I don’t know what my favorite activity was on the Oregon coast. Between glass blowing, clamming, and crab fishing, its a three way tie for first. We had the opportunity to enjoy some Oregon Coast Dungeness Crab Fishing and it was an experience we won’t soon forget.
Our first crab fishing adventure was in the Alsea Bay, courtesy of McKinley’s RV Park. Once we figured out system/process to follow we had a lot of success. We were there towards the beginning of the season, crabbing during the last week of July.
Crab Fishing Tips
The key to success when crabbing, at least from our experience, is to try a lot of spots. Once you find a good one you need to tighten up the concentration of your nets to hit that area hard. You don’t want to over commit by staying too long either. Once you start pulling up half empty crab baskets its time to spread them out to find another “honey hole.” There really is a skill to this.
Another tip when crabbing the Alsea Bay is to get comfortable navigating in the boat. Inevitably, you will have to navigate through some tight areas due to other crabbers not respecting your space on the water. There was one time another boater was using floating rope and it got caught in our propeller. I get a bit of anxiety on the water, which only added to the stress of the situation.
If you are not an experienced boater, I definitely recommend spending the first 10-20 minutes driving around to get comfortable. Spending this time will help prevent an accident. After all, you are reaching back behind you steering in reverse. It is harder than it looks, for the first couple minutes anyway. This is an experience worth my discomfort. Now I can cross being a family of five packed in a small boat off my bucket list.
Best Crab Fishing Oregon Coast
Our second experience hunting the not-so-elusive Dungeness Crab came in Netarts Bay. This was a completely different experience than the Alsea Bay, even though it was the same activity of dropping baskets from a small boat, driving in a circle to pick them up, and repeating..
There were additional species of crab that we were lucky enough to catch in Netarts. We caught several Red Rock Crab and even saw one Northern Kelp Crab that jumped out before getting in the boat. Rule #37 on a fishing boat: If it doesn’t make it in the boat, it doesn’t count as a catch. Seeing the Kelp Crab was still pretty cool though.
Overall, Oregon Coast crab fishing was one bad*** experience. Driving the boat can be stressful, at least for me, but stress aside crab fishing was one of the most fun activities I have done. You have some amazing views out on the water in Alsea. The architecture of the bridge going over the bay looks really neat from a boat on the water, too.
We saw Sea Lions laying out on the sand bar and listened to them barking at each other. Netarts was definitely better crabbing than Alsea, but the experience was great both places. They had a nice facility for cleaning your catch, which worked out well since we almost hit our limit.
Getting to enjoy this experience is prime example of why we love rv travel.
Make sure you get your shellfish license before crab fishing.