The Yaquina Bay bar is one of safer bars to cross in Oregon, but the small boater has to use caution when considering crossing the bar or fishing in the jetty channel. The waves generated by the wind and the current from a strong outgoing tide can swamp a small boat at the entrance to the jetty channel. During the winter the heavy west swell makes the bar at Yaquina Bay more dangerous to cross. There is a lighted whistle buoy located 1.5 miles SW of the entrance to Yaquina Bay. The following underlined areas describe some of the dangerous tidal conditions affecting safe boating when entering or departing Yaquina Bay or boating in the jetty channel as listed on the Web Page for Oregon State Marine Board 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.
South jetty. There are submerged rocks along the length of the jetty; do not hug the jetty on either side. Boaters should remain in the channel entering and leaving the river so that if their engines fail, they will have time to anchor before the current or wind sweeps them into the rocks.
North jetty. This jetty affords excellent protection from northerly winds. However, the same caution should be exercised in running close to it as with the south jetty. Be especially cautious of submerged rocks near the tip of the north jetty. On an ebb tide, stay well clear, up to the end of the north jetty, as there is danger of being swept into the breakers at the extreme end. Remain in the channel outbound until you pass buoy #1 at the south end of Yaquina reef. This applies to entering the river as well as leaving.
South reef. This reef can be considered an extension of Yaquina reef and is equally dangerous because it has the same surf conditions. When going south, continue out the channel to the lighted bell buoy #1 before turning south.
Yaquina reef. This reef is extremely dangerous, even when the winds are light and few breakers can be seen. A large swell coming from seaward can cause a tremendous breaker on this reef with little or no warning, even when the sea is otherwise calm. Never fish close to the reef and do not turn north between the end of the north jetty and buoy #1.
Rough Bar Advisory Sign is positioned on shore at the east end of Coast Guard pier.
Call the Coast Guard at 1-541-265-5511 for a report of local bar conditions and the extended marine forecast before crossing the bar.
The central Oregon Coast has the highest catch ratio of rockfish per angler on the Oregon Coast according to statistical catch information compiled by the National Marine Fishery Service. Yaquina Bay's proximity to productive fishing grounds and the large charter fishing fleet serving anglers out of Yaquina Bay and Depoe Bay is the reason for the high catch ratio.
The fishing for rockfish is excellent north along the Yaquina Reef and south along the South Reef all the way to Johnson Rock. Yaquina Reef runs northward from the north jetty paralleling the coast just off the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse towards Yaquina Head. The south reef is located approximately 1/4 of a mile southwest of the south jetty and extends south to Seal Rock. The California Current pushes ocean water southward along the Oregon Coast from late spring through late fall. The reverse occurs from late fall into late spring as the Davidson Current pushes ocean water north along the Oregon Coast. Tidal water flowing out Yaquina Bay carries forage fish in the direction of the ocean currents along either the Yaquina Reef or the South Reef. Fish the South Reef from late spring through late fall and the Yaquina Reef from late fall through late spring. Some of the best fishing for salmon, rockfish and flatfish is found along Stonewall Bank. Locally the Stonewall Bank is known as the Rock Pile. The Rock Pile is located 14 miles from Yaquina Bay and is a renowned location for excellent fishing for all fish species. Salmon arrive at the Rock Pile in fishable numbers early in July with the best fishing occurring after the first of August. The best fishing for lingcod (other than the spawning period) occurs from June through September at the north end of the Rock Pile and in an area north of the Rock Pile along the 50 fathom line. Fishing for lingcod is also productive along Johnson Rock located approximately 1½ miles offshore 5 miles south of Yaquina Bay. Fishing for coho salmon is excellent west of Yaquina Bay outside of the 30 fathom curve from late June to the middle of July. Some of the best early season fishing for Chinook salmon occurs on the Fingers located west of the Rock Pile or at Heceta Banks. The time and distance to it takes to travel to Heceta Banks is rewarded with some of the finest fishing for salmon and rockfish on the entire Oregon Coast.
Black rockfish are the dominate rockfish caught in Yaquina Bay followed by copper rockfish, blue rockfish and an occasional grass rockfish and brown rockfish. Rockfish enter Yaquina Bay early as March but usually from April through October withdrawing from the bay during periods of heavy seasonal freshwater runoff in winter and to deeper water during the daylight hours. The most productive fishing for black and copper rockfish occurs in the jetty channel from the Highway 101 Bridge seaward followed by fishing in the lower bay among the pilings associated with the fish plants and around the riprap on both ends of the seawall during an incoming tide after sunset or at the twilight of dawn. During the day the best fishing for blue rockfish occurs at sunrise on the ocean side of the north jetty during an incoming tide when the ocean is flat calm.. After sunset fish for black and blue rockfish in the seaward end of the jetty channel as they move into the jetty channel to feed. Fish for all five species of shallow water rockfish along the submerged structure of the north, south and finger jetties, among the pilings in front the Yaquina Bay Bridge.
