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 in  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.

Spring Whale Watching Season Quick Guide

Photo Credit: Whale Spoken Here

Spring Whale Watching Season Quick Guide

Spring is just around the corner and with spring comes the whale migration. During this annual migration about 18,000 gray whales pass just off the coast of Oregon. Yes, you read that right, 18,000! While there are some resident gray whales that stay year round just off the coast, this is the one of the best time to see them. During this time mother grays heading north tend to stay closer to shore with their young, which makes land based spotting much easier.

While the majority of cetaceans(marine mammal) involved in the spring migration the Oregon Coastline are gray whales, there are plenty of other species to watch out for any time you are on the coast.

Orcas– While they are spotted year round, spring tends to be the best time of year to spot Orcas.  This is when you will see them hunting along the coastline. Orcas tend to be spotted more in the area from Newport to Depoe Bay. From time to time they do venture into the bays especially Yaquina Bay in Newport.

Photo: Unknown

Minke– Reaching about 35 feet in length and feeding in the same areas as gray whales, the way to tell the difference is their white underside.






Blue– The mighty blue stays far offshore, 10 miles or more and are rarely seen closer to shore.

Humpback– Generally seen to 5 to 15 miles out at sea.

Dall’s Porpoise– Living only in the North Pacific this black and white porpoise can swim up to 35 miles per hour.

Harbor Porpoise– This small cetacean tends to stay close to shore and is a little timid.


Great Places To Spot Cetaceans On The Central Coast

  • The Whale Watching Center/Depoe Bay Sea Wall
  • Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint
  • Cape Foulweather
  • Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area
  • Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area
  • Don Davis City Park
  • Cape Perpetua Interpretive Center
  • Cook’s Chasm Turnout
  • Sea Lion Caves Turnout – at the turnout south of the tunnel


Keep your eyes on the horizon and be on the lookout for the spray. Happy watching!


Hope Springs!!

One of the many definitions of the word spring is, “to be released suddenly from a constrained position.” In the dictionary, this is referring to a door being sprung open, but you could also relate it to the changing of the seasons from Winter to Spring. Those long, cold months held up inside have been very relaxing, but eventually the birds start chirping louder, the days get longer, and it’s time to escape our fleece sheets and hot cocoa hibernation in anticipation of all the new delights ahead. Hope springs…

For those fortunate enough to live near the mighty Pacific, or to make a visit to the Central Oregon coast, springtime affords the opportunity to escape the doldrums of winter and seek new adventures on its shores. This got me thinking of an old quote from a Stephen King book about the Pacific Ocean:
“You know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has no memory. That’s where I want to live the rest of my life. A warm place with no memory.”

The Pacific may indeed have no memory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make memories of your own. One such destination to do so is the lovely central Oregon coast. We are particularly fond of Yachats and Waldport, but you can’t go wrong anywhere along this beautiful stretch of coastline.

The central coast region, from Newport in the North to Florence to the South, is full of options for travelers of all ages and interests. Everyone knows about the great beaches — both sandy ones that are perfect for strolling, running, kite flying, and wave watching, and rocky ones that often boast great tide pooling opportunities to find the perfect agate or silver dollar seashell — but there’s room for more imagination during springtime at the coast.

If the sight of mammoth sea creatures is your thing, spring marks the start of some terrific opportunities to spot gray whales making their way North. From March 22-30, visitors can take part in the Spring Whale Watch Spoken Here program coordinated by the Oregon Parks and Recreation department. The Spoken Here program has been around for more than 30 years so the chances of spotting a whale are pretty good as trained volunteers are placed at 24 sites up and down the coast from Washington to Crescent City, California to help onlookers hopefully catch a glimpse of the whales and you can bet there’s plenty of spots in Oregon as well. From the Sea Lion Caves to Cook’s Chasm to Don Davis Park, visitors to the area can look forward to many prime whale watching spots.

While that particular week is best for seeing a heard of gray whales specifically, thanks to the experienced guides, there are plenty of other migrating grays and other fish in the sea. North of Yachats is Depoe Bay, which is home to the Whale Watching Center. Located north of the Depoe Bay Bridge, the center informs visitors on how to observe whale migration as well as provides information about the history and environmental influences on the different species of Pacific whales.

If a hands-on approach is more to your liking, the Waldport Bay, Newport Bay, and Depoe Bay areas all have whale watching and fishing trips available as well. What could be better than a day on the high seas with expert sailors to guide your tour? It’s so exciting that even Jack Nicholson and a bunch of fellow patients decided to take a trip out of Depoe Bay in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

And perhaps when your attention isn’t directed at the whales (I know, it’s hard), you can stop by other attractions and scenic areas such as Strawberry Hill for a terrific sunset, Devil’s Churn to gain an appreciation for the power of the Pacific’s waves (don’t be scared off by the name), and various campgrounds in case you feel that springtime need to pitch a tent and breathe in deeply the sights, sounds, and smells of renewal.

Spring is here, and we wish you a season filled with invigoration, renewal, and joy! And remember that Sweet Homes Rentals is here to help if you or your family or friends would like to enjoy the coast from a beautiful beachside home, or sit in a hot tub overlooking the Pacific. The hot bubbly water may steam up your binocular lenses, so you’ll just have to pull yourself away from whale watching long enough to enjoy a good relaxing soak!