Sharks along the Oregon North Coast


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There have been several tell tale signs of large sharks showing up off the North coast of Oregon. The local news media has covered this here and here.

It is thought these shark bites are coming from either a Great White shark or a Seven Gill shark. Certainly this is something that would be cause for alarm for anyone that is surfing off the coast. This year there has been a lot of changes in the Pacific and the sightings of more shark attacked mammals may become the new normal. While most of the reporting going on in the most recent news stories has revolved around the North coast beaches in Clatsop county, we stumbled across this fresh seal carcass on a early morning beach walk back in August, just South of Cape Meares.

Sharks Kill Seals in Oregon

oregon great white shark kills seal

seal in oregon killed by shark

As reported in the KPTV story linked above, “Seeing shark bites isn’t alarming, we see that quite often, but not this close together. What it tells me is something is hanging around pretty close,” said Keith Chandler with Marine Mammal Stranding Network.

And while there is a couple of potential killers of seals off the Oregon coast that swim in the Pacific as highlighted by OregonLive:
“There’s only one shark that would do that: a great white,” said Jim Burke, director of animal husbandry at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport.

While other sharks go for smaller prey, particularly young marine mammals, great whites stalk larger sea creatures. They are considered “ambush animals” because of the way they attack from beneath their prey, he said.

Burke noted sharks are seen or encountered throughout the year, especially in late summer or fall fishing season. The marine mammals follow the fish, and the sharks follow them.

“The marine mammal populations are extremely healthy right now,” he said. “The predators will follow.”

Sharks can go months without eating, Burke added, so one shark or several may be attacking these animals.

You never know what you might stumble upon on your next walk on the beaches in Oregon. While it is always a sad day for the seal, the Shark has to eat too.

Swimming Dolphins Off Oregon Coast


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Dolphins in Oregon

A large group of dolphins was seen swimming offshore in the Pacific by fisherman on the hunt for early season Albacore tuna. Never know what you might see when you are 50 miles from shore. Fishing out of Garibaldi, Oregon anglers often encounter whales and other mammals, this was however quite a large group on the move.

Oregon Sport Fishing Halibut Season 2015


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The season officially opened up today for the Central Coast anglers looking to reel in a Pacific Halibut. Always refer to the Oregon Department of Fish & Game website for any changes that may occur with the regulations for marine fishing. The halibut season is very regulated to ensure that there is ample fish for everyone that wants to go and give it a shot to reel in one of these delicious bottom dwellers up from the depths. The season runs on specific days for all depth fishing and near shore opportunities as well as having regional quotas for total weight brought in by all sport anglers, that once reached closes, the fishery for the season.

If you like to fish in the ocean and have never had the joy of reeling up a halibut from 800 feet off the bottom it is an experience / workout that you should experience. The bites can be super soft where the rod just loads up or hard and instant when the bait just gets inhaled and the fish starts moving. Then the work begins trying to pry it off the sea floor and up to the surface. Nothing like halibut tacos or a big cheek on the BBQ.

Learn more about this amazing sport fishing opportunity for Halibut in Oregon at: ODFW Sport Pacific Halibut

Columbia River Sub Area
Nearshore began May 4, 2015 on days the all depth fishery is closed until the quota is caught or September 30.

All Depth Season
Opens May 1, Thursday – Sunday, Every week through the quota being filled or September 30th

Central Coast Subarea
Nearshore opens on July 1, seven days a week, inside of the 40 fathom until the quota is reached or October 31.

The All Depth season for the Central Coast region is the most heavily fished by the most anglers and is reserved the largest portion of the quota for the state. For 2015 season the Central Coast is allocated 110,649 lbs for the Spring season and 43,908 lbs for the Summer Season

Until the quota is filled the All Depth Season is available in 2015 of the following dates:
May 14 – 16
May 28 – 30
June 11 – 13
June 25 – 27
August 7-8

There are back up dates if the quota is not met.

The Southern Coast Subarea
Only has a quota of 7,318 lbs and opened on May 1 and open seven days a week through the quota being fulfilled or until October 31.

