Fishing, Crabbing & Clamming

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Fishing

Fishing is amazing on Oregon's Adventure Coast

Fishing in a boat on the ocean

Fishing opportunities are in no short supply here on Oregon’s Adventure Coast! There are fish for every season and an endless choice of prime fishing spots to select from.

There are more than 30 lakes and rivers to choose from in Coos County, and bay and ocean fishing. Come by boat, by foot, by kayak or by charter, the fish are biting.

We’ve put together a list of resources that will be helpful in planning your trip. Be sure to visit one of our bait shops while in the area, they’re always willing to share pointers with visiting anglers.

FISHING LICENSE REQUIREMENTS

An Oregon fishing license is required for those age 12 years or older (except during one “free fishing weekend” in June when licenses or tags are NOT required). Daily licenses available. Most fishing charters, bait shops and sporting goods stores can supply these for you. Check out our fishing license requirement page for where to buy a licenses and bait.

Fishing Information Rack Card PDF

Download our
Fishing Information
Rack Card here (PDF).

fishing months and seasons

Crabbing

CRABBING ON OREGON’S ADVENTURE COAST

Family Crabbing at the Charleston Marina

No trip to the Adventure Coast is complete without Dungeness crab, and the best crab are always the ones you bring up yourself from the waters of lower Coos Bay. Rent or buy a crab ring and try your luck; the payoff will be a fresh crab feast you’ll always remember. And you’ll keep coming back for more.

Here are a few tips we want to share from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Be sure to read their instructional flyer How to Crab for important details.

  • Make sure you have your shellfish license (14 and older requires a shellfish license), crab measuring tool, pots or rings, cooler, gloves, bait holders and bait supply. 3-day licenses are available at local ODFW offices and at many sporting goods or hardware stores.
  • Slack water (the time around high or low tide) are the best times to crab. During slack water, crabs are generally walking around and foraging since they are not getting pushed around by tidal exchange.
  • Check all lines on crab pots or rings for kinks or knots to ensure they are durable and will allow gear to work correctly.
  • Fresh bait is best. Many different types of bait are used for crabbing: turkey, chicken, mink, fish carcass, shad, herring, clams, etc.
  • Tie the end of your crab line to the dock or pier from where you are crabbing. Throw your crab pot or ring in the water and start crabbing.
  • Check with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website for the most current shellfish regulations and harvest notices.

BEST LOCATIONS FOR CRABBING ON OREGON’S ADVENTURE COAST

Lower Coos Bay Crabbing Map

Lower Coos Bay – Map

The lower bay (from ocean entrance to the airport) is “marine dominated”, meaning there is little freshwater influence, and offers some of Oregon’s most productive shellfishing opportunities.

DOWNLOAD MAP »

Charleston Crabbing Map

Charleston Area – Map

Dock crabbing is available throughout the commercial docks in Charleston. Additionally, the Charleston Visitor Center and the T-docks South of the bridge provide excellent dock crabbing.

DOWNLOAD MAP »

Clamming

CLAMMING ON OREGON’S ADVENTURE COAST

Girl Clamming in

If you’ve been anywhere along the Oregon Coast, you’ve probably heard a lot about clamming; but you might be wondering why it’s so popular among natives and visitors. Clamming is appealing to many Oregonians and visitors because it is relatively easy and the reward is a tasty treat best served in chowder, steamed or fried. There are no special skills required, no expensive equipment, and beginners can usually pick it up quite easily.

The low tides commonly found from Empire to Charleston make our region one of the top destinations for clam digging. Local bait & tackle shops are usually the best resource for first (and second, third, fourth) time clammers and can usually advise on conditions, regulations, equipment, etc. Some businesses, like Basin Tackle on Kingfisher Rd in Charleston, even offer classes on how to use a clam pump and clean the clams (they even share secret recipes)!

 

Ready to give it a shot? Here are some more tips for first-time clammers:

1. Get your shellfish license.

Clams can be harvested all year on our coast, but ODFW does require a license. Click here to get your license.

2. Wear waterproof boots (trust us).

Just take a look at the photos and you will see the necessity of waterproof boots. Otherwise, you may loose or ruin your shoes!

3. Dress in layers!

Doesn’t matter what season it is, it can get chilly out there! Dress in layers that can get dirty.

4. Go to a bait and tackle shop before you head out.

Some of the best advice you will receive will probably come from one of the fishing experts at one of our [local bait and tackle stores](/equipment-rent-and-buy/). They can tell you when the best time of day to dig would be based on the tides. They can also help you make sure you have the right equipment- a bucket, a shovel (can be rented or borrowed) and/or a tube a.k.a. a “clam gun”.

