Mile by Mile Map of the Oregon Coast Trail from the Astoria-Megler Bridge to Oswald West State Park

The Mile by Mile Recreational Guide to the Oregon Coast follows the Oregon Coast Trail from mile 0.0 at the border of Washington and Oregon to its end the Winchuck Beach at mile 362.2 just above the California border.

The Mile by Mile Recreational Guide to the Oregon Coast Based on the Oregon Coast Trail in conjunction with the mile by mile signs posted on Hwy 101 with the exception of the Cape Arago Highway and Seven Devils Road between Charleston and the intersection of the Seven Devils Road and Hwy 101 above Bandon in addition the Three Capes Scenic Loop from Pacific City to Tillamook and the Ridge Road associated with the Fort Stevens State Park.

The Mile by Mile Recreational Guide for the Oregon Coast is divided into the 10 regional maps of the Oregon Coast Trail.

The first map section of the Oregon Coast Trail from Astoria-Megler Bridge to Oswald West State Park is the only section that contains the links of recreational interest common to all regions of the Oregon Coast. Click On the link to view the Internet Links that support the activities common to the Oregon Coast Trail or view the Introduction to Ecological values of the Tidal Zone.

Mile by Mile Continuation:

Mile 0.0 The Astoria–Megler Bridge is a steel cantilever through truss bridge that spans the Columbia River between Astoria, Oregon and Point Ellice near Megler, Washington, in the United States. Located 14 miles (23 km) from the mouth of the river, the bridge is 4.1 miles (6.6 km) long[4] and was the last completed segment of U.S. Route 101 between Olympia, Washington, and Los Angeles, California.[5] It is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America. From the Wikipedia. Scroll down the webpage to view the recreational opportunities associated with the Lower Columbia River Estuary or click HERE to proceed to resume the Mile by Mile continuation at the razor clam beaches associated with Clatsop Spit.

The Astoria-Melger Bridge is nearly 100 miles from Portland via Hwy 30, which is about 2 hours and 10 minute drive. The trip from Portland to the Astoria Megler Bridge on Hwy 26 is nearly 2 hour drive. Let your travel agenda be your guide.

3.0 The Astoria Column and the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

6.6 Fort Stevens, City of Warrington Boat Launch and the Hammond Marina Boat Launch access is gained by turning west from Hwy 101 onto E Harbor Drive. Drive west 1.1 miles toward the City of Warrington boat launch. Turn left onto Ensign. The 2 lane Warrington boat launch is on the left.

The Hammond Marina boat launch is located in the community of Hammond. Turn west from Hwy 101 onto E Harbor Drive. Drive west for 1.3 miles. Bear right onto OR-104, N Main Ave. N Main Ave becomes NW Warrington Dr. Keep right to stay on OR-104 when NW Warrington Dr. becomes Pacific Dr. Turn right onto Iredale St. and proceed to the 3 lane Hammond boat launch located on the right.

Fort Stevens is located through the City of Warrington and the community of Hammond. Turn west from Hwy 101 onto E Harbor Drive. Drive west for 1.3 miles. Bear right onto OR-104, N Main Ave. N Main Ave becomes NW Warrington Dr. Keep right to stay on OR-104 when NW Warrington Dr. becomes Pacific Dr. Turn left onto Lake Dr. Lake Drive becomes NW Ridge Rd the access road to Fort Stevens State Park. Turn to the right onto Jetty Rd to access the recreational resources and attractions associated with the South Jetty of the Columbia River Estuary or proceed to the main entrance of Fort Stevens by turning right onto the Peter Iredale Rd.

7.0 Fort Clatsop National Memorial provides visitors with a look into the historic past. Each summer the National Park Service offers programs that depict the daily activities of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The memorial is a complete replica of the site where Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805–06. The winter was particularly hard on our nations most celebrated explorers. To access the Fort Clatsop Memorial, turn southeast onto Old Highway 101 and then south on Fort Clatsop Road.

Fort Clatsop is the eastern entry point to the The Fort to Sea Trail from Fort Clatsop to the western entry point at Sunset Beach State Park. Those of you who make the exciting adventure hiking the Fort to Sea Trail must have a ride to either entry point or park your vehicle at either entry point and make the return hike or have a vehicle at both entry points. Any way you cut it satisifaction is your reward for making the hike.

7.5 Ridge Road/Columbia Beach Road is the access road to Columbia Beach, Fort Stevens State Park, Fort Stevens Historic Museum, Clatsop Spit and the South Jetty at Clatsop Spit. Turn west onto Ridge Road/Columbia Beach Road from Highway 101.

Fort Stevens was once the primary military defense installation in the three-fort, Harbor Defense System at the mouth of the Columbia River (along with Forts Canby and Columbia in Washington). The fort saw service for 84 years, from the Civil War to World War II. Today, Fort Stevens has grown into a 4,300 acre park offering exploration of history, nature, and many recreational opportunities.

Camping, beach-combing, freshwater lake swimming, trails, wildlife viewing, a historic shipwreck, and a historic military fort make Fort Stevens a uniquely diverse park. The park also has a network of nine miles of paved bicycle trails and six miles of hiking trails that allow for exploring a variety of habitats including spruce and hemlock forests, wetlands, dunes, and shore pine areas.

Coffenbury Lake has two swimming areas, a picnic area, restrooms, and a boat ramp. Two smaller neighboring lakes are great for fishing and canoeing.

Throughout the year, you can enjoy displays ranging from the Civil War to World War II at the military museum and information center, visit the only Civil War era earthen fort on the west coast, or explore the many turn-of-the-century, concrete coast artillery gun batteries.

During the summer, take a tour underground through a rare gun battery that also served as a World War II command center, ride in the back of a period military transport truck and see the fortifications from a whole new perspective, or get a feel for what the inside of a military jail was like as you walk through one of the last brick constructed guard houses in the country.  For more information regarding these tours, please contact the Friends Of Old Fort Stevens at 503-861-2000.

