fork of the Coos Rivers.
Sand Sole enter the bay in small numbers from April through August.
Clam Digging in Coos Bay offers the most productive clam digging found in any of Oregon's Bays. Scroll down for additional information.
Public Fishing Pier are located in the community of Empire at the Empire boat ramp and at the B/C and the D/E docks in the Charleston Boat Basin or from the "T" docks accessed from Troller ST. next to Englund Marine. Crabbing and fishing from the pier is fair at best on an incoming high tide.
Coos Bay Jetties The north jetty is accessible from the Trans Pacific Parkway via Horsfall Beach by 4wheel drive vehicle. The south jetty is accessible from the Coos Head road. The fishing for bass, sea trout, cabezon, lingcod and salmon from both jetties is excellent. Fish for bass on an incoming tide from the south jetty after sunset, but be do so with extreme caution the south jetty is subject to large breaking waves especially near Coos Head. As always the angler should avoid the jetties during periods of heavy swells, and should never venture onto the jetty alone. Only fish from the jetty when there a no swells and the ocean is calm.
Bank Fishing in Coos Bay: Fish for bass, sea trout, cabezon, lingcod and salmon from the south jetty at Coos Head or from the north jetty. Fish for perch, sturgeon and striped bass from the west side of the bridge on the Trans Pacific Parkway. Fish for salmon at the mouth of Daniels Creek, Isthmus Slough, and at the Boardwalk in downtown Coos Bay. Casting spinners or drifting bait under a bobber have been the most productive ways to catch salmon. Fish for sturgeon from the bank of the Coos River and Millicoma River. Park at the turnouts along the River Road paralleling the lower tidal reach of the Coos and Millicoma Rivers. Fish for sturgeon on the South Fork of the Coos River in the hole just upstream from the Myrtle Tree County Boat Launch or downstream off of Landrith Road.
Coos Bay boat launches in West Coos Bay on the south shore are located at the Charleston Boat Basin in Charleston, in the community of Empire and at Pony Point located in North Bend. The BLM operates a boat launch on the east shore of West Coos Bay that is accessed via the Trans Pacific Parkway but is closed at times because of sedimentation. Launch at or the Port of Charleston, Empire Boat Launch or the BLM operated boat launch to access lower Coos Bay or the ocean. Launch at Pony Point Slough (Now Closed) to access North Coos Bay. The North shore boat launch Conde McCullough is located in the community of Glasgow via the North Bay Drive.
The California Street boat launch in North Bend and the Coos Bay City Dock are used to access East Coos Bay. The California Street Boat Launch is accessed by turning east onto California Street from Hwy 101. The Coos Bay City Dock is located adjacent to the Boardwalk and Harbor Tug display at the Port of Coos Bay off of Hwy 101.
To access Isthmus Slough Launch at the Coos Bay City Dock or at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife boat launch in the community of Hayden on Isthmus Slough. To access the upper tidal reach of the Coos River launch at Doris Place boat ramp located at milepost 7.2 on the Coos River Hwy.
To access Millicoma River, launch at the Rooke Higgins County Park and Boat Launch located at milepost 10.0 on the Coos River Hwy. To access the South Fork of the Coos River take the Dellwood turnoff from the Coos River Hwy to the Myrtle Tree County Boat Launch.
235.4 North Bend junction of Highway 101 and the coast route to Charleston and the ocean beaches associated with the Cape Arago Highway and the Seven Devils Road. From North Bend, Highway 101 parallels the west shore of East Coos Bay through the City of Coos Bay rejoining the coast route at the junction of the Seven Devils Road north of Bandon.
The route to the ocean beaches continues along the east shore of West Coos Bay through the communities of North Bend, Empire and Charleston to the junction of the Seven Devils Road. The Cape Arago Highway ends 14.0 miles at Cape Arago. The route along the ocean beach continues along the Seven Devils Road .
1.0 Cape Arago Highwayis the access route to Pony Point and West Coos Bay through the communities of North Bend, Coos Bay, Empire, Charleston and the northern junction to Seven devils and Cape Arago.
5.5 to 6.2 Cape Arago Highwayis the location of access to the tidal flats associated with Coos Bay. Dig for clams in this section of the bay or pump for mud or sand shrimp. The lower bay offers excellent clam digging for gaper clams, cockles, butter clams and littleneck clams. Look for the large yellow beach access signs. Parking is extremely limited. The competition is keen for the few convenient parking places during clam tides.