5. Keep track of how many clams you dig.

You are allowed 20 bay clams per day in the aggregate, however, only 12 of which may be Gaper or Empire clams; again this is something someone at a local bait and tackle shop can help you with. Click here for ODFW’s Regulations Summary for Marine Shellfish.

6. Watch this tutorial and learn from the pros!

Watch this video to learn the basics of digging:

WHERE TO CLAM IN COOS BAY

Lower Coos Bay – Map & Species

The lower bay (from ocean entrance to the airport) is “marine dominated”, meaning there is little freshwater influence, and offers some of Oregon’s most productive shellfishing opportunities.

DOWNLOAD MAP »

Charleston Area – Map & Species

Clamming in Charleston is excellent throughout and access is easy. Rental shops are close by to help those new to clamming, gather the right gear and find the best spots.

DOWNLOAD MAP »

 

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Betty Kay Charters

 

ENTERTAINMENT

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(Photo of North Bend Lanes/Back Alley Pub & Grill)

Oregon’s Bay Area offers plenty of exciting entertainment opportunities. There are many cultural attractions and activities from museums and art galleries, to live theater and numerous festivals. We have a new Coos History Museum and Charleston Marine Life Center. You can take in a current blockbuster at Pony Village Cinema or a classic film at the newly renovated Egyptian Theatre. If it’s the nightlife that calls to you, Warehouse 101 @ The Mill Casino Hotel offers up nightly entertainment as well as gaming activities.  Three Rivers Casino is our newest Casino in town! Enjoy fine dining and cold drinks any where in town, such as the newest locally owned Brewery 7 Devils. Looking for more family fun ideas; how about a night of bowling at locally owned North Bend Lanes.  Take a swim at the Mingus Park Swimming Pool or the North Bend Pool. There’s always something to do on the Oregon Coast.

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Coos History Museum

Charleston Marine Life Center

 


Egyptian Theatre

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The Mill Casino Hotel & RV Park

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Three Rivers Casino

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7 Devils Brewery

North Bend Lanes and Back Alley Pub

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North Bend Swimming Pool

Mingus Park Swimming Pool

RECREATION 

If you’re a sports/outdoor enthusiast, there are numerous adventures to be had both by land or sea in Oregon’s Bay Area.

Land activities include The Oregon National Dunes Recreation Area with sand dunes towering to 500 feet above seal level which offers hiking, horseback riding, camping, sandboarding, off-highway vehicle use and dune buggy tours.

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Oregon Dunes

Other sports/recreational activities include birding, hunting, archery, bowling, tennis (public courts available at Sunset Middle School, Upper Mingus Park, Simpson Park, Airport Heights & at the Boys & Girls Club) golfing (Bandon Dunes, Sunset Bay Golf Course), disc golf (Windsor Park & Mingus Park), biking and a variety of motor sports to keep you entertained and active.

If you would like to rent a ATV, please visit Chamber Members-Spinreel Dune Buggy and ATV Rentals  or Steve’s ATV’s

Walking and Hiking Trails 

Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston in Coos County is an adventure waiting to happen. Grab your hiking boots, or your bike and take in nature. There are many levels of difficulty, so whatever your skill level, we think you’ll find a way to breathe in the fresh air and explore.


Hiking on the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.

We have a whole system of hiking and biking trails in the immediate and surrounding area, but listed below are some of our favorites:

Oregon Coast Trail
(Sunset Bay to Cape Arago)
Located off Cape Arago Highway through Charleston, you’ll find four miles of trails (one way) winding along one of the most spectacular coastlines in Oregon.

Bluebill Trail
Located off Horsfall Road in the Oregon National Recreation Area just out of North Bend, this trail loops around a seasonal lake which is home to different species of birds and aquatic animals. Bring your camera and binoculars to view the sights.

Estuary Study Trails
South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is located off Cape Arago Highway near Charleston along Seven Devils Road and covers 19,000 acres and offers hiking trails for all ability levels.

Be sure to wear comfortable and appropriate gear, including a helmet while biking and always carry water.

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Bandon Dunes Golf Resort

If it’s water activities you crave, Oregon’s Bay Area offers a myriad of opportunities from sailing, canoeing, kayaking, water-skiing, swimming, scuba diving and fishing. The largest lakes include Woahink, Siltcoos, Tahkenitch, Eel, and North and South Tenmile Lakes.