The park continues to have the longest running partnership with a friends group in the state of Oregon. The Friends Of Old Fort Stevens is a 501(C)3, nonprofit group dedicated to preserving, restoring, and interpreting historic Fort Stevens. Funds earned by the Friends Of Old Fort Stevens are utilized to further enhance the historic areas of Fort Stevens State Park for future generations.

The Peter Iredale Road is the main entrance to Fort Stevens State Park, Coffenbury Lake and the beach access to Columbia Beach and Clatsop spit. The Peter Iredale Road is the only road that allows access to the ocean beach by motor vehicles. Motor vehicles are allowed on the ocean beaches all year except the beach northward from the wreck of the Peter Iredale is closed to vehicular access from May 1st to September 15th from 12:01 P.M. to Midnight. Fort Stevens State Park is a full service State Park. There is ample parking at all of the Fort Stevens recreational areas. Coffenbury Lake is stocked with rainbow trout throughout the summer. Columbia Beach is the site of the grounded British bark Peter Iredale. The rusting skeleton of the ship has been the dominant feature on the beach since running aground on October 25, 1906.

Razor clams of the Peter Iredale

Click on the ODFW Weekly Recreational Marine Report for information digging razor clams on Clatsop Spit.

Information Report 2000-06. Link, T. 2000. History and status of Oregon's Pacific razor clam resource.

7.5 Columbia Beach and the ocean beach at Clatsop Spit offer the clam digger some of the best razor clam digging on the Oregon Coast. The fishing for redtail surfperch ranges from poor to excellent from late spring through the summer as the perch migrate along Oregon’s beaches. The pregnant females enter Oregon's Bays to give live birth to their young while the males feed in the surf along the beaches outside of the bays. Picking editable mushrooms is popular recreational activity at Fort Stevens State Park, but be 100 percent sure that the mushroom picked is an editable one. No guessing allowed. Beachcombing after a storm Searching for Agates is another recreational activity that is very popular with beach goers.

Turn west into the Day Use Entrance of Fort Stevens State Park to access the ocean beach at Clatsop Spit, the south jetty at Clatsop Spit and the beach at the Jetty Sands on the southern shore of the Columbia River. Vehicle access is allowed to the beach at the Jetty Sands.

The access roads to the parking areas adjacent to the ocean beach at Clatsop Spit and to the south jetty at Clatsop Spit are open twenty–four hours daily. Clatsop Spit and the south jetty at Clatsop Spit are divided into geographical areas A, B, C and D. There are signs located at the entrances of the access roads that identify each area. Areas A and B are the access roads to the parking area adjacent to Clatsop Spit Beach. Digging for razor clams, surf fishing for redtail surfperch and beach combing are the attractions here. Area C is the access road to the parking area adjacent to Clatsop Spit Beach and the south jetty at Clatsop Spit. There is a viewing platform at the beginning of the jetty that offers an exceptional view of the mouth of the Columbia River, Clatsop Beach and Clatsop Spit. Digging for razor clams, surf fishing for redtail surfperch, fishing from the south jetty and beach combing are the attractions here. Area D is the access road to the parking area adjacent to the southern shore of the Columbia River located at the tip of Clatsop Spit. The beach on the southern shore is referred to as the Jetty Sands or Social Security Beach by local anglers. Parking is allowed on the beach at Jetty Sands. Excellent fishing for sturgeon, redtail perch, crabbing and wildlife viewing are the attractions here.

When Sturgeon was King of the Columbia at Fort Stevens.

Turn onto Pacific Drive from Ridge Road/Columbia Beach Road and follow the sign to the jetty at the Historic Fort Stevens Museum. Vehicular access to the Historic Fort Stevens is restricted to the hours the park is open, from 10:00 am to 6:00 p.m. seven days a week. Historic Fort Stevens was a major defense installation from the Civil War through World War Two. Today the remains of the Fort, the museum, the guard house, the barracks site and the battlements in conjunction with the beauty of the surrounding area fulfill the expectations of the visitor. The park is well known for reenactment of Civil War Battles over the Labor Day Weekend.

The Lower Columbia River Estuary

The Lower Columbia River Estuary. The Navigational Charts in this publication are out of date and are intended for informational use only.

The lower Columbia River is rich with American History. Robert Grey named the Columbia River after sailing his ship the Columbia Rediviva into the river in 1792. The Lewis and Clark Expedition followed Robert Grey’s visit to the Columbia River establishing our nation’s claim to Pacific Northwest. Astoria is the oldest permanent American settlement west of the Mississippi River and was founded by the Pacific Fur Trading Company in 1810. The company sent two parties to establish a trading post at the mouth of the Columbia River. One party sailed around Cape Horn to establish Astoria and one party was sent overland establishing the Oregon Trail. John Jacob Astor was the leader of the expedition that established the trading post Astoria.

Known as the Graveyard of the Pacific the Columbia River bar is the most dangerous to cross on the Pacific Coast. More than two thousand ships have sunk attempting to cross the bar. Only venture onto the Columbia River Estuary in boats greater than the arbitrary length of 20 feet that are fully equipped to handle ocean conditions.

Boating in the Lower Columbia River Estuary

Safe boating is always your first priority. The U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers a number of classes that skippers of small boats, their families and boat mates should take before considering boating in Oregon’s coastal waters.

The safety and comfort of everyone onboard is your responsibility once your family and guests board your boat. Before getting underway go over your procedural check list each and every time making sure all hatch covers are secure, the engine compartment vented, check the engine oil levels, test carbon monoxide alarms, do a radio check and secure all loose gear etc. Make it a practice to fill the fuel tanks before leaving the marina or boat launch. Never consume more than half of the fuel onboard before the boat is back at the dock.

