The Bountiful Bay

The Bountiful Bay

When one is on the Central Oregon Coast all the natural beauty makes it easy to see why people love this stretch of coast. Visitors passing through may not have the time or not even know that on the main thoroughfare of Highway 101 lies an bay opening up to the Pacific that is not only beautiful but bountiful! This place is the Alsea Bay. While driving over the Alsea Bay Bridge, one may notice boats in the bay and people along the shoreline. Most of the time these people are not just out for a stroll or a pleasure cruise in their boat, they are out search for one of the many inhabitants of the bay.

What Are They Searching For?

Most boats you will see are out looking for the perfect location to drop their pots for Dungeness crab. Fisherman drop their pots, rings or lines with their special blend of crab food, hot dogs are a crab favorite, go figure, into the bay for a while and let them soak. After ample soaking time the pots are brought to the surface and the crab catch is sorted for keepers. The rules for keeping crab catch are: males only that are 5 3/4 inches or larger, measured immediately in front of but not including the points. Each person is only allowed 3 rings, pots or lines while crabbing. Crabbing from the docks and shoreline is an option if you do not have a boat.

During low tide events people line the shore and look for Bay Clams and other types of clam species. Bay clams consist of Gaper, Butter, Littleneck, Cockle and Geoduck. When collecting Bay clams you are allowed a max catch of 20 clams of which an aggregate of only 12 may be of the Gaper or Geoduck species. Another couple of rules regarding the harvesting of calms are you are not allowed to remove the clam from the shell before leaving harvest area and each digger must have their own container and dig their own clams.

Photo: Olan Halbrook via

Winter Steelhead- One of the most coveted catches due not only to the taste of the fish but the fun involved in catching. Steelhead are know for their penchant to make fast runs and break the surface while on a line. The winter Steelhead run in the Alsea begins inĀ  December, January, February and March, typically peaking in mid January to mid February.

Photo: Oregon State University

Chinook salmon- The largest of the Pacific salmon, Chinook head up the Alsea to return to its spawning ground to release the future generation of fish. Fishing typically begins in August. When the salmon begin congregating in holding areas waiting for the rivers to rise the catch is on! You will see many boats and shore fisherman vying to land a catch.


Want to try your hand at crabbing, fishing or calming on your next visit to the Central Oregon Coast? No matter if you are an Oregon resident or from out of state, getting a fishing license is easy and the law. Make sure if you want to catch salmon or Steelhead you have an the Combined Angling Tag in addition to the regular fishing license. Single or multi day tags are available for crabbing and most locations that rent crab gear also sell the license, if you are just here for a few days.



Want to see the General Recreation Report for fishing and crabbing from the Oregon Department of Wildlife CLICK HERE

Important regulations for the Alsea Bay and surrounding areas is available HERE

We have some homes perfect in the Bayshore area for those looking to fish, crab or calm Check or give us a call at 800-519-0437 and we will be more than happy to help.