The photograph of the black rockfish, the mixture of rock and kelp greenling and the rainbow surfperch where caught along the finger jetty rocks while crabbing in Yaquina Bay.
Striped seaperch, Pileperch, walleye surfperch, redtail surfperch and white seaperch enter the bay in spring. Striped seaperch and pileperch are the dominate perch species in the bay. Schools of perch move onto the tidal flats feeding heavily on intertidal animals feeding up the bay as far as the Toledo Airport. The fishing ranges from fair to excellent through fall depending on the tides and the weather conditions. Fish for perch along the submerged structure of the north, south and finger jetties associated with the entrance of the bay, among the pilings around the Yaquina Bay Bridge and underneath the docks throughout the bay. Fishing is productive along the riprap seawalls of the South Beach Marina or along the seawall associated with the Port of Newport. Fish at the entrance of the channels that drain the tidal flats behind the Marine Science Center. Click on Shinner Perch to view catch on South Beach Fishing Peir. The shinner perch in the video clip were on the menu for the two anglesr who caught them. Shinner perch are very small but tasty and full of bones. We recommend filleting them and removing the lateral line bones. Typically, anglers release shinner perch because of their small size.
Kelp greenling, rock greenling and whitespotted are yearround residents. The best fishing occurs late spring and fall. The fishery ranks second overall when compared to Tillamook Bay. Fish for greenling along the submerged structure of the north, south and finger jetties, in the small kelp bed along the north jetty, among the pilings in front the Yaquina Bay Bridge and underneath the docks throughout the bay.
Lingcod spawn along the finger jetties, the south jetty and north jetty from late January through April. The best fishing occurs from late February through early April from the noticeable hump inside the north jetty to the end of the jetty. The hump was the end the original jetty. Historically the fishing for lingcod in Yaquina Bay is the most productive for any of Oregon's bays.
Cabezon fishing is slow most of the year but improves during the peak of the spawning period from February into March along the finger jetties, the south jetty and the north jetty. Poke pole fishing is the most effective method used to catch cabezon during the spawning period especially on the finger jetties.
Pacific herring spawn anytime from February to April. Herring are frequent visitors to Oregon's Bays and anglers often are seen jigging for them off of the South Beach fishing pier in Yaquina Bay.
Chinook salmon enter the bay in small numbers about the second week of September. Increasing numbers of Chinook salmon enter the bay from the middle to the last week of September usually peaking during the first half of October. Chinook salmon are present through out the lower bay, the upper bay and in the lower tidal reach of the river channel from October into early November. The catch rate averages over 1100 fish per year and is evenly divided between 3, 4 and 5 year old fish.
The best fishing occurs in the lower bay and in the ocean outside the jetty jaws. Troll in the jetty channel with or against the incoming tide from the jetty jaws to the Coast Guard Station and in the channel from the Coast Guard Station past the seawall to Sawyers Landing trolling a plug cut herring with or without a herring dodger. Remember to buy the largest herring available preferably herring in blue or purple labeled packages. Trolling with or back bouncing mooching a plug cut herring with the outgoing tide are effective methods that will put fish in the boat.
As the number of returning Chinook salmon increase launch the boat at Sawyer’s Landing and troll with the incoming tide in the deepwater channel between Poole and Parker Sloughs or between Flesher and Blind Sloughs with a plug cut herring or a rainbow colored Yaquina Slammer with a green tip. Launch at the Toledo boat ramp and troll a plug cut herring or Yaquina Slammer in the deepwater channel with the incoming tide through high slack tide from Blind Slough to the Toledo boat launch or troll a plug cut herring or Yaquina Slammer with the incoming tide upriver to the boat works on the north bank. Launch at Canyon Park Boat Launch and go downriver to Mill Creek. There is a deep hole at Mill Creek that holds salmon. Troll from Mill Creek upriver with the incoming tide using a plug cut herring, bait wrapped Flatfish lures with a silver body with a chartreuse head or spinners with green accents equipped with blades of the following colors: rainbow, 5050 green and chartreuse, 5050 green and hammered brass, or 5050 chartreuse and hammered brass. Remember Chinook salmon often bite before during and after low or high slack tide.