Each person onboard should be required to wear a life jacket for the duration of the trip. Always wear a life jacket when crossing the bar. In an emergency you will not have the time to put on a life jacket. A life jacket stored away in an inconspicuous location or laying just inches away from your grasp will cost you or your loved ones your lives should the boat sink or roll over.

It is strongly recommended that you include the purchase of survival suits when you finance the purchase of your boat. It is foolish to cross the bar into the open ocean without survival suits on hand for all those onboard. Practice putting them on and do not hesitate wear them if you believe you may need them. If your boat sinks or you have to abandon it because of fire the Coast Guard may not be able to find you and pull you from the water before your core body temperature has fallen lower than your ability to survive like my friend, Randy Bacon, in the water 45 minutes, RIP.

The dynamics of fishing in the ocean, bays and the tidal reach of river channels underscore the importance of marine electronics to anglers. A GPS for pinpoint navigation is necessary for safe boating; a fathometer fish/finder to monitor water depth when boating in shallow water and radar to facilitate safe boating in the fog or entry into a harbor. To assure a safe boating trip the boat should also be equipped with a marine radio tuned to monitor channel 16, a CB radio, cell phone, a compass, navigational charts and a skipper knowledgeable in their use.

Always check the tide and extended marine forecast when planning to go boating in the open ocean or in the jetty channel of Oregon’s Bays. Resist the desire to cross the bar when small craft advisories or warning are posted and the ocean is calm. Ocean conditions can change faster than your ability to return to the harbor or before the Coast Guard restricts the length of vessels allowed to cross the bar or closes the bar altogether.

The decision to cross the bar begins before launching the boat or departing the marina by accessing current ocean conditions at the bar and the extended marine forecast off shore by calling permanently manned Coast Guard stations at Cape Disappointment 360-642-3565, 503-322-3234 for Tillamook Bay at Garibaldi, 541-765-2122 for Depoe Bay, 541-265-5511 for Yaquina Bay, 541-902-7792 for the Siuslaw River Estuary, 541-271-8417 for the Umpqua River, 541-888-3102 for Coos Bay and 541-469-4571 for the Chetco River Estuary.

Radio Stations KVAS 103.9 FM (1230 kHz) and KAST 99.7 FM (1370 kHz) gives bar condition reports for the Columbia River Bar 15 minutes before and after the hour. The current marine weather forecast is broadcast on VHF Weather channel 3 or 4. If you are on the water heading outbound or inbound monitor VHF-FM channel 68 or 69 and CB channel 13 for a report on conditions at the Columbia River Bar or contact the Coast Guard Station via VHF-FM Channel 16 and ask for a report of ocean conditions at the bar. The USCG are heavy users of the Marine VHF Channels; Channel 16 is reserved for distress, safety and calling, while channel 22A is utilized for special warnings, Marine Safety and other announcements.

A report of current ocean conditions and the extended marine forecast at Pacific NW Coastal Marine Data is available over the internet. Select National Weather Service - NWS Portland to display the area discussion for Portland's weather ; then under Current Forecasts select S Washington/N Oregon for the COASTAL WATERS FORECAST of the northern Oregon coast or S Oregon for the COASTAL WATERS FORECAST for the southern Oregon Coast. After reading the status report for current ocean condition and the extended marine forecast, select Quick look Marine Forecast to display the information for ocean conditions generated by following buoys: Buoy 29 Buoy 50 Near Buoy 89 Near Mouth of Columbia Near Tillamook Bar.

To access the information generated by the buoys associated with navigating the Columbia River Bar Click on menu topic, “Buoys and Coastal Winds” and select the nearshore Buoy Station for the bar you plan to cross. Select Buoy Station 46029 – Columbia River Bar to display current ocean conditions at buoy station 46029.

NOAA's National Data Buoy Center for the Columbia River Bar.

Recreational boaters in possession of cell phones can call Dial-A-Buoy at (888-701-8992) for the status of current ocean conditions at the nearshore and offshore buoys located nearshore at: DMNO3 (Desdemona Sands), 46029 (Columbia River), 46243 ( Clatsop Spit Buoy) 45248 (Astoria Canyon) MLTO3 (Marsh Island), 46089 (Tillamook), 46050 (Yaquina Bay), NWPO3 (Newport Bay), 46015 (Port Orford), CARO3 (Cape Arago), 46027 (Pt St George) and Offshore Buoy Station 46002 - OREGON - 275NM West of Coos Bay. Listen and follow the menu instructions exactly to hear the status report for the buoy station you requested. After listening to the Buoy Status Report of ocean conditions at the buoy station requested, follow the menu prompts to listen to the recorded message providing offshore Coastal Forecasts for S Washington/N Oregon or S Oregon for the region of the buoy station requested.

What is Dial-A-Buoy? NDBC, a part of the National Weather Service (NWS), created Dial-A-Buoy to give mariners an easy way to obtain the reports via a cell phone. Dial-A-Buoy provides wind and wave measurements taken within the last hour at the NDBC buoy and Coastal-Marine Automated Network (C-MAN) stations. The stations operated by the National Data Buoy Center are located in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes. Buoy reports include wind direction, speed, gust, significant wave height, swell and wind-wave heights and periods, air temperature, water temperature, and sea level pressure. Some buoys report wave directions. All C-MAN stations report the winds, air temperature, and pressure; some also report wave information, water temperature, visibility, and dew point.

Recreational boaters use the observations, in combination with forecasts, to make decisions on whether it is safe to venture out. Some even claim that the reports have saved lives. Surfers use the reports to see if wave conditions are, or will soon be, promising. Many of these boaters and surfers live well inland, and knowing the conditions has saved them many wasted trips to the coast. Consult everyone onboard for their opinion before making the decision to cross the bar. If anyone doubts that is safe to go, Don’t Go.

