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Crabbing/Clamming

Discussion in 'Northwest Fishing' started by FortunateSon, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. FortunateSon

    FortunateSon Marion County Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    My wife and I have never been crabbing or clamming but want to give it a try this year. We live in the Salem area and would be willing to travel from Newport north to the Tillamook area.

    We would most likely rent equipment as we give it a test drive, and if we decide we like it would buy our own.

    Would any of you good folks experienced in this sport be willing to offer up advise on locations, tactics, and equipment and bait suggestions? All info will be appreciated!
     
  2. 1stklass

    1stklass salem oregon Well-Known Member

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    Sent PM about clamming :thumbup:

    Oh, we have Always limited out in the area i suggested. :cool:
     
  3. FortunateSon

    FortunateSon Marion County Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Got the PMs, thanks for the info guys!
     
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  4. clambo

    clambo Vancouver, Wa. Well-Known Member

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    I love to dig clams....I'll try and give you the simple lowdown. As far as I know Razor Clam digging is not really worthwhile until you get up north near Seaside/Gearhart. At least that's where I used to go when I lived in Oregon. For a beginner a " clam gun " is the easier way to go. You can rent them locally in the beach towns or buy one, theyre about $50 for a good one or as low as $20 for a PVC pipe gun. Look for extreme low tides..the lower the better...sometimes this means clamming in the dark so good headlamps and flashlights are sometimes necessary. Clams show themselves with a tiny donut looking blow hole in the sand, this is your target. Place your clam gun over the blow hole and force your clam gun as far into the sand as possible. Keep a slight angle on your gun of say 20 degrees with the handle towards the shore. ( This helps follow their digging path and you won't break as many clams.) At the bottom of your thrust cover the clam gun vent hole with your thumb and pull it out of the sand. With a little luck you should have a clam on the column of sand you just sucked out. You may miss and have to reach into the hole and dig a little with your hands to retrieve your clam, but that's no big deal.

    Be sure to check the current Oregon regs, I'm not upto date on them anymore. Always keep an eye out for sneaker waves.....and good luck !
     
  5. IheartGUNS

    IheartGUNS WaCo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the heads up on sneaker waves. I never heard of it until I read this thread.
     
  6. OEDub

    OEDub SW OR Coast Active Member

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    Before venturing out to harvest shellfish, always check with the Dept of Agriculture to see if there are any safety closures. The 1-800 number is the most updated, so give it a call before heading west. It would be a shame to drive all the way and find out that there are elevated toxin levels. It would be even worse to NOT find out and have your loved ones contract PSP.

    ODA Food Safety Shellfish safety closures
     
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  7. clambo

    clambo Vancouver, Wa. Well-Known Member

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    Yes, several people a year get killed or hurt by sneaker waves. Sometimes drowned and sometimes hit by a log carried by the surf. All that wood has to get washed up there somehow ! It's pretty easy to get zapped when it's dark, you're tired, your back is to the surf, and your attention is on the clams. They usually get me when I'm on my hands and knees too. Obviously I haven't been killed yet ( to the dismay of some ) but I have learned to body surf in full waders. Not much fun. Waves are also a threat when I surf fish or jetty fish, two more activities that I love. My father in law was nearly killed jetty fishing at Barview but was rescued by some other observant fisherman. An inflatable PFD is not a bad idea especially if you're in waders.
     
  8. 1stklass

    1stklass salem oregon Well-Known Member

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    Those typically only apply to Razor Clamming, bay clams like Butter, Cockle, Gaper and softshells are almost never affected by those closures.
     
  9. OEDub

    OEDub SW OR Coast Active Member

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    Most of the harmful algae blooms originate in the ocean, this is why species such as mussles and razor clams are more commonly associated with these closures. Bay clam species typically are exposed when the toxins are brought in on an incoming tide. Don't allow this to make you complacent, though. Paralytic Shellfish Toxins are pretty much always present...even in the estuarine-based clam species. Closures occur when levels exceed 80 micrograms, but are still commonly found around the 30 to 40-ish range. It really takes very little time to breach that closure threshold. A few days of prime conditions (runoff from livestock & residential activity followed by warm weather) can push the PST level quite high, quite quickly. While this shouldn't deter you from pursuing shellfish, one should be aware of the potential risks involved and take precaution against said risks. A 30 second phone call is a minimal inconvenience...especially if you are driving several hours. I live two blocks from the bay, work with one of the shellfish biologists who conducts the testing on the south coast and I still make the call prior to clamming.

    Like I said, don't let this discourage or deter you from harvesting shellfish altogether. It's a great activity, inexpensive, and deliciously rewarding! Just call ODA prior to making the trip. :)
     
  10. nextgenar

    nextgenar roseburg Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I was crabbing at Newport last weekend, it wasn't real good but we got enough rock crabs to eat, 6 one day and 17 the next, we were crabbing on the dock behind the rouge brewery under the Newport bridge. But make sure you get there just before a slack tide, that tide runs real fast there and your rings won't stay down. You can rent rings there at the marina. As for clamming you can dig clams under the bridge also, gapers and cockles, is all I saw there, there are some great low tides in April, May and June this year, I will be digging down at Charleston, we dug our limits of Gapers there in 30 minutes last weekend, make some incredible clam chowder. Good luck and have fun.
     
  11. 1stklass

    1stklass salem oregon Well-Known Member

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    I Usually use rings for rock crabs on the fingers of rock further out on the jetty. Put the rings as close to the rocks as you can(usually as far out as you can throw them) and make sure the tide whichever way its flowing is putting the scent back into the rocks. I have lost a couple rings out there, and i have gone diving in my street clothes to get a ring back on more than one occasion! :bluelaugh:
    Again, Oedub is right, make sure to make the call but specifically ask about bay clams vs ocean clams. In the last 15 years there has only been one time where i called and bay clams were closed where i clam in Newport Bay. And they test for the toxins within 100 feet of where i clam right off of the NOAA building.
     
  12. nwhpfan

    nwhpfan Hopville Active Member

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  13. FortunateSon

    FortunateSon Marion County Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Watching Grant's Getaways is what got us interested in the first place. We like the show and it has convinced us that we need to get out more and see and experience some of the things that you can only find in the PNW.

    Thanks for all of the input guys! Taking notes.....