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Covering 160 miles of Oregon coast travel: Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City, Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Wadport, Yachats & Florence.

Summer Cometh: Are you ready?

Oregon Coastal Bays Reporting ‘Dungeness Invasion’

Mouth of the Necanicum River, Seaside

(Oregon Coast) - “You wouldn’t believe it if you saw it,” said Newport Chamber of Commerce Director Lorna Davis. “It’s like a massive Dungeness invasion.”

Davis, among others, is raving about the proliferation of crabs along Oregon coast bays, which many locals insist is larger than normal. BeachConnection.net has been getting reports from Waldport all the way to Seaside, exclaiming it’s an unusually thick flood of crabs in coastal bays and waters.

“My friend said it was really exceptionally good crabbing the other day,” said Seaside Aquarium manager Keith Chandler. “He caught a bunch really fast at the mouth of the Necanicum.”

Locals in the Nehalem area of the north Oregon coast have talked about great crabbing conditions as well.

Alsea Bay

Mitch Vance, Shellfish Project Leader with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Newport office, also heard of exceptional crabbing in Newport’s Yaquina Bay and Alsea Bay at Waldport.

“We just went out on a boat on Yaquina Bay,” said Davis. “Ten of us limited out on crab in less than two hours. It’s insane. They are catching the crab on the bay this weekend in Newport like crazy. The bounty is incredible. People crabbing from the docks on the Bayfront are doing well also.”

Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Cindy Hanson added she was hearing good things as well. “My boyfriend caught his limit yesterday,” she said. “They were delicious.”

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While many residents and regular crabbers are flipping out over the bounty, Vance was cautious about saying whether or not this is something out of the ordinary.

“It’s often better in summer and late fall,” Vance said. “Although I can’t definitively say this is really unusual.”

Vance said conditions in Oregon waters are prime, however. “One reason could be the lack of commercial crabbing pressure,” he said. “They can get chased in and out of bays by commercial crabbers.”

Docks at Embarcadero

The official commercial season is almost over, but Vance most professional fishermen are done with crabbing already, thus enabling the population to grow.

“There was also a really big phytoplankton bloom” Vance said. “The ocean is browner than I’ve ever seen it.”

Chandler said a large phytoplankton population can help baby crabs along, but mostly it fuels populations of bay fish, which the adult crabs live on. Thus, a larger population of crabs is possible.


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“A lot of the catches are crabs with a nice, hard shell,” Vance said. “But there’s been some with the soft shells.”

Vance cautioned not all areas may be as plentiful, however. “I’ve heard some of the catches have been spotty, too, with just average texture.”

Vance said the harder shelled crabs are the ones to look for. Adult crabs molt – or shed – the shells about once a year, as they grow and begin to require bigger shells. By the time they’ve shed their shells, they have a softer shell that’s grown underneath, which is puffed up with water.

It then takes a few weeks to fully harden. Until then, the flesh is somewhat watery and not as good.


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"If anyone comes to Newport and wants to go out on the bay, they can go along the bayfront and there are some charter services,” Davis said. “Or they can crab from any of the public docks, or go to the Embarcadero or Sawyer’s Landing and rent a boat.”

Tiffany Boothe, of the Seaside Aquarium, said another good place to crab in Seaside – aside from the mouth of the river – is on the 12th Street Bridge, just north of downtown. At high tide, this area often boasts many people with crab pots over the edge of the bridge.

This current bloom of phytoplankton also resulted in a frequent run of “glowing sands” along Oregon’s coastline this summer. One species of phytoplankton called dinoflagellates, which is bioluminescent, glows in Oregon bays as well as on the beaches if conditions bring them onshore in just the right way. More on that here.

Chandler wondered about if there wasn’t another element to all this crab madness, however. “I think the good weather is a factor,” he said. “I think it’s just bringing more people out, so more people are catching crab.”


Oregon Beaches Aglow with Freaky Critters Glowing phytoplankton is spotted up and down the coast

Oregon Coastal Village Wows with Mystic Vibe, Ghost Forest Neskowin is different in many ways, including its geologic features

Oregon Travel Oddities: Sparks Above, As Below Proof that summer can yield the wildest, weirdest moments

Ghostly Tourism on Oregon’s Coast Hunting tales of ghosts is another fun pasttime on the coast

Hiking It and Roughing It on Oregon’s Coast A look at trails and rugged campgrounds

Sampling Wines and Wine Bars on the Oregon Coast Wine shops and wine bars are a growing part of coastal tourism





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In Awe of AstoriaASTORIA
Where the Columbia meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history
Serenity in SeasideSEASIDE
The Promenade, Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches
Cavort in Cannon BeachCANNON BEACH
A mysterious lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries & an art mecca
Annihilating  Beauty of Nehalem BayNEHALEM BAY
Manzanita's beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Time Trip Around Tillamook BayTILLAMOOK BAY
Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
Triple the Pleasure in 3 CapesTHREE CAPES LOOP
The hidden secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City
Miles & miles of unbroken beaches, Cascade Head, Neskowin and many manmade attractions
Divine Depoe BayDEPOE BAY
A spouting horn downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Nature in NewportNEWPORT
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Staggering Seal RockWALDPORT / SEAL ROCK
Pristine, even secretive sands and wild geologic landmarks
Aargh, there's no alliteration with Yachats - but it IS unbelievableYACHATS
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged & upscale
Unsurpassable Upper LaneUPPER LANE COUNTY
25 miles of deserted beaches & oodles of wonders
Fine Times in FlorenceFLORENCE
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy dunes




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