Know your harbor. The location of the boat launches located in the tidal reach of Oregon’s bays is available on the internet at the Oregon State Marine Board. Refer to the column Safety and Educations then click on Water Levels/Navigation Charts. The links to the Coastal Bar Chartlettes are posted in the box on the right side of the webpage. Click on the link to display your bay of interest. Familiarize yourself with the conditions at the bar. Learn what to expect before crossing the bar. Visiting skippers should inquire about the local bar conditions from the U. S. Coast Guard Service before crossing the bar. A visit to a Coast Guard Station only takes a few mintes and can only enhance the success of the trip.

Bar Closures: clck the NOAA Bar Observations website for updated bar closures and restrictions.

BAR CROSSING: Click on the current navigational hazards for crossing the Columbia River Bar or scroll down the page to view the historical hazards associated with crossing the Columbia River bar.

Bar Advisory Signs: The Coast Guard has installed and maintains Bar Advisory Signs in most of the bays that have a Coast Guard Station. Currently there are no Bar Advisory Signs located in Nehalem Bay, Nestucca Bay and Alsea Bay.

Bar Advisory (Warning) Signs in the lower Columbia River Estuary are located at the boat ramp areas at the Port of Hammond, Warrenton, Chinook, Ilwaco and Fort Canby. These signs are blue in color and have amber flashing lights that read: Warning When Flashing, Bar Restrictions in Effect, Tune to 1610 AM. When the amber lights are flashing on any of the warning signs, hazardous conditions are present and a bar restriction is in place. Mariners should tune in and listen to the restriction information.

The signs have two flashing lights that are activated when the seas exceed 4 feet in height. If the ocean conditions are not favorable for pleasurable boating do not cross the bar. Good judgment is your best advisor. Do not attempt to cross the bar if there is any doubt that it safe to do so. Bar restrictions and closures not only apply to boats leaving the harbor but also to boats entering the harbor.

The following underlined areas describe some of the dangerous tidal conditions that affect boating safety in the Lower Columbia River Estuary and crossing the bar.

Chinook spur, upper, lower and middle Sand Island spurs are built on two rows of staggered pilings. Currents flowing through these pilings attain a velocity of up to 5 knots. A boat which becomes disabled or is maneuvered in such a way as to come in contact with any of these spurs is almost sure to suffer damage or become trapped against them and turn over. Even large boats have been capsized in these areas. Give these spurs a wide berth and never get close to them on the up-current side.

Jetty A which is southeast of Cape Disappointment, presents a particular danger when the current is ebbing. Water flowing out of the river, is deflected by the jetty and frequently the currents reach 8 knots, often causing waves up to 8 feet high. Boats proceeding into Baker Bay West Channel make very little speed against the swift current and are exposed to the rough water or surf for long periods of time. The shallow sandy area should be avoided by small craft when heavy seas are present because of the surf which breaks on the beach.

Clatsop Spit is the most unpredictable area on the river entrance. During flood currents and slack water it may be calm with only a gentle swell breaking far in on the spit. Yet 5 or 10 minutes later, when the current has started to ebb, it can become extremely hazardous with breakers extending far out toward the channel. You should remain north of the red buoys in this area, particularly just before or during the ebb. The South Jetty has a section broken away on the outer end. The broken section is under water close to the surface. Boats should use extra caution in the area from the visible tip of the Jetty out to Buoy "2SJ". Peacock and Clatsop Spits are called The Graveyard of the Pacific for good reason.

Peacock Spit: Breakers are heavy in all types of current. Sports craft leaving the river should never be on the north side of the green buoys. When rounding Peacock Spit, give the breakers at least a half-mile clearance. Many times unusually large swells coming in from the sea suddenly begin breaking up to 1/2 miles outside the usual break on the end of the North Jetty.

Middle Ground: This is a shallow triangle area between the Jetty A and the North Jetty and main Ship Channel that is subject to breaking seas when swells as small as 4 feet are present. Conditions here can change in minutes with tidal current changes.

There are five components effecting ocean conditions that recreational boaters need to consider before crossing the bar into the open ocean or boating in the Lower Columbia River Estuary: the height of the long ocean swells, the interval between long ocean swells in seconds, the height and direction of wind waves, the velocity and direction of the wind and the phase of the daily tidal cycle. If the forecasted height of the tallest wind wave added to the height of the long ocean swells equals or exceeds the interval in seconds between the long ocean swells do not cross the bar. The interval in seconds between the long ocean swells can be the difference between a pleasurable boating experiences or one that makes you wish you had never left the dock. If the interval between the long ocean swells indicates rough boating conditions do not cross the bar. Typically it is fairly calm until mid-morning when the wind begins to blow. Depending on the velocity and direction, the wind can make operating a small boat difficult. When ocean conditions deteriorate the Coast Guard can restrict the size of the boat allowed to cross the bar or close the bar to altogether. Do not attempt to cross the bar at any of Oregon’s bays during the outgoing phase of the major tidal exchange of a spring tide. Our explanations of the daily tidal exchange of the tidal cycle follows:

Recreational boaters have to consider the phase of the daily tidal cycle before crossing the bar of Oregon’s bays or boating in the Lower Columbia River Estuary. The tidal cycle consist of series of spring tides or neap tides which occur during the phases of the lunar cycle. There normally two high tides and low tides in the daily tidal cycle. They consist of a major tidal exchange followed by a minor tidal exchange. The highest and lowest tide occurs during the major tidal exchange followed by a lower high tide and higher low tide of the minor tidal exchange. Spring tides and Neap tides are governed by the position of the sun in relation to the earth and the moon.

Spring tides occur during the new moon or full moon when the sun, moon and earth are aligned. During the alignment the gravitational pull causes tidal fluctuations that are larger than usual resulting with the highest high tides and the lowest low tides. The fact that water appears to spring away from the earth is the reason the tides are referred to as spring tides.

