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Low Minus Tides This Weekend On Oregon Coast: Last of Clamming, Beaches Uncovered

Published 06/29/23 at 3:31 a.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Low Minus Tides This Weekend On Oregon Coast: Last of Clamming, Beaches Uncovered

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(Warrenton, Oregon) – This holiday weekend will see a series of really big minus tides starting Friday, which will give clammers on the north Oregon coast's Clatsop Beach a great opportunity to snag some exceptionally larger razor clams. It's also the last blast of that harvesting as the annual conservation closure for that stretch of beach begins on July 15. (Above: low tide at Bandon, courtesy Manuela Durson - see Manuela Durson Fine Arts for more)

Those minus tides also mean some major adventures around the Oregon coast, as many areas will suddenly become briefly uncovered by tides. It offers a chance at getting rare access.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said this low tide series continues through the Fourth of July, and in that stretch between Warrenton and Seaside there have been what they called “super-sized razor clams.” That area is the most prolific for the tasty little critter, comprising some 90 percent of the Oregon coast's population of razor clams.


Photo Seaside Aquarium

But at midnight on July 15, the closure begins.

“Since 1967, Clatsop beaches close each year July 15-Sept. 30 for conservation,” ODFW said. “This lets young clams settle on the beaches and provide future harvest opportunities.”

Most of the Oregon coast is still closed due to elevated domoic acid levels, which includes much of Lincoln County, all of Tillamook County and all of the south coast. However, from the Washington border to Tillamook Head (Seaside) and from Florence's north jetty to Seal Rock are still open.

Before you head out to go razor clamming, you need to have a shellfishing license. Other important information:

- Call the Shellfish Safety Hotline at 800-448-2474.
- Daily limit: first 15 clams dug, regardless of size or condition.
- Each digger must have their own container, dig their own clams, and can only have one limit in possession while in the clam digging area (see exception under an Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit.)

Clam diggers can check Clatsop tide charts and go to ODFW’s clamming page for more information on razor clamming.

The lowest minus tides happen Friday through Tuesday on the Fourth of July. This means everyone else will be out on the coast as well. Minus tides are around -1.1 to nearly -3 feet in many areas, and they happen in the early mornings at around 7 to 8 a.m. Early evening low tides are around one foot or so.


Oceanside / Oregon Coast Beach Connection

However, those extreme low tides bring rare access to many areas, allowing you to peek at rocky structures you normally cannot touch. This will be for only a couple of hours, so keep a close eye on tide tables for whatever area you're in.

On the southern Oregon coast, for example, the Coos Bay area will a -1.88 tide around 6 a.m. on July 1; and then a -2.30 foot tide on July 2 at 6:40 a.m. On July 3 it again passes the -2 mark, and on the fourth it hits -2.4 around 7:30 a.m.

You should be able to see much more of the Gregory Point area, and places like Bandon's Face Rock or Port Orford's Sister Rock should reveal many new things and accessibility.

Other places to check out:

Meyers Beach near Gold Beach, the giant gap at Harris Beach near Brookings, the bottom of Humbug Mountain and Sunset Bay near Coos Bay. On the northern half of the Oregon coast: Yachats will be particularly interesting and revealing; Newport's Yaquina Head will be showing a new side; Oceanside and Pacific City will also provide unusual glimpses to the rocky headlands there. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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Keywords: Oregon Coast, extreme low tides, Coos Bay, Bandon, Seaside, clamming, new beaches