6.7 Cape Arago Highway is another location for access to the tidal flats associated with Coos Bay. Dig for clams in this section of the bay or pump for mud or sand shrimp.
8.0 Port of Charleston is home to the Charleston Marina and R/V Complex and restaurants that serve excellent seafood. Dig for clams in this section of the bay or pump for mud or sand shrimp. Launch your boat and fish and crab in the bay or fish on the inshore reefs just outside the bar.
8.5 Seven Devils northern junction south is the access route to the beaches south of Cape Arago and to the South Slough Estuary Reserve at Coos Bay. The Seven Devils are named after seven hairpin turns that have been the cause of numerous automobile accidents. Travel on Seven Devils Road north of the Seven Devils Wayside is not recommended for RV’s and travel trailers because the road is narrow, windy and not paved. Visitors driving RV’s and pulling travel trailers should detour around the gravel road portion of Seven Devils Road via the West Beaver Hill Road to the East Humphrey Road and rejoining the Seven Devils Road to access Whiskey Run Beach, Merchants Beach, Sacchi Beach and Agate Beach. Public access to Sacchi Beach and Agate Beach is restricted by private property.
9.0 Coos Head is the location of the south jetty of Coos Bay. The south jetty at Coos Head can also be accessed through Bastendorff Beach. Fish for bass, sea trout, cabezon, lingcod and salmon from the south jetty at Coos Head. Be careful when fishing on the south jetty as the south jetty is subject to large breaking waves especially near Coos Head.
10.3 Bastendorff Beach is located just south of the entrance to Coos Bay and north of Yoakum Point. Access is gained via the Cape Arago Highway and is listed by ODFW as a location to dig for razor clams. It is also an excellent location to fish for redtail surfperch and striped bass.
10.7 Yoakum Point is located between Bastendorff Beach and Lighthouse Beach. Public access is limited by private property. Visitors have to park along the Cape Arago Highway and walk in.
11.2 Gregory Point is the location of the Cape Arago lighthouse and was the location of the Cape Arago lifesaving station. Three lighthouses have been built on Gregory Point. The first was built in 1866, the last in 1934. The lifesaving station was part of the tragic drama of cowardice and courage displayed at its worst and its best by the rescuers connected to the sinking of the steam driven ship Tacoma that ran aground off Umpqua Bay during a howling winter storm in January of 1883. Access to Gregory Point and to the lighthouse is restricted through the Coast Guard Station. Visitors have to park on Cape Arago Highway and walk in. Refer to the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulation restricting the taking of shellfish or marine invertebrates within the Gregory Point Subtidal Research Reserve.
11.2 Lighthouse Beach is located between Gregory Point and Yoakum Point. Public access is limited by private property.
11.7 Sunset Bay is located west of Coos Bay on the Cape Arago Highway. The fishing from the rocky shore is renowned for its excellence. There is good to excellent fishing for all shallow water rockfish species, sea trout, lingcod, cabezon, striped seaperch and pileperch including an occasionally white seaperch. Refer to the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulation restricting the taking of shellfish or marine invertebrates within the Cape Arago Intertidal Research Reserve. The best fishing is from the point on the north side of the bay.
The point is accessible during an outgoing tide. Remember to keep an eye on the tide giving you plenty of time to leave the rocks before being trapped by the incoming tide. Use caution when fishing on the rocky shore at Sunset Bay or Cape Arago because the rocky shore is subject to the sudden onset of large breaking waves. The south shore of Sunset Bay is especially dangerous.
There is a small boat launch located at the far end of the parking lot that will accommodate small open boats. There are some anglers who fish in the ocean outside of Sunset Bay consistently, but do so only when the ocean is flat dead calm.
The Sunset Bay State Park is a full service park with several volley ball courts and a golf course. As shown in the above photo winter storms draw kayak enthusiast who practices their sport in the waves.
12.0 Cape Arago Highway is the location of the trailhead that leads to the rocky cove just south of Sunset Bay. There is excellent fishing for rockfish in the cove.