Neap tides occur during the 1st and 3rd quarter phase of the moon when the sun and the moon are at right angles to one another in conjunction to their relative position of the earth. The effect of their gravitational pulls is partially cancelled causing tidal fluctuations that are smaller than usual resulting with lower high tides and higher low tides. The outgoing tide always causes unstable tidal conditions at the Bar. The bar at Tillamook Bay is dangerous to cross during any outgoing phase of the tidal cycle, but it is the grandeur of the tidal exchange at the Columbia River Bar that compels respect for the tidal condition encountered at all of Oregon’s bars. Do not attempt to cross the bar for any of Oregon’s bays during the outgoing phase of the major tidal exchange of a spring tide.

Recreational boaters should not attempt to cross the Columbia River Bar during the outgoing phase of the major and minor tidal exchange of a spring tide or during the outgoing phase of the major tidal exchange of a neap tide. The small boater should cross the Columbia River bar from low slack tide and during the first hour of the incoming tide when the ocean is flat and calm with the long ocean swell less the 3 feet and intervals greater than 10 seconds with wind waves less than 1 foot. Stay within the red and green buoys when crossing the bar. Follow the red buoy line out entering the waypoints of the channel markers and buoy locations in the GPS and record the compass bearing on the chart of the Lower Columbia River Estuary for each buoy as you are outward bound. When departing from the Washington side of the Columbia River head to Buoy G11 and enter the waypoint in the GPS and compass bearing on the chart. From there, head southwesterly to Buoy R10 and enter the waypoint in the GPS and compass bearing on the chart. Departing from the Oregon side, follow the red buoy line to Buoy R10 entering the waypoints and compass bearings for each of the R Buoys. From Buoy R10 follow the red buoy line out to Buoys R8, R6 past R2SJ Bell Buoy (marking the end of the submerged portion of the South Jetty) and to Buoy R4. Rough water with breakers is common occurrence from buoy R8 seaward to buoy R6 during the incoming phase of the major tidal exchange of the incoming tide.

Once clearing the Columbia River Control Zone at Buoy R4 troll for coho and Chinook salmon southwest to Buoy CR and for Chinook salmon on the return trip to Buoy R4. The lighted whistle buoy CR is located 5.8 nautical miles (6.6) miles SW of the Columbia River Bar. Plan the return of your boating trip to clear of the mouth of the Columbia River Bar at Buoy R10 before next low tide begins to ebb.

The swells generated by the outgoing tide in the Lower Columbia River Estuary often exceed 20 feet in height and can extend for more than 1½ miles in the jetty channel and up to 1/2 mile offshore from the end of the entrance of the bar. The swells generated by the outgoing tide in combination with a wind chop can cause confused seas that can sink a boat in seconds. If you are caught on a rough bar while coming in keep the boat square before the seas and ride the back side of the swell staying ahead the following swell, but to you will most likely have to quarter the following swells to cross the bar successfully. The ability to cross a rough bar demands seamanship based on experience. If you are going boating in the Lower Columbia River Estuary join the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Their members are willing to help you gain the experience and confidence to cross the bar. Discuss all safety issues with family members and guests before leaving the dock.

The emphasis in the lower Columbia River is on the world class sturgeon and salmon fishery. The fishing conditions described in this publication differs from today's fishing conditions. Refer to ODFW fishing regulations for current information on gear restrictions, seasons and catch limits.

The sturgeon population has declined and the fishery in the Lower Columia has been reduced to catch and release. At one time sand sole and redtail perch entered the mouth of the Columbia River in fishable numbers during late spring. The fish species usually associated with jetties are present along the jetties at the entrance to the lower Columbia River in fishable numbers; but because of the dangerous tidal conditions during the outgoing tide anglers should fish for those species elsewhere. The fishing for rockfish and flatfish in Washington State coastal waters to Leadbetter Point is excellent. Anglers from OR and WA are allowed to fish from a boat in ocean waters from Cape Falcon OR to Leadbetter Point WA. The Columbia River Zone is divided into regional zones. All the regional zones are governed by general regulations common to all zones and by special regulations governing individual zones. The Marine Zones common to all zones and by special regulations governing individual zones. The Marine Zone extends from Buoy 10 seaward. Oregon and Washington anglers are allowed to fish from a boat in the ocean from Cape Falcon OR to Leadbetter Point WA.

Special Regulations: Salmon fishing is closed within the Columbia Control Zone (CZ). The Columbia Control Zone extends seaward from Buoy 10 to a line drawn between Buoy 4 at 46 13’ 35’N/124 06’ 50’W and Buoy 7 at 46 15’ 48’N/124 5’ 18’W and in a straight line from the end of the north jetty at 46 15’ 45’N/124 05’ 20’w to Buoy 7 and in a straight line from the south jetty at 46 14’ 03’N/124 04’ 05’W to Buoy 4. The eastern boundary of the CZ extends from a bearing 357 degrees true north from 46 14’ 00’N/124 03’ 07’W. Fishing for salmon in the CZ is prohibited. Regional zone 1 extends from Buoy 10 upriver to a line extending from buoy R44 to Rocky Point WA. Regional zone 2 extends upriver from the R44/ Rocky Point line to the I–5 Bridge. The information in this publication encompasses all of regional zone 1 and identifies specific locations in the Marine Zone and regional zone 2. Refer to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Sport Fishing Regulations for area closures and the regulations governing fishing for sturgeon, salmon and other fish species.

Fishing the Lower Columbia River:

The angler has to consider the velocity of the tidal current when developing fishing strategy. The velocity of the outgoing tidal current lower Columbia River varies from 3.5 to 5 knots and can attain a velocity of over 5 knots at the entrance with velocities attaining 8 knots on the north side of the bar. The incoming tide in the Columbia River seldom attains velocities of over 4 knots, but as the tide changes from outgoing to incoming the heavier saltwater flows under the outgoing lighter brackish water. For a brief time the water in the lower estuary flows in both directions at the same time. A riptide usually accompanies the tidal surge of the incoming tide followed by schools of Chinook and coho salmon. Remember to troll faster than the speed of the tidal current when trolling with the tidal current to maintain the herring in the Chinook’s strike zone. Photo below by Jerry Lynch.

