Catching your own fresh seafood on the Oregon Coast is a rite of passage anytime of year, but in the warmer months it’s a bit more accessible — with crabbing, clamming and fishing opportunities for all experience levels at your fingertips. If you haven’t tried it before, these long summer days will give you all the time you need. Here’s how to get started catching your dinner on the Coast — no expertise required.

All-in-one experiences

From catching to cleaning and cooking, many experienced charter guides offer an all-inclusive, stress-free experience. Check the list of licensed outfitters and guides by the Oregon State Marine Board, and choose a guide that offers the seasonal experience you’re looking for — everything from dory boat fishing in Pacific City to kayak fishing on the South Coast. Kelly’s Brighton Marina just north of Rockaway Beach will get you set up with everything you need for a self-guided adventure on beautiful Nehalem Bay, including a boat, bait, tackle, crab pots, snacks and licenses. Fishers can cast a line at Kelly’s marina for summer chinook and steelhead.

Free Fishing Weekend and family events

Thousands take part in Free Fishing Weekend (Aug. 17-18, 2019) each year, when you can fish, clam or crab without a license anywhere in Oregon. Still new to this whole fishing thing? ODFW has got you covered with a series of family fishing events throughout the year, designed to teach everyone in the family the basics — baiting, casting, catching and identifying your catch. If you can’t make it to an event, check out ODFW’s excellent series of “How-to” videos for catching trout, steelhead, bass and more.

Crabbing and clamming clinics

Siletz Bay, at the south end of Lincoln City, is a top spot for purple varnish clams, soft-shell clams and fresh Dungeness crab on this stretch of coastline. You can either gather your own supplies and shellfish license and venture out on your own, or join one of Lincoln City’s remaining clamming (Aug. 8 and Sept. 5, 2019) and crabbing clinics (July 25, Aug. 28 and Sept. 30, 2019). ODFW’s videos show where to bay clam, where to crab and how to crab.

If you go: 

  • Find regulations on fishing, crabbing and clamming in Oregon at
  • It helps to know what’s in season. Oregon steelhead run January through April; spring salmon April through June; fall salmon in August on the Columbia River and September through December elsewhere; and sturgeon June and July on the Columbia.
  • When possible, book your adventure in advance, as peak-season trips often fill up quickly.
  • Whether going out with a guide or on your own, dress in layers with sun protection and waterproof layers.
  • Remember to leave the Oregon’s pristine coastal areas clean and green for the next generation.

Story by Jen Anderson

Crabbing clinic photo courtesy of Explore Lincoln City