12.4 Shore Acres State Park is the former home of timber baron Louis Simpson who built two homes on the site. One of the homes burned and the other slid into the ocean leaving 7 acres of formal floral gardens. During the winter holidays the park is aglow with more than 200,000 lights to celebrate the season. The park offers winter visitors a surf and ocean spay show as storm driven waves smash into the shore in spectacular fashion. Shell Island offers a springtime visitor a view of the largest sea lion colony on the Oregon Coast. The sea lions arrive each spring to give birth to their pups. There is ample parking for all vehicles. The beach trail is located behind the garden. The fishing is good to excellent for the fish species common to the rocky shore: bass, perch, cabezon, sea trout and lingcod.
14.0 Cape Arago State Park consists of three coves located at the end of the Cape Arago Highway. There is ample parking for all vehicles. The trails to the rocky shore below the north cove, middle cove and south cove are located behind the parking area. The fishing is good to excellent for the fish species common to the rocky shore: bass, perch, cabezon, sea trout and lingcod. South cove is a sheltered cove located on the lee side of Cape Arago and offers boaters anchorage during the summer months.
238.1 Charleston junction to the ocean beaches on Highway 101 and Commercial Ave in the City of Coos Bay is the junction to Charleston and the ocean beaches associated with the Cape Arago Highway and the Seven Devils Road.
239.5 Coos River junction on Highway 101 in the City of Coos Bay is the junction to the Coos River, the South Fork of the Coos River, the Millicoma River and the community of Alleghany.
257.4 Seven Devils southern junction west from Highway 101 is the access route to the beaches south of Cape Arago and to the South Slough Estuary Reserve at Coos Bay. The route south continues on Highway 101 to Bullards Beach and the coastal community of Bandon on Coquille Bay.
Turn west from Highway 101 onto the Seven Devils Road and travel north to access Whiskey Run Beach, Merchants Beach, Sacchi Beach and Agate Beach and the South Slough Estuary Reserve at Coos Bay. The Seven Devils Road continues north and joins the Cape Arago Highway just west of the community of Charleston located on Coos Bay. The route along the east shore of West Coos Bay continues through the communities of Charleston and Empire to North Bend where it rejoins Highway 101.
Coos Bay Crabbing: Oregon's largest bay is a salt water dominated bay that holds crabs longer than any other of Oregon's Bays........Crabbing in the ocean opens on 12/01 each year. Crabbing in the ocean now is open from December 1st of the current year thru October 15 of the following year. Be sure to double check the opening and closing dates in the synopsis. Dungeness Crabs are common to areas of the ocean with a sandy bottom and in areas with extensive eel grass beds.
On 04/13 Mike from the Fisherman's Warf on the dock at the Charleston Marina reports Crabbing has been slow for Dungeness and red rock crabs with red rock crabs domiating the catch from the Charleston docks.
The crabbing has been more productive from the Charleston docks than the Empire docks. Red rock crabs still remain the main harvest from the Charleston docks. In Charleston the best crabbing docks have been the B/C and D/E docks in Charleston. The best baits for crabbing are fish, chicken or turkey legs. The best time to crab is three hours before high tide 1/2 hour after.
On 04/20 Joe from the Bites On located at 750 Newmark Ave in Empire or (541) 888-4015 reports: crabbing from boats has been slow from the Jetty channel to Empire for the last month but has picked up in the last several days............. When crabbing gets going in side the bay crabbing is hot all to from the jetty channel up above the Empire boat launch. Crabbing from the boat basin docks is good......... Joe made the point to remind crabbers to move to another location if crabbing is unproductive. Joe rents rings for 5.00 a day and sells crab bait for a 1.50 a pop.
Many of you in the Coos Bay area know Chuck Holloway. Chuck is an avid crabber and shares this photo of his crabbing friend showing a large crab they caught in lower Coos Bay. Thanks Chuck for sharing your crabbing adventure with us.
Coos Bay clam digging: Charleston is ground zero for launching your crabbing or clam digging adventures in Coos Bay. We suggest staying at the Charleston R/V Park or at one of the many motels in the area. Park host Susan Smith will do everything possible to make you stay in the area a pleasant one.Davey Jones Locker rents the equipment to dig clams and take crabs from the tidal flats and local crabbing docks. The also serve up hot deli food specializing in fresh fish and chips. Come up a little short on the crabbing docks? Chuck's Seafood can fill the gap with fresh cooked crab and fish fillets so fresh they are still wiggling. The also carry my favorites, steamer clams and pink shrimp. Don’t leave Chuck’s with trying a crab or shrimp cocktail or a fresh shucked oyster shooter.