Chinook Salmon:

Jerry Don't Worry-Be Happy took this Springer on the lower Columbia

According to the Recreational Catch Statistics for spring Chinook Salmon returning to the Columbia River Basin some Spring Chinook salmon enter the Columbia River in January and February. The number of returning salmon increase dramaticlly in March. Most of those Chinook salmon are returning to tributaries in the Lower Columbia River below Bonneville Dam. The number of spring run Chinook salmon increase in April. Most of those fish entering the Columbia River in April are returning to tributaries in the Columbia River Basin above Bonneville Dam. The most productive fishing for spring Chinook salmon in the lower Columbia River occurs in regional zone 2 upriver from the channels associated with Rice Island and Miller Sands.

Fall Chinook Taken From The Lower Columbia River

According to the Recreational Catch Statistics for Fall Chinook Salmon returning to the Columbia River Basin enter the north side of the Columbia River in June increasing in numbers during July. The number of fish increase dramatically in August with the majority of the fish entering the river during this month before declining sharply in September and October.

The run is comprised of Tule run Chinook and returning Upriver Brights. Because the Tule run Chinook are sexually mature and ready spawn when they enter the river they are reluctant to bite and the table quality of their flesh has begun to decline. Upriver Brights are sexually immature when they enter the Columbia River and the table quality of their flesh is at its very best. When salmon season opens in the lower Columbia River the Pacific high has been parked over the Pacific Northwest and it has not rained for several months. The mean water temperature the river is higher than the temperature preferred by Chinook salmon when the salmon enter the river with the incoming tide. The temperature of the lower river varies between 56 to 65 degrees depending on phase of the tide. The Chinook salmon swim upriver at the depth where they are most comfortable.

Tule run Chinook swim upriver along the north shore in water up to 40 feet deep. Returning Upriver Brights swim in the deepwater lane that runs parallel to and just above Desdemona Sands upriver past the Astoria/Melger Bridge. If the mean temperature of the water is too high some of the Chinook salmon will return to the ocean with the outgoing tide while others with continue their upriver migration. Tule run Chinook salmon returning to Deep River or Gray’s River will continue up the north side of the river while other Tule run and Upriver Brights begin crossing the river to the Oregon side where the spires rise on the Astoria–Melger Bridge following the scent of the river of their origin.

The Astoria–Melger Bridge and the Oregon Washington State Line are geographical references used to direct anglers where to fish for Chinook salmon. The state line is located at the point on the bridge where the spans begin to rise as you near the Washington side of the river.

Upriver Bights: The most productive fishing for Upriver Bights occurs trolling a plug cut herring with the incoming tide along the Oregon–Washington state line from Chinook, Washington to a point opposite of Melger Washington. Troll a plug cut herring next to the bottom behind a diver or a wire spreader with a 6 foot length of 35 pound test fluorocarbon leader. Returning Chinook salmon usually migrate along the bottom of the estuary, but at times migrate higher in the water column. When fishing with multiple rods stagger the depth of the bait by four pulls from a depth of 25 feet to the bottom. Adding a herring dodger or 8 inch flasher behind the wire spreader or diver is a productive option the angler should consider. Rig the wire spreader with a 36 inch sinker dropper utilizing 6 to 12 ounce sinkers to present the bait to the salmon. As high slack tide approaches troll cross current in a zig–zag pattern back to Chinook, Washington.

When the tide begins to ebb the most productive fishing occurs from the Astoria–Melger Bridge to Chinook Washington back bouncing mini mooching with a whole or plug cut herring. As the velocity of the tidal current increases either back troll with a plug cut herring or troll a plug cut herring with the ebbing tide. Fish at a depth from 20 and 45 feet as the current moves the boat in a northwesterly direction through the Church Hole all the way to Chinook Point. Fishing is also productive on the Oregon side of the river at the Astoria/Melger Bridge or in the area between Taylor Sands and the shipping channel upriver to Tongue Point.

Launching at Deep River is one option consider to fish for Chinook salmon below the Astoria/Melger Bridge but the limited launching facilities are a negative factor. But, if the decision is made to do so, follow the piling markers to navigate the channel to the fishing locations downriver along the Washington side of the river. Stay on the right hand side of the channel going out. The boater has to be aware of Deadheads which are mired in the bottom substrate and float on the other end rising and falling with the tide. The depth of the water in the channel will vary between 6 and 14 feet deep at low tide. Follow marker R16, R14 and R12 before turning toward the right to R10. Navigate to the right of R12, R10 and R8 to avoid shallow water to the left. From there follow the shore pilings down to Rocky Point. Avoid the piling marker at Rocky Point because it sits on a rock outcropping. Clear Rocky Point and head southwest for about 400 yards staying within 100 yards of the shoreline. Head South keeping the shore on your right but heading toward and staying West of piling marker #14A to Portuguese Point then continue around the corner to piling marker 13 located next to the shore at Grays Point. From Gays Point, you can see the Astoria/Melger Bridge in the distance. Continue along the Washington shore to the Chinook salmon fishery from the Astoria/Melger Bridge to the Church Hole.

Fishing in the channels above Tongue Point is productive as Chinook salmon disperse across the width of the Columbia River searching for the scent of their home river. Chinook salmon migrate upriver at the depth where they are most comfortable. During August and September the water temperature in the channels above Tongue Point is often higher than the temperature preferred by Chinook salmon. Usually the most productive fishing is from a depth of 25 to 30 feet deep; however, during warmer periods they may migrate at a greater depth.