Avid Chinook salmon fisherman, Collin T. Brooksby lives along the Yaquina River and fishes hard for Chinook salmon landing this beautiful 36 pound Chinook salmon upstream of Mill Creek using a Blue Fox spinner with silver and copper blades. Photo by Colin Brooksby.
Fish the upriver reach of the Yaquina River from Mill Creek to Elk City back bouncing or back trolling with the outgoing tide with rainbow colored Yaquina Slammer spinners or bait wrapped Flatfish lures. Back bouncing a walnut sized gob of salmon eggs and/or sand shrimp with the outgoing tide or drifting with a bobber and eggs are productive options, but be prepared to hang the tackle up on the numerous submerged objects upstream from Mill Creek. Trolling Yaquina Slammer spinners in the upper half of the water column or casting a No. 5 chartreuse Bolo spinner with silver and copper blades through low slack tide is productive. Anchor above the deeper holes upstream from Mill Creek and fish during the outgoing tide through low slack tide. Fish on the bottom with bait wrapped Flatfish lures, bait sweetened SpinNGlos, wobblers or a combination of salmon eggs and sand shrimp or with a bobber using salmon eggs topped with a sand shrimp. Accent the salmon eggs and sand shrimp with a small length of pink, red, chartreuse or orange yarn. Call Englund Marine at 541 265 9275 for an up to date fish report.
Do not fail to take advantage of the feeder Chinook salmon that enter lower Yaquina Bay in June of most years. The most productive fishing occurs in front of the Coast Guard Station. Troll a plug cut herring between the Highway 101 Bridge and the west end of the seawall.
White sturgeon are yearround residents of Yaquina Bay. The catch rate ranks 3rd overall behind Umpqua and Tillamook Bays. Typically the best fishing occurs from December to June declining in July and is slow until the following December. Mud shrimp are the first choice as bait except when the herring are running. The best fishing for white sturgeon occurs from the pilings at the entrance of McCaffery Slough to Elk City.
Bob and Bob hold up a keeper sized white sturgeon taken in upper YaquinaBay. Photo by Randy Druba.
Most of the sturgeon fishery on the Yaquina River occurs during the outgoing tide through low tide as the sturgeon move into the holes and shallow troughs. Fishing also productive during the incoming tide as the sturgeon move onto the mud flats to feed. The mud flat associated with Blind Slough is one of these areas. Hooking a keeper sized or larger sturgeon in shallow water is a thrilling experience because they often become airborne.
Coho salmon return to the Yaquina River as early as the middle of August but typically from September through October. The best fishing occurs early in the run trolling a plug cut herring, hoochies or spinner bait combinations behind a flasher and a wire spreader in the upper half of the water column with the incoming tide from the jetty jaws to the Coast Guard Station. Troll through out the bay and tidal reach of the river channel with a rainbow, chartreuse or pink colored spinners or spinner bait combinations.
|Cutthroat trout return to the Yaquina River in as early as the middle of July but always by the first of August. Fish for cutthroat trout during the incoming tide trolling Doc Shelton spinners rigged with a night crawler or casting spinners in the upper tidal reach upriver from the confluence with Mill Creek. Fishing from shore in the deeper holes of the tidewater reach of the Yaquina River above Elk City is productive casting spinners or by fishing on the bottom with night crawlers or crawfish tails.|
Bank fishing is fisherman friendly in the lower bay, upper bay and tidal reach of the Yaquina River. The fishing for bass at night can be fantastic on an incoming tide from the south jetty. The television show, “Fishing the West”, featured a show on night fishing for bass along the Yaquina Bay jetty. The City of Newport closes and locks the gate on the South Jetty Road at dusk each evening. You will have to park and walk to the location on the jetty you wish to fish from. Fish for lingcod or cabezon from either side of the north jetty during the morning hours when the sea is flat clam. The best fishing on the channel side of the jetty is from the visible hump near to the end of the north jetty. It is a long and difficult walk to the hump. Anglers have to climb over and around the jetty rocks. Begin fishing on the ocean side of the jetty just past the area where the surf breaks against the jetty rocks.
Fish for salmon from jetty rocks: on the ocean side of the south jetty, the channel side of south jetty, the jetty at the South Beach Marina and the rocks around the natural gas plant. Fish in the upper bay in the area of deep water located at buoy 25 at mile marker 5.9 on the Bay Road. Two other good locations are at the 8.5 mile mark on the Bay Road and at buoy 37 located at mile marker 8.8. Fish in the deeper holes located in the lower tidal reach of the Yaquina River from the confluence of the Yaquina River and Mill Creek upstream to the head to tidewater above Elk City along the Elk City road.
