Coast Explorer Magazine - The Explorer's Guide to the Oregon Coast and Washington Coast
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Catch Your Limit of Fun
Published: 06/16/2013
Crab caught at the public dock in Bandon, Oregon can be cooked, cleaned and served to you minutes later at Tony
Crab caught at the public dock in Bandon, Oregon can be cooked, cleaned and served to you minutes later at Tony's Crab Shack.
Photo by Gary Hayes

Few recreational activities are as revered along the Northwest Coast as recreational fishing, crabbing and clamming. And it's no wonder, with the rich waters and beaches of the Pacific as a playing field, seafood foraging is not only fun for the whole family but good business for local charter companies, marinas and tackle shops.

In Oregon Fish and Wildlife's latest survey, recreational fishing and shellfishing is a $147 million per year industry for coastal communities. Sport fishing hubs dot the coast. If you're a novice, go fishing with someone who's experienced. If you don't know anyone who's experienced, hire a licensed guide. Gear and expertise are easy to come by with so many charters and tackle shops along the coast.

Countless charter fishing companies offer river and deep-sea charters for salmon, sturgeon, tuna, Dungeness crab and numerous types of bottom-fish including halibut, flounder, lingcod and sea bass between the Columbia River to the north and Brookings on Oregon's South Coast.

Clamming, crabbing and other shellfish harvesting draws a cadre of loyal fans. State regulations allow for an ample harvest per person, and the thrill of the catch is fun for kids. Digging for razor clams is often a family activity, especially on south Washington and North Oregon Coast beaches where the largest populations of razors are supported. Recreational crabbing is also a favorite activity all along the Northwest Coast. You can rent a boat, book an ocean crabbing tour or just throw a crab ring off the nearest dock.

The sport Dungeness crab season in Oregon is open year-round for tidal bays, estuaries and coastal rivers. A shellfish license is required for crabbing for Dungeness, but the annual license is just $7 for Oregon residents. Non-residents can purchase a three-day license for $11.50. A license is required for those 14 and older and most marinas or bait shops offer them. The daily catch limit is 12 crabs per licensed individual. - By Allen Cox

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