Coho salmon return to the lower Columbia River Estuary in August with the opening of the Buoy 10 fishery on August 1st, but only fin clipped coho salmon may be retained. According to the Recreational Coho Catch Statistics every year thousands of hatchery coho salmon return to the Columbia River. Start fishing for coho salmon as early as the first of August and fish through September into October before the number of returning Coho decline in November. The most productive fishing occurs from the deadline at Buoy 10 in the area between the green and red buoy lines extending eastward to an imaginary line extending northeasterly from a point midway between buoy 12 and 14 to the lower end of Sand Island. Fish the riptide that usually accompanies the tidal surge of the incoming tide. Schools a coho follow the tidal surge of the incoming tide along the north shore of the river in water that is between 20 and 40 feet deep to an area near the north end of the Astoria/Megler Bridge. Coho salmon returning to the net pens in Young’s Bay migrate from Buoy 10 past Buoys 12 and 14, around Clatsop Spit into Young’s Bay. Troll from Buoy10 around Buoy 12 past Buoy 14 trolling a plug cut herring between 3 and 5 knots with the incoming tide 4 ½ feet behind a diver in the upper half of the water column is the most productive method followed by trolling hoochies, spinners or streamer flies behind a size 0 dodger. Fish for salmonids returning to the small creeks and streams of the Lower Columbia use spinners, flies and bait where permissible.

The Young's Bay, Tongue Point, Blind Slough and Deep River on the Washington side of the Columbia River Eatuary Select Areas can be good for Chinook and Coho salmon at times for boaters trolling herring or plugs. See the regulations for a map of the area. Check regulations for the Columbia and select areas before fishing as they can change on short notice.

Blind Slough Swamp Preserve Well-known for birding, canoeing and kayaking, Blind Slough Swamp is the best example of a Sitka spruce swamp remaining in Oregon. Boating on the Columbia River Sloughs depends on the tides. Entrance tides by Willy Weather.

John Day River is located approximately 6 mile east of Astoria via Hwy 30. The John Day River features John Day County Park and boat launch. There is a 5 dollar per day use fee per vehicle to use the boat launch.

The lslands and sloughs associated with Lower Columbia is a favorite destination with kayakers. We recommend their website for directions to their favorite Kayak locations on the Lower Columbia River. The Oregon State Marine Board publication, Boating Guide to the Lower Columbia and Lower Willamette Rivers is another great source of information.

History of the Skipanon River Watershed Council: for many years citizens of Warrenton and the Clatsop Plains voiced their concerns about the declines in water quality, salmon runs and recreational opportunities caused by flood control structures on the Skipanon River. Skipanon River Fish habitat assessment in the Oregon Department of Forestry Astoria North Study Area.

Lower Columbia Steelhead. Several tributaries near the mouth of the lower Columbia offer winter fishing for both wild and hatchery steelhead.

The Lewis and Clark River, Young’s River, and the South Fork Klaskanine River also are open to steelhead fishing. While anglers will encounter some stray hatchery fish, these streams offer mostly catch-and-release fishing for wild steelhead.

Hatchery steelhead smolts are released in Gnat Creek (40,000), Big Creek (60,000) and the North Fork Klaskanine River (40,000). Fishing for steelhead is restricted to the lower portions of the streams below the hatcheries. Hatchery fish are primarily available during late November, December and January, with numbers of fish tapering off quickly after that. These streams are small and are primarily fished from the banks. Fishing access is available at the hatcheries for Spring Chinook in April and May, Fall Chinook returning in August and September before declining in October and Steelhead as described in this and ODFW publications. Clatsop Counties Big Creek County Park is located down stream from the fish hatchery. Public Fishing access to Big Creek begins at the intersection of Hwy 30 and Big Creek County Park Road. There is more public access at the Gnat Creek Fish Hatchery an at the hatchery located on the North Fork of the Klaskanine River. Anglers may call 503-458-6529 for recorded Big Creek fishing information.

Big Creek Fish Hatchery began operation in 1941. Big Creek Fish Hatchery was refurbished in 1957 under the Mitchell Act as part of the Columbia River Fisheries Development Program—a program to enhance declining fish runs in the Columbia River Basin. The facility is used for adult collection, egg incubation and rearing of winter steelhead, fall chinook and coho.

Klaskanine Hatchery was first operated in 1911 by the state of Oregon. In 1959 the hatchery was enlarged and renovated under the Columbia River Fisheries Development Program (Mitchell Act)—a program to enhance declining fish runs in the Columbia River Basin. The hatchery is now closely tied to the Select Area Fisheries Enhancement (SAFE) program and works closely with Clatsop County Fisheries (CCF). The facility is currently used primarily for rearing coho for SAFE commercial fisheries, as well as for adult collection and spawning of fall Chinook and as a rearing facility for fall Chinook and winter steelhead. Public fishing access is available at the fish hatchery.

Gnat Creek Hatchery was constructed in 1960 as part of the Columbia River Fisheries Development Program (Mitchell Act)—a program to enhance declining fish runs in the Columbia River Basin. The facility is used for egg incubation and rearing of spring chinook and winter steelhead. Most of the production is release off-station.

Steelhead are available to the angler from December through February and for the fisherman seeking spring Chinook in April and May as the number of returning fish increase to June and July is the best time at Gnat Creek as the number of returning spring Chinook decline. A small number of Fall Chinook return to the hatchery from August through October. The hatchery provides 2-1/2 miles of easy fishing access for spring Chinook and winter steelhead.

The Hatchery is an easy drive toward Oregon’s coast on Highway 30 and a visitor-friendly place for the entire family. With lots to do, located on beautiful Gnat Creek and tucked away amid the rainforest, the Gnat Creek Trail is a worthwhile stop on the way to the coast.