Fish for perch from the rocks during the incoming tide: at the finger jetties along the south jetty road, the channel side of the south jetty, the jetty at the South Beach Marina, mile markers 4.0, 5.9, 8.5 and 8.8 on the Bay Road. Fish from the bank under the willows at mile marker 8.5 and in the deeper water next to buoy 37 at mile marker 8.8.
Fish for white sturgeon in the upper bay two hours prior to low slack tide in the holes that are accessible from the Bay Road. One of the best locations is at buoy marker 25, which is located at mile marker 5.9. Three other good locations are at mile markers 8.5, 8.8 and 11.4. Fish from the bank under the willows at mile marker 8.5 and in the deeper water next to buoy 37 at mile marker 8.8. The hole located upstream from mile marker 11.4 mile runs along the bend in the river where the river narrows. Park at the turnout climb down the bank and walk 50 yards upstream at low tide and fish from there upstream. One of the most productive bank fishing locations in upper tidal reach is located at the confluence of Mill Creek and the Yaquina River. Park the truck just below the confluence and fish right out of the truck.
Yaquina Bay public fishing piers are located in South Beach next to the South Beach Marina and on the Bay Road at the Bay Street Pier, the Abby Street Pier and at the gas plant off of the Bay Road just east of town. The crabbing and fishing ranges from poor to excellent.
Yaquina Bay Jetties The north jetty is the most productive for bass and lingcod but can be dangerous to be on because you can be swept off the jetty or seriously injured by the tidal surge during periods of heavy surf or by a sneaker wave. The south jetty offers easy access and is more productive for salmon. Anglers who fish at night for bass from the south jetty have to walk in because the gate on the south jetty road is closed and locked at night.
Yaquina Bay boat launches on the south shore in the lower bay is the boat ramp at South Beach Marina. The six dollar launching fee to use a boat ramp is the most costly on the Oregon Coast. The North shore boat launches on the upper bay are Sawyer’s Landing and River Bend Moorage. Free boat launching is located in the upper bay southwest of the City of Toledo at the City of Toledo Airport on the South Bay Road, and in the lower tidal reach east of the City of Toledo at Cannon Park and Elk City on the Elk City Road.
On 10/03 Odfw reports: Yaquina River Fishing: The fall Chinook fishery is slow to fair in mid to upper tide water either trolling or using bait or bobber set ups. The coho fishery had a good bite a few days last week. Anglers were catching fish in lower to mid tidewater areas. Trolling spinners or casting from the bank has been the most productive. Fishing for cutthroat trout is fair with the seasonal closure scheduled at the end of the month.
Click on the following link to view the line of saltwater fishing tackle, rental crab rings, and crab bait including mink, chicken and fish carcasses the South Beach Grocery is now carrying. They also have frozen herring and sand shrimp when available. They also carry chili, biscuits and gravy and the best sausages and hotdogs found anywhere in Oregon. The beer sausage is my favorite.
Yaquina Bay Crabbing: Crab from Sawyer’s landing seaward to a point midway in the jetty channel. Crabbing is usually excellent from spring through fall and rapidly declines during periods of seasonal rainfall from November through February.
I posted the following video clip about crabbing from the docks at Yaquina Bay. An interesting aspect about crabbing in Yaquina Bay that is also common to some of Oregon's other bays is that crabbing may be slow from the docks but productive in the deep water areas of the bay. Include a visit to the Hatfield Marine Science Center on your crabbing and clamming trips to the Newport area. You and your kids won't be disappointed. The young crabbers in the photo did well crabbing from the public fishing pier.
Most of us pick the crabs we catch as we eat them, but for those of you who use the crab meat in other dishes shaking the crabs is the more efficent way to clean them. Click on the link to view the video clip of Cheryl from the South Beach Fish Company demonstrating the ins and outs of shaking crab. The South Beach Grocery recently added a line of fishing tackle in addition to the crab ring rentals. The also carry a complete line of crab bait including mink carcasses, chicken and fish carcasses. Frozeh herring is also on sale for you salmon fishermen.
On 11/04 Maryland from Harry's Bait and Tackle (541) 265-2407 on the Newort bay front reports fishing for salmon is slow with some fish being taken on friday near the oyster plant. Maryland reports that few crabs are being taken.
On 11/04 Dion from Sawyer's Landing (541) 265-3907 reports: crabbing from boats in the bay has been good ................ Sawyer's Landing operates the only boat hoist on Yaquina bay. The also have rent boats and crab gear. Sawyer's Landing cooks crabs for a six dollar minimum charge for 12 or fewer crabs.
