Photo courtesy of Em Wooden
The Alsea Port encompasses the towns of Waldport, Tidewater, and Yachats. They came together in 1910 to establish the Port District. Since that time, Alsea Bay has earned a reputation as a top notch area for crabbing and fishing, and each year the launch ramp at the port is used by more than 5,000 boaters. In the fall, Chinook salmon swarm the bay. From 1888 to 1957, salmon canneries caught their fish in the bay; after that fishing was reserved for noncommercial purposes.
Today, visitors flock to McKinley’s and Dock of the Bay Marina Boat Rentals (both right by the Alsea Bay Marina) to rent crabbing equipment. From boats to traps, those two businesses outfit their customers with everything they need to bring home several Dungeness crabs. While taking a boat out into the bay is a fun adventure, it is not the only way to catch crabs. The marina has certain areas that are designated for recreational crabbers, including a crabbing platform. In addition to crabs and salmon, the bay is teeming with softshell clams, purple varnish clams, cockles, and even seals.
Robinson Park is a small grassy area nestled up against the water. Several picnic tables provide an opportunity for a picturesque lunch. The bay is set against a backdrop of lush forest and rolling hills, and if you head toward the Alsea Bay Bridge you will find a small sandy beach with an unbeatable view of the bridge itself. Take some time to enjoy the scenic environment and then head to the Governor Patterson Memorial State Recreation Site in time to watch the sun set. Beachside State Recreation Site Campground is your best bet for camping in Waldport, but if you decide to venture a few miles south to Yachats you can also stay at the Tillicum Beach Campground.
Rules, Regulations and Licenses
A shellfish license is required for anyone over 12 years old. Before heading out, be sure to call the Shellfish Hotline at 1.800.448.2474 to confirm seasonal closures, or visit the State of Oregon’s Shellfish Biotoxin Closure page.
- Dungeness crab: Daily limit of 12 male crabs (it is prohibited to catch and keep females), minimum size 5 3/4 inches. Crabbing is open in estuaries (i.e. bays), beaches, tide pools, piers, and jetties year round. Crabbing in the ocean is CLOSED for Dungeness crab from October 16 to November 30.
- Red rock crabs: Daily limit of 24, any size or sex.
- Razor clams: Daily limit of 15.
- Bay clams (gaper, butter, littleneck, cockle, and geoduck): Daily limit of 20 (only 12 of which can be gaper clams). No more than one daily limit per day may be taken per person. No more than two daily limits may be in possession. If unbroken, butter (Saxidomus giganteus), cockle (Clinocardium nuttallii), or little-neck (Protothaca staminea) clams may be returned only in immediate digging area. All other clams must be retained regardless of size or condition.
- Softshell and piddocks clams: Daily limit of 36.
- Purple varnish clams: Daily limit of 72.
- Shrimp and prawns: Daily limit of 20 pounds including the shell.
- Mud and ghost shrimp: No limit.
- Mussels: Daily limit of 72.
- Sand crabs, mole crabs, kelp worms and sand worms: No limit.
Call the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at 1.800.448.2474 for more information.