Oregon Experts Report on Crabbing, Clamming, Minus Tides on the Coast
(Oregon Coast) – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said a new striking set of minus tides is coming up, which will be great for tide pooling as well as clamming. ODFW also issued some reports on clamming and crabbing around the beaches. (Above: inside the Devil's Punchbowl).
June is a spectacular month for tide poolers with some of the lowest tides of the year and two long minus tide series and the beginning of a third. The next series are June June 29 – July 8. A minus tide provides the best time to visit tide pools and watch the life that was just a few hours ago under as much as 10 feet of water.
Some great places to check these out will be Yachats, Cannon Beach or the Depoe Bay areas.
The recent low tide series from June 16 -25 saw razor clam harvesting along the north Oregon coast down from some previous tide series. ODFW was referring to Clatsop beaches when talking about those numbers, which includes Warrenton, Gearhart and Seaside.
Rough ocean surf and stormy weather created poor clamming conditions during the biggest low tides of the series. During this tide series, the best harvest occurred at the Peter Iredale beach to the Columbia River South Jetty where harvesters averaged 10.5 clams per person. Clams were smaller than previous weeks with an average size of 4 inches.
“Water temperatures continue to be warm enough to facilitate spawning and shellfish staff observed mature clams (greater than 4 inches) either actively spawning or already spawned,” ODFW said. “Spawned or spawning clams tend to not show as readily as feeding clams. To complicate this, it appears that the Clatsop Beaches has another strong set of juvenile clams on the beach. These clams are in a hyper-feeding mode, show very readily and are very fragile. Harvesters must use extreme caution when digging to only choose the largest shows so as to limit the chances of digging a small clam.”
ODFW said shellfish staff are also seeing a lot of waste of clams with the intentional replanting of small or broken clams. Most of these die due to damage or improper placements. Harvesters need to keep the first 15 clams they dig regardless of size or condition as per permanent regulations.
After July 15, the annual conservation closure happens.
ODFW said crabbing in bays along the Oregon coast is a mix of good news and bad news. Crab catches are up in numbers, but the downside is that many are newly-molted male crabs with soft shells.
“While the crabs are OK to eat, they are not as full of meat as later in the season when they have recovered from the molt,” ODFW said. “The recreational harvest of Dungeness crab in Oregon’s bays and estuaries is open year round.”
Recreational crabbing in the ocean is open along the entire Oregon coast until October 16.
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