Oregon Crabbing and Clamming Report Week of October 3rd, 2019
Clatsop Beach razor clam season opened on Oct. 1. The best low tides have switched to the evenings so harvesters should plan accordingly. Harvesters should expect a high abundance of razor clams 3 ½ inches or less. Targeting the largest “show,” greater than a nickel in diameter, will greatly increase the odds of harvesting a larger clam.
Razor clam season starts to slow down at beaches south of Clatsop as the end of good daytime negative low tides approaches.
For the Central Coast area, diggers report mixed success at Newport beaches, with more clams landed at North Jetty and Agate Beach.
Fall and winter harvesting of razor clams can be a challenging endeavor. Unlike the spring and summer, low tides are in the evenings and at night when visibility is poor or nonexistent. Typical to the Oregon coast, the fall and winter brings large storm events, which keep the razor clams from “showing” as readily and can also be a safety risk with surging water and debris on the beach. Make sure to monitor swell and surf advisories as well as predicted wind prior to harvesting. Combined seas greater than 10 feet and winds greater than 20mph will make harvesting difficult for all, including the most experienced harvester.
Always call the ODA shellfish safety hotline at 1-800-448-2474 or ODA shellfish closures website before harvesting for the most current information about shellfish safety closures.
Crabbing in the Coos Bay estuary and lower Coquille estuary have been limited. Crabbing by boat and setting pots near the jetties yields the most crab. Dock crabbers are picking up some legal Dungeness crabs on the docks at Weber’s Pier in Bandon.
Central coast crabbing in Alsea and Yaquina bays has been fair to moderate by boat. While there is less success for Dungeness from shore, shore crabbing is starting to pick up. Crabbers for some areas have seen soft crab, indicating a recent molt.
In addition to Dungeness crab, another Oregon native present in some of Oregon’s estuaries is the red rock crab. Crabbers can retain 24 red rock crabs of any sex or size. There have also been higher numbers of Pacific rock crab in Yaquina Bay this year. This crab counts as your “Other” shellfish, which has a daily bag limit of 10 in aggregate with other species that fall in this category (see page 82 of the fishing synopsis for more details). While they look very similar to red rock crab, their long antennae and large claws distinguish them; they sometimes have spots on their abdomen.
Some crabbers in estuaries may encounter non-native European green crab in their catch this year. While they look similar to Oregon’s native shore crabs, they can be identified by the three prominent bumps between the eyes and 5 spines down the side of the carapace. They are not always green and color is not a good identifying feature. The daily catch limit for European green crab also falls in the “Other” shellfish category and is 10 in aggregate with other species that fall in this category (see page 82 of the fishing synopsis for more details). European green crab can be any size or sex.
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