Clam Digging: Coos Bay offers the most productive clam digging for all species of clams found in any of Oregon’s Bays. Click HERE to view a video clip of cockles being raked in South Slough. The harvest of empire/gaper clams has been good at the North Spit and Clam Island. North Beach on the North Spit is the southern boarder of the Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area and is located just north of the entrance to Coos Bay and below Horsfall Beach but is administered by the BLM.The best harvest areas for the average clam digger without 4 wheel drive trucks are from the Empire/Charleston tidal flats along Cape Arago Highway , and within Charleston , north and south of the Charleston Bridge . Butter, gaper, and cockle clams are abundant in these areas. Digging for razor clams in the Coos Bay area Spring 2010 has been mediocre. Early last Spring limits of razor clams came from Charleston Boat Basin Sand Spit, North Spit, Bastendorff, and to the northern section of the Seven Devils Wayside beaches. Hopefully digging conditions for razor clams will improve as ocean conditions lay down during sunny weather.
ODFW reports Clamming is excellent during low tides near Charleston, off Cape Arago Highway, and Clam Island. There will be another series of negative tides starting early in the morning on Saturday June 16. There are good places to dig clams even on positive low tides in Coos Bay.
Junkyard Jim Had a very productive weekend out on the mud flats. The lowest tide of the weekend was .7, but the clams are thick if you walk a half mile north of the parking area. Sunny and 70! Gapers stacked on top of gapers, and we had the whole place to ourselves! I tried Bill's trick of icing them down immediately after digging, and boy does that make a big difference in the ease of cleaning and the flavor! It was less than 2 hours from the mud to the pot, and the texture/flavor was exceptional! They looked so nice while I was cleaning them, I ate some of the adductor muscles raw. Very tasty sashimi. Although gapers are too much work for my 8 year old boy, he still loves to go out and find cockles and crabs. He also gets to bury my holes! We limited out on trout Sunday, fishing at Arizona pond. My son's first limit. A green wedding ring with half a crawler, retrieved slowly, seems to work on every cast. I hook 'em, and he lands them. Crabbing was slow at Charleston, with nets full of almost legal dungeness. Maybe next month will be better, but it's hard to beat clam guts as bait! Fossil Point is halfway between Charleston and Empire. Look for the Sanitation pump house, and park courteously, since the lot is small. Maybe I'll see you there next weekend.
Coos Bay and the surrounding beaches offer ample opportunity to dig for razor clams. Avid crabber Chuck Holloway dug his first limit of razor clams from the North Spit just inside the bay this past summer after taking limits of crabs in the ocean.
Internet links of interest for Coos Bay:
BAR CROSSING: Click HERE to see the navigation hazards for crossing the bar at Coos Bay.
Webcams: Click on the following link to the Coast Guard Jettycam real time views of the bar crossing of Oregon's Bays and follow the instructions.
Plan for future clamdigging and or crabbing adventures by clicking on the Entrance to the Coos Bay and scroll down the desired month for 2012 and 2013.
Click on 2013 to view the NOAA tidal projections for your area of interest.
TIDAL SURGE: Razor clam digging is often unproductive during periods of heavy tidal surge. I stay home if the offshore long ocean swells exceed 6.0 feet or when the combination of long ocean swells and wind waves exceed 8 feet in height. The height and interval of the long ocean swells is determining factor if I dig razor clams. If the long ocean swells are under 8 feet with 10 plus second intervals without much in the way of wind waves I go. If the long ocean swell are at 8 feet and building I stay home. The ODFW website recommends the height of 10 feet as the determining factor for digging razor clams. Safety is determining factor when digging razor clams or bay clams. There are guidelines diggers should follow when digging clams and raising the bar to 10 feet is not one of them.
Use the Stonewall Bank Buoy Reports in place of the out of service Port Orford buoy.
Use the Port Orfored buoy station 46015. to view the height of the long ocean swells.
National Buoy Data Center observation reports for buoys off the Oregon Coast.
We provide a link to Oregon Surf Check to view the height and interval of the long ocean swells.
Click HERE for the 10 day weather forecast at Coos Bay.
Click HERE for the latest marine forecast and small craft advisories from Florence to Cape Blanco.