Three nature trails wind through a Coast Range forest and the Nicolai-Wickiup Watershed, providing visitors with miles of recreational opportunities. The trails begin at Gnat Creek Hatchery where visitors can learn about the salmon lifecycle and how hatcheries play a role in revitalizing listed and endangered native fish populations. One trail leads to the campground, while the others weave through Clatsop State Forest; Along the trails are a variety of vegetation and habitats, many with marked plants, flowers and trees. A great place to hike year-round to see the seasonal changes of this coastal rainforest. Gnat Creek flows over an ancient basalt lava delta (Columbia River Basalt flows) that has been lifted by pressure to form the coast range. Gnat Creek falls nearly 2,000 feet over several water falls in just four short miles where it flows into the lower Columbia.

Gnat Creek Year-round Wildlife Viewing

The beautiful rainforest trails at Gnat Creek Hatchery and adjacent Clatsop State Forest sets the stage for optimal wildlife viewing and recreation including a variety of vegetation, both new and old as well as diverse wildlife opportunities including salmon and steelhead runs, American bald eagles, salamanders, deer and elk and a multitude of migrating birds. Year-round expect to see great blue heron, kingfisher, American dippers and migrating songbirds.

In spring and summer, look for migrating salmon and steelhead, osprey and the occasional bald eagle. Warm weather also brings the sound of Pacific treefrogs adding to the mid-summer night’s dream ambiance.

During fall and winter the Gnat Creek Trail in the Clatsop State Forest offer opportunities to view black-tail deer and Roosevelt elk on the upper Gnat Creek trail. Bald eagles and a pileated woodpecker can be seen. Take the time to make the hike. For additional information on the Gnat Creek trail system view the information on the Oregon Hikers.org webside a service of the Oregon Trailkeepers.

The Lower Columbia River estuary offers excellent wildlife viewing. The Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area is located 17 miles east from the Klaskanine Fish Hatchery on Hwy 202. The Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area offers families the opportunity to view Roosevelt elk. The elk show best around 9:00 am to noon and usually have returned to the woods by 4:00 pm.

Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Click on the following link to view the boundry and islands of The Lewis and Clark National Wildlife Refuge. Launch your boat at the Clatsop County Park Boat Launch at the John Day River and embark on your adventure viewing the wildlfe, fishing or hunting waterfowl on the Lewis and Clark National Refuge.

Waterfowl hunting is permitted at Fort Stevens State Park adjacent to Trestle Bay as posted during authorized seasons excluding the Sept. Canada goose season.

Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge: All unposted shorelines and interior sloughs of refuge islands are open to waterfowl and snipe hunting. Areas closed to all hunting are posted and include Miller Sands Island and its partially enclosed lagoon and the diked portion of Karlson Island. The placement of permanent blinds is prohibited. Phone: 360-795-3915.

White Sturgeon information report 2014 7 Status and Biology of Columbia River White Sturgeon (aka What We Know About Columbia River White Sturgeon and How We Know It.)

White sturgeon are year–round residents of the Columbia River with a permanent population exceeding one million fish. Fishing is open but restricted to catch and release only in most of Oregon's State Waters. Check with ODFW for current information on restrictions.

The following narritave applies to the sturgeon fishery of the lower Columbia River when the take and retention of sturgeon was allowed.

The most productive fishing for sturgeon for the entire Columbia River occurs from the mouth of the Columbia River to an imaginary line between Tongue Point, Oregon and Gray’s Point, Washington during the months of June, July and August.

Sturgeon fishing heyday in the Lower Columbia from a charter vessel.

Typically the sturgeon fishing in the lower Columbia River from the mouth of the river through Cathlamet Bay and Gray’s Bay is slow from September through December. The sturgeon fishing improves in January upriver from an imaginary line between Tongue Point, Oregon and Gray’s Point, Washington when the eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus) commonly referred to as smelt enter the lower river to spawn but the fishing from the imaginary line to the mouth of the river remains slow. Fish from Gray’s Point to Altoona Washington and in the channels and sloughs around Rice Island, Miller Sands and in Cathlamet Bay. The fishing continues to improve upriver from the imaginary line to through Cathlamet Bay and Gray’s Bay as the smelt run peaks in February and March but remains slow from the imaginary line seaward. During this period, smelt are the first choice for bait followed by mud and/or sand shrimp. The fishing upriver from the imaginary line continues to improve during April but remains slow from the imaginary line seaward.

The sturgeon fishing improves during May from the mouth of the Columbia River to the imaginary line through Cathlamet Bay and Gray’s Bay as shad enter the rivers associated with the lower Columbia River Estuary to spawn. During this period, shad or smelt is the most productive bait followed by mud and/or sand shrimp. The fishing is productive on the south side of the Columbia River from Clatsop Spit to Tongue Point and in the channels and sloughs associated with Cathlamet Bay. The area from Clatsop Spit to Youngs Bay and the sandy shoals of Desdemona Sands or Taylor Sands are most productive locations to fish for sturgeon. Desdemona Sands is located in front of Astoria and extend from a point north of Hammond upriver past the Astoria–Melger Bridge. Taylor Sands is located halfway across the river opposite of Tongue Point. Fishing is productive on the north side of the river from Sand Island upriver to Gray’s Point in the area between Grey’s Point and buoy 12.

The Sturgeon fishing improves dramatically during June, July and August as the catch rate soars from the mouth of the Columbia River to imaginary line at Tongue Point. During this period anchovies enter the lower Columbia River and are the most productive bait followed by mud and/or sand shrimp. The fishing declines during September and the catch rate falls.

To fish for sturgeon anchor the boat on the up current side of the deeper holes and shallow depressions in the channels and toughs adjacent to the tidal flats in water that is 10 to 40 feet deep. Use the current lines that appear between the tidal flats and the deeper water of the river channels as a guide to the shallow depressions and deep holes. The channels in the lower Columbia River are continually shifting. If you are going to do any boating on the lower river, invest in a compass, the latest navigational charts available and a GPS Chartplotter; otherwise, you chance spending hours stuck on the tidal flats.

Columbia River crabbing is one of Oregon’s premier crabbing locations from late summer through fall depending on declining snowmelt and the arrival of seasