Grab your clamming shovel, gun and bucket because some of the best clamming tides of the spring are happening this weekend.
Razor clamming is currently open from the Columbia River to the south jetty of the Siuslaw River – including the popular Clatsop County beaches. But before you leave the house, be sure to check for any recent closures by calling ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at (800) 448-2474 or visiting the ODA shellfish closures web page.
In Tillamook County, clamming is said to be the main attraction in Netarts Bay, one of five major crabbing bays in Oregon known for good populations of both Dungeness and redrock crab, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).
The boat basin in Netarts is located in the town of Netarts at the north end of Netarts Bay Drive. The jetties around the boat basin also offer some bank crabbing using rod and reel set-ups.
An ODFW guide tells us where the clams and crabs can be found in Netarts Bay. The tips stem from past ODFW surveys, recent spot checks and input from locals. Species marked in each area represent the most abundant found; other species may be present or may exist in areas not shown on the map. Sandbars, clam beds, and species composition can shift over time.
Check out the following tips for Nestucca Bay, too.
ODFW advises the public to always use caution when boating/crabbing in the lower bay as swift currents during tidal exchanges can occur, and result in loss of gear or cause boat to be pulled out to sea if mechanical problems arise.
Areas 1 and 4 can be reached by either boat or bank/walk-in access. These areas are rocky and a garden fork (heavy tined) works best, or a combination of fork and shovel. Beach access to area 1 is found at the end of Crab Ave. in Netarts. Gaper clams dominate this area though butter clams will also be found. Beach access to area 4 is obtained from Netarts Bay Drive, and is located around the mouth of Rice Creek. This area has a fairly even mix of gaper and butter clams.
Area 2 requires a boat for access; this is one of the closest areas from the boat basin. This area is sandy and a shovel is best for digging; a clam gun may also be used. Butter clams dominate this area.
Areas 3 and 5 are large sandy bars and will require a boat for access. Gaper and cockles are the most common species in area 3 with mostly gapers in area 5. Shovels and clam guns will work best for digging gapers while cockles can be raked or handpicked off the surface.
Area 6 contains the largest area of sand bars and mud flats along with the widest variety of clam species, though the dominant species will be gaper and butter clams. This area can be reached by either boat or bank/walk-in access. Bank access is obtained from Netarts Bay Drive, both to the north and south of the intersection of Whisky Creek Road and Netarts Bay Drive. Shovels and clam guns will work best for digging in this area.
Area 7 will require a boat for access. This area is dominated by softshell clams; however, cockle and littleneck clams can also be found; use a shovel or clam gun for digging.
Area 8 is accessed best by walk-in from the bank; look for small pullouts along Netarts Bay Drive north of the Whiskey Creek Café. These mud flats contain a fair amount of littleneck clams. A shovel or rake will work best here.
Area 9 will require a boat for crabbing. Pots may be set anywhere within this area, but use caution to avoid placing them directly in navigation channels.
Area 10 can be crabbed from a boat or off the bank by using rod and reel set-ups for crab. Bank access is obtained along Netarts Bay Drive, from the boat basin to the mouth of Rice Creek. Remember, when placing pots from a boat, avoid direct placement in navigation channels.
ODFW said to find crab areas and softshell clamming opportunities in the southern part of Nestucca Bay.
The boat launches in the area can be found at Fisher Landing/Guardrail Hole, approximately a mile south of Pacific City off Brooten Road. The Pacific City Ramp can be found from Pacific Avenue by turning south on Sunset Drive toward Bob Straub State Park. The Little Nestucca/101 Ramp is located at approximately milepost 92 on Highway 101. Turn on to Meda Loop Road, proceed a half-mile, and turn north at first curve.
Area 1 can be reached by either boat or beach access. Beach access is obtained from Brooten Rd., approximately 1mile south of Pacific City. Softshell clams can be found throughout this area. These mud flats can have soft spots where walking may be difficult. For digging use a shovel or clam gun would be best.
Area 2 will require a boat for crabbing. Pots may be set anywhere within this area.
Oregon estuaries are rich with many species of clams, although only a few of these species are commonly harvested, according to the Oregon Dep…