2015 season halibut oregon

Good luck out there and hopefully you catch a big one.
halibut sizes in oregon

Underwater Look At Tide Pool


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This is an awesome video that shares a perspective of the Oregon Coast most people do not see. Exploring the tide pool zones of the rocky shores are an excellent family fun activity. There is always so much life to observe, however once the water rises up and the waves start crashing all kinds of life start to pop out from their hiding places. Crabs, starfish, sea anemone’s sculpins and other little fishes all make the tidal zone their homes.

Oregon North Coast Boat Launch Locations


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North Coast Boat Launch Facilities

Boating is a popular form outdoor recreation in the Pacific Northwest, whether going out for some fishing and crabbing or just to enjoy the sites, boat ramps along the coast are well used.

The following boat launch facilities will put in you in the area to catch fish and crabs whether you are fishing the infamous Bouy 10 area of the Columbia river estuary or adventuring in the Bays from Nehalem, Tillamook, and Nestucca, the large bays in the North Coast offer tremendously healthy fisheries. If you like to just go for a boat ride and look at the native wildlife swimming around in the water and flying above then these locations will also serve your need of finding a place to enjoy the wildlife of the Oregon Coast.

View Oregon North Coast Boat Ramps in a full screen map

The Warrenton marina is a popular boat launch location near the popular Buoy 10 fishery on the Columbia. The salmon fishing is some of the best in the area with the most popular time of year being in August.

The Johns Day Ramp on the Columbia River near Astoria is a place to launch your boat and have access to the incredible fishery of the Columbia. Regardless of what you are going after this can be a good place to drop your boat into the water and go enjoy the river.

The Nehalem Landing County Boat Launch is perfect for launching into the Nehalem river / bay right near the city of Nehalem this launch is well maintained and cleaned by the Tillamook County and is great facility for the area.

The Nehalem Bay state park is a nice option on the ocean side of the bay. The park iteself is a popular place to hang out with the family and has lots of camping options and a great beach.

Launch right near the mouth of the pacific on Nehalem Bay at the Jetty Fishery Mariana and RV Park. This is a good place to take the kids if you are looking to expose them to crabbing and the bay wildlife, but do not have a boat, there are rentals and other accommodations on site.

Port of Garibaldi has a large marina area adjacent and if you are looking for a place to moor a large fishing boat then this is the spot. Regular guided fishing and crabbing trips operate out of the Port of Garibaldi and if you are looking for a chance of pursuing fish out in the Pacific ocean a summer time Tuna or Rockfish trip can be a lot of fun with the large charter boats operating from the Port of Garibaldi.

Sollie Smith is a great Wilson River boat launch located just off Wilson River Loop. The Wilson river is a well known salmon and steel head fishery and fishing from a drift boat is one of the best ways to target these fish. Boaters use this ramp as both a put in and pull out location depending on the stretch of river that they are fishing.

Mills Bridge is another drift boat launch location on the Wilson River that many boaters use to start there drift to pursue the fish in the river.

Memaloose Point Boat Launch is a county run boat ramp that is on the other side of the Tillamook bay from the Port of Garibaldi. This launch ramp is great for accessing other fishing holes in Tillamook bay and is easy to reach just being outside the town of Tillamook.

Netarts Bay Marina is available for putting your boat into Netarts bay. People enjoy crabbing in Netarts bay and due to being a tad further than Tillamook locations can be a little less busy when lots of people are at the coast from the Portland area.

Little Nestucca Boat Launch is at the mouth of the Little Nestucca into the Nestucca Bay. This area receives a substantial run of Salmon and some steel head as well and so is a favorite destination for many angers along the Oregon Coast.

Digging for Razor Clams


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The best tasting clam in Oregon

The razor clam that inhabits the Oregon beaches is known as Siliqua Patula, it is a very large and delicious clam that can be dug out of the sand during a low tide. This clam is found from all the way north in Alaska down to the middle of California and prefers to live in the beaches with large deposits of sand. If you wake up early in the morning in Seaside on a low tide you will be amazed at how many people are out digging up one of the most delicious dinners the coast has to offer. People can find them during the lowest tides of each cycle when the surf is relatively calm and the clam “shows” meaning that you can see either a small hole, a dimple in the sand, or a disturbance in the receding water from each wave that washes to shore. The razor clam is best when prepared simply with just a light batter and fried, but also can be used in clam chowder, clam fritters, seafood stews and other dishes.