 

Sunset Bay

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Shore Acres State Park

Storm & Whale Watching are popular along the Southwestern OR coast. Shore Acres State Park, Bastendorff Beach County Park, Cape Arago State Park and Simpson’s Reef Overlook offer outstanding views of waves and whales. From November through May you can view the migration of gray whales from the Arctic Sea to Baja California and back. By late December they are seen in numbers off the Oregon Coast as they head south. Official whale watching stations, including one at Shore Acres State Park, are staffed with volunteers during the ‘Official Winter Whale Watch Week’ between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Adult males and females without calves again pass Oregon in March and April going north. The ‘Official Spring Whale Watch Week’ coincides with Spring Break. Females with calves can pass as late as May. Look for the vapor blow or for portions of the head, back ridge or tail as the large mammals surface. An adult whale will reach 46 feet long (a Greyhound bus is about 40 feet). Early mornings or calm, overcast days are the best for spotting the whales. Call Betty Kay Charters for whale watching “up close.”

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Shore Acres State Park

Whale species to watch for on the Oregon Coast include:

Gray Whales: Splotchy gray color with barnacles on skin and ridges along the back just in front of the tail.
Humpback Whales: Long white flippers, bumps on the top of the head, very strong angle of the back when diving, short dorsal fin.
Killer or Orca Whales: Tall dorsal fin, very distinct black and white pattern, often seen in groups.
Sperm Whales: Square-shaped head, blows at a 45-degree angle from the top of the head, ridges along tail stalk, wrinkled-looking skin, often seen in groups.

Tide Pooling – Tide pools are alive! They are home to a variety of plants and animals which should not be damaged or removed. Always be cautious of the wave action and the tides. Sunset Bay State Park 3 miles SW of Charleston offers a wind protected cove and shallow waters in the bay for easy access to a good selection of species and Cape Arago State Park 5 miles SW of Charleston also has an excellent variety of species. The South Cove is open year-round while the North Cove is closed March 1 to June 30 to protect seal pups.

Beach Combing – Walking along the high tide line on any beach can provide the opportunity to find many interesting treasures from the sea. Shells, driftwood and polished rocks or agates are some of the collectibles that may be taken home. Seven Devils State Recreation Site and Whiskey Run Beach 8 miles south of Charleston on Seven Devils Rd. are great places for finding banded agates, agatized myrtle, jasper, and other woods. Bastendorff Beach County Park 2 miles SW of Charleston offers panoramic view of Coos Bay entrance, jetties and sunsets. Access to Bastendorff Beach via roadway to the beach. 541-888-5353 or 541-396-3121, x 354.

SHIPWRECKS

The 600-foot bulk freighter, The New Carissa, ran aground during a storm on February 4, 1999 just off Coos Bay’s North Spit. The final piece of the wreckage was removed in October 2008 because the remaining portion of the freighter poses a safety hazard to the public due to its rusting metal and proximity to the beach and is a liability for the State of OR because it rests on state land.

The Sujameco, a ship that ran aground in 1929 was discovered when winter storms changed the surface of the sand at Horsefall Beach enough to expose the remains of the ship. While most of the ship was removed during salvage operations, iron projections can still be seen in the winter sand at the low tide line north of the parking lot.

More recently this season’s wind and waves have shifted a mountain of sand on Coos Bay’s North Spit uncovering the 35-foot-long bow of wooden-hulled vessel believed to have been identified by archaeologists as the George L. Olson, a 223-foot-long wood-hulled schooner carrying lumber in the Northwest for over 20 years until June 23, 1944 when it ran aground at Coos Bay’s North Jetty. Researchers say they know how the ship wrecked, but they would like to know more about how it made it onto the North Spit. They also think there is more of it buried in the big dune that’s eroding away with each storm.

For more information on these local shipwrecks and other ships that have run aground in the Coos Bay/North Bend area you can call the Coos Bay Visitor’s Center at 541-269-0215.

SHOPPING

The Bay Area has a wide assortment of shopping options to choose from. From gift & specialty shops where you can take home a taste of the region including local wines/beers and seafood; to antiques, cranberry sweets, local artwork, hand-crafted items such as myrtlewood gifts and native american items including carvings and quilts and much, much more. So shop for yourself or others and enjoy the memories of your trip to the Oregon’s Bay Area. Local shops in our area can be found by going to our member directory.

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Cranberry Sweets & More

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Painted Zebra Boutique

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Past to Present Emporium 

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Vintage 101

YOUTH ACTIVITIES

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Boys & Girls Club of SW Oregon (SWOYA) 3333 Walnut Avenue, Coos Bay. Year-round activities and summer recreation programs. 541-267-3635

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EPUERTO Sports

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Acting Up- For Kids and Teens 

CHECK OUT OUR FRIENDS AT OREGON’S ADVENTURE COAST MORE INFORMATION ON FISHING, CRABBING, CLAMMING AND ENJOYING THE OREGON COAST!!!