Click HERE for an hourly weather, wind and surf conditions for the southern Oregon Coast.
Click on Northwest Rivers Forecast to view the height of the river level for the Coos River.
Always call the shellfish Hotline at (503) 986-4728 or 1-800-448-2474 toll free outside of Oregon before harvesting clams or mussels for messages listing the areas closed to harvesting shellfish due to high levels of marine toxins. The information displayed on the ODA Shellfish Hotline Website may not be up to date and cannot be trusted. For up to date information call the Shellfish Hotline before you dig at (503) 986-4728 or 1-800-448-2474.
Always Check Oregon's Beach Monitoring Program. The Oregon Public Health Division conducts several activities to protect people living, working and playing near Oregon's beaches, rivers, lakes and other waterbodies.
Oregon's Beach Monitoring Program helps protect people who play in the coastal waters. The program does regular water testing to look for high levels of bacteria and lets visitors know when there is a health concern.
The Harmful Algae Bloom Surveillance program advises the public when a harmful algae bloom has been detected in a lake or river. Not all blooms are harmful, but some species of algae, such as cyanobacteria or blue-green algae, can produce toxins that can cause serious illness in pets, livestock, wildlife and humans
Please see the Oregon fish consumption guidelines for more information abut the health benefits of fish and how to make healthy fish choices.
Area Attractions - Plus Places to Purchase Clam Digging, Crabbing and Fishing Equipment.
Coos Bay - North Bend
Operated by the Coquille Tribe - The MILL CASINO offers crabbers and clam diggers a change of pace entertainment. The Mill Casino overlooks the water of East Coos Bay and is located in North Bend between North Bend and Coos Bay on Hwy 101 - The gift shop is located in the hotel lobby and offers visitors unique Native American objects of art and craft that you will just love. For information call 1 800 953 4800.
Coos Bay - Empire: The Bite's On Tackle Shop at 750 Newmark Ave in the community of Empire is located just up the street from the Empire Boat Launch, Joe at the Bite's On Tackle Shop (541 888-4015) can supply all of your fishing tackle, crabbing and clam digging equipment needs.
Coos Bay - Charleston:
Englund Marine in Charleston is located at 5080 Cape Arago Hwy, Charleston, OR 97365. Phone 541-888-6623 for all of your fishing, crabbing and clamming digging equipment needs in the greater Coos Bay area.
Clamming Central Coos Bay is located at the RV Park at the Charleston Marina Complex. The RV Park is located at 63402 Kingfisher Rd right across the street from Charleston tidal flats the clam digging area. Call 541-888-9512. The RV Park is accessed by turning northwest onto Boat Basin Rd. from Cape Arago Hwy. and then right onto Kingfisher Rd. Park Host Susan Smith will do everything possible to make you stay a pleasant one.
The freshest seafood in the Charleston Basin area is available at Chuck's Seafood is located on the northwest corner of Boat Basin Road and Cape Arago Hwy. Chuck's Seafood is an industry leader and is highly respected for their service and the quality products they sell.
The Oregon Shorebird Festival: One of the longest running bird festivals in Oregon, will celebrate 27 years in 2013. Celebrate this years festival from August 24-25, 2013. The festival is headquartered at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in the small fishing community of Charleston, OR.
Basin Tackle is located on Kingfisher St. opposite of the crabbing docks B/C and D/E. Dan at Basin Tackle carries a complete line fishing, crabbing, clam digging equipment and crab bait consisting of: Mink carcass, chicken, Tuna, cockles, octopus and fish carcasses. And when it comes to crabbing the choice of bait can be the difference. Basin Tackle rents crab rings for 6.00 plus a 25.00 deposit and crab pots for 9.00 plus a 75.00 deposit. Dan manufactures 100 percent stainless crab pots and the best part is the sales price 165.00.
Shore Acres State Park: Since 1987 the annual Holiday Lights at Shore Acres has become a family tradition. The formal gardens are breath taking no matter what time of the year you visit the park but no dogs allowed. I suspect there may be razor clam in the areas of Cape Arago with sandy beaches.
The South Slough Reserve contains upland forests, freshwater wetlands and ponds, salt marshes, mud flats, eelgrass meadows and open water habitats. Major activities at the reserve include K-12 and adult education; ecological research and monitoring; and wetland restoration.
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