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Crabbing & Clamming

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 Wildlifewebsite for the most current shellfish regulations and harvest notices.

Rental crab rings are available at many RV parks and other lodging facilities, and tackle and marine supply stores often rent and sell rings. Here’s a short list of some locations:

Basin Tackle Shop
63510 Kingfisher Road, Charleston, OR 97420
(541) 888-FISH
Open Mon-Sat 8am-5pm; Sun 8am-Noon

Crab Shack
63840 Crossline Road, Charleston, OR 97420
(541) 888-3433
Open daily from 8am-6pm

Davey Jones Locker
Cape Arago Highway & Boat Basin Road
Charleston, OR 97420
(541) 888-3941

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 these tutorials and learn from the pros!

Watch this video to learn the basics of digging:

(541) 269-0215
50 Central Ave, Coos Bay, OR 97420

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