On 09/03 Following a glowing article about the wonderful Dungeness crab abundance in Yaquina Bay, my buddy Dutch met to crab at the Embarcadero crabbing dock to see if we could cash in on the action. Well we managed to catch only one legal sized Dungeness crab. But crabbers in boats are limiting out. On 09/01 my friends crabbing from the crabbing dock in South Beach managed to take one legal crab.
Last summer I followed up on a report of Dungeness crabs in the bay, I took advantage of my buddy Dutch's invitation to join him crabbing at the Embarcadero crabbing dock. I managed to take 6 nice Dungeness crabs plus a large red rock crab. Scroll down the see the photograph of the cooked crabs I took today.
On 10/08/11 The annual ODFW crabbing classes is a great way for those new to crabbing to learn how to crab. Crabbing was unproductive while I was there but that could change in the blink of an eye. Contact Mich Vance at 541 867 4741 for additional information.
On 09/30/11 I started crabbing on the South Beach Crabbing Dock from 9:00am until 2:00pm and managed to catch only 1 legal Dungeness crabs. One crabber had 4 legal Dungeness crabs wile another had 2. However crabbers at the end of the crabbing dock were taking lots of large red rock crabs.
Early in the month Dave and Sandi Randleman caught so many Dungeness crabs at the end of the South Beach crabbing dock it took two men to pull the crab pot from the water's edge to the dock. They all took limits of large Dungeness crabs.
The current velocity is strong enough to lift the crabbing gear off of the bottom. The velocity of the current for incoming and outgoing is about 3.5 knots at the South Beach crabbing dock. I added 3 and 6 ounces of weight to the bait post of my Crab Max to keep them on the bottom. The 3 ounce weight was too light to do the job. The 6 ounce weight worked most of the time except during the period of greatest current velocity. Next time I will use two 4 ounce weights. Floating algae would catch on the hand lines and traps lifting the traps off of the bottom during the strong current of the incoming tide. I did not have any problems with algae when crabbing at Winchester Bay several days age. Bill
Yaquina Bay Clam Diggigng:
CDAO members from left to right Sandi and Dave Randleman with their friend Sara pose with their limits of large that average sized gaper clams they dug from the tidal flats of Yaquina Bay.
In the photo above on the right clam digger Kevin shares a limit of mixed limit of bay clams he and his son along with his brother and two friends dug from tidal flats behind the Marine Science Center at Yaquina Bay.
Click HERE for razor clam productivity at Agate Beach, South Beach and the North Jetty.
Internet links of interest for Yaquina 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.
OSU Links of Interest to view weather, buoy observations and other links of interest.
Sunrise and Sunset tables for Yaquina Bay.
Tidal Projections: Tides are the rise and fall of the sea level caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun. Click on the current moon icon to follow the phase of the moon.
Click on NOAA Tides and Currents 2012 to link to the tide tables for the Bar at the Entrance of Yaquina Bay.
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.
Stonewall Bank Buoy Reports
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.
WEATHER FORECAST: Click on NOAA Regional Weather Forecast to view the 7 day weather forecast for your area of interest. Click on the pink colored portion of the map for your area of interest. Click on the area of the map between the coastline and the blue line defining the weather forecast 10 miles to sea. Move the cursor over your area of interest and click for a detailed 7 day weather forecast.
Click on the NOAA Website Marine Digital Point Forecast Matrix Interface to view a detailed weather and surf forecast for the Oregon Coast. Position the cursor over the location of interest on the Oregon Coast and left click.
Ten day weather forecast for the central coastal area at Yaquina Bay.
Marine Forecast for the northern Oregon Coast.
Current weather conditions for the South Jetty at Yaquina Bay.
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 before digging razor clams or taking mussels:
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.
Digging razor clams at Agate Beach and the North and South Jetties at Newport: Always check the Shellfish Hotline Before digging clams or taking mussels or call (503) 986-4728 or 1-800-448-2474 toll free outside of Oregon. 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 a combination of wind chop and long ocean swells exceed 8 ft.....Razor clams are reluctant to show during periods of heavy surf. We provide a link to Oregon Surf Check to view the height and interval of the long ocean swells. We recommend digging bay clams during periods of moderate to heavy surf. Remember, clam digging is most productive during periods of Spring tides and crabbing is most productive during periods of Neap tides. View the NOAA tide tables to see the predicted height of the low tide for your bay of interest.
Click HERE to view health advisory closures for the Oregon's Beach Monitoring Program. Oregon's Beach Monitoring Program test coastal water for elevated levels of bacteria that can be transmitted to humans by the contaminated water. The Beach Monitoring Program is funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The grant is intended to help states design and implement coastal and estuarine water quality monitoring programs. Monitoring and public notification began in Oregon in 2003. Click HERE for additional information.
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