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Free Fishing, Clamming, Crabbing Weekend On Oregon Coast Feb. 19 - 20

Published 02/13/22 at 7:32 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Free Fishing, Clamming, Crabbing Weekend On Oregon Coast Feb. 19 - 20

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(Oregon Coast) – On this particular Presidents' Day Weekend, you can make out like a VIP in the world of really fresh seafood. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) hosts its Free Fishing Weekend on February 19 and 20, where anyone can fish, clam and crab for no cost and without a license, which includes the Oregon coast.

Normally you'll need a fishing / shellfish license or tags to engage in any of these recreational forms of harvesting along the Oregon coast or inland bodies of water, but not this weekend. It's also true for Oregon residents and nonresidents: out-of-state visitors can dig right in as well.

ODFW said all other fishing regulations will apply, as well as any restrictions of clamming or crabbing – which include closures, bag limits and sizes of catch. These can change with the season, ODFW said, so keep an eye on for any shifts in what's happening with salmon or steelhead.

(Above: Humbug Mountain. Courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more)

ODFW's Recreation Report has the best on fishing opportunities throughout the state. Beginners to the activity may want to check out Easy Angling Oregon, which is a guide to getting started with fishing. For those living in inland areas like Portland, Bend, Medford, Roseburg or in Lane County, there are lots of nearby options.

Along the Oregon coast, there's not just lots of fishing going on but crabbing and clamming are the hot items, as just about always. MyODFW has all the information you'll need to get into that world, even if you're just “getting your feet wet” for the first time.

“Remember to check ocean conditions and take safety precautions: always clam with a friend and never turn your back on the ocean,” ODFW said.

Major hotspots along the Oregon coast for crabbing are Newport's Yaquina Bay, Bandon, and the 12 Ave. bridge at Seaside. ODFW said with the dry weather, crab are moving back into the estuaries so crabbing could be good.

Currently, crabbing is open in bays, beaches, estuaries, tide pools, piers and jetties along the entire Oregon coast and in the ocean.

Razor clamming is currently closed from Cape Blanco, north of Port Orford, to the California border because domoic acid toxin levels are above the closure limit. However, the state's most prolific area is from Seaside through Warrenton and that area is completely open.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture regularly tests shellfish and closes areas when naturally occurring biotoxins get to levels that make crabs and clams unsafe to eat. Always call the ODA Shellfish safety hotline at 1-800-448-2474 or check their Shellfish page before you go out.

For fishing along the Oregon coast, ODFW said it's best to cast your line around rocky headlands, jetties, nearshore reefs and offshore pinnacles. Catches include rockfish, lingcod, greenling, cabezon and flatfish.

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