Razor clams are known for moving quickly in the very soft sand with their large digger foot and so once you begin to disturb the area move quickly until you have reached it and pulled it out of the hole. always check your local regulations for the proper season to be able to go clamming and make sure that you know the limit that can be harvested. Steep fines are associated with clam diggers that over harvest or take during out of season. Always have a separate bag for holding the clams for every digger in your party as it is a big no no to put all your clams in one bag or to dig for someone else.
digging razors

When to go clam Digging?

The most popular times to pursue these bivalves is during a low tide. Review the tide tables and look for times that the tide is going to be a low minus tide and preferably the lower minus tides of the month. Clam diggers should plan to get to the beach an hour and half before the low tide to start looking for the signs of clams. Sometimes it can take only a matter of minutes to dig a limit of these tasty morsels while other days it may take up to an hour or more if the surf is rougher and the clams are deeper and not showing as easily.
clams for everyone

What do you need to find clams?

There are two primary tools for digging razor clams. The clam shovel and the clam gun. Of course you can always just use your hands, but you will likely quickly be reminded why these creatures have the word razor in their name. The sharp and thin shells can cut your fingers deep very easily. Due to the soft nature of the shells it is very important to be careful while digging with a shovel as it is very easy to crack or cut them in half, while the bits and pieces are still very edible, they will no longer retain the same impressive look on the plate that a full clam has, so be careful with whatever tool you choose.

The Clam Shovel, is a short handed shovel to mid torso length at the longest and has a very flat blade that is about 9 – 11 inches in depth. It is important when digging with a shovel to position the blade about 4 inches away from the clam show, between the hole and the ocean. Go straight down and barely lift back with the handle and pull the sand straight up. This will remove the dirt without breaking the shovel, for a clam that is deeper you may need to repeat the process a couple of times. These clams move quickly in the wet sand so be ready to reach down and grab them before they disappear into the liquefied sand of the surf.

The clam gun is designed to quickly reach the clam and pull it out in one full motion. the gun will be a circular tube with handles and a vent hole. Simple place the gun over the show, drive it all the way down, put your finger over the air vent and pull up. Make sure to lift with your legs and not your back otherwise you can quickly wear yourself out and even cause an injury to yourself. The wet sand grips the gun tightly and can require some serious pulling on to get moving. Repeat if necessary to reach the shellfish.

Here is how to do it

Getting it done with the shovel. Use the butt end to pound the sand and find the shows and then dig up your prize.

The clam gun makes it quick and easy for anyone to dig a clam in the sand.

Cleaning the Clams

There is lots of ways to clean a razor clam. Some people like to slightly boil them and then quickly place them in ice water to stop the cooking process. This can make the shell removal easier, but risks cooking the meat. I prefer to remove the shells with a oyster knife and then continue to process them, removing the nasty parts of the gut and intestine and cleaning the siphons so that the meat is ready to be panko crusted and fried or chopped up into the best chowder meat ever.
cleaning razor clams Razor Clam with no shell

The standard fried razor clam recipe
razor clam recipe

The Tsunami Bar and Grill – Wheeler, Oregon


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Located in the middle of the quiet town of Wheeler, Oregon the Tsunami Grill is one of the best options for lunch or dinner in the local area. Situated right on the Nehalem bay / river, they have seating options inside and out, with amazing views of the bay estuary. Wheeler is a small town in between Nehalem and Rockaway Beach, along the Oregon Coast highway. There are several antique shops in the town to browse with cool and unique stuff. The public boat launch for the town of wheeler is next door and stays busy during the spring and fall salmon runs making for always something to watch when sitting out on the deck enjoying a cold one. There is a good chance to watch an angler catch a chinook or coho salmon while eating out on the back deck overlooking the water as the Tsuanami Bar Grill is located right in front of a known fish holding spot.

tsunami bar and grill view

Serving traditional American favorites like a cheeseburgers and coast specialties like clam chowder make it a perfect fit for most groups. If you like Asian inspired food than certainly consider checking out the rice and BBQ pork dish, it is phenomenal and comes with a side of veggies. The spring rolls and spicy dipping sauce are a personal favorite, especially when you just need a little appetizer to snack on with a glass of beer or wine.

The pricing is reasonable for a place on the coast with a great view and good food. The service is excellent, always kept our drinks full and food came out at an acceptable pace.

Grab a drink in the bar or sit out on the patio deck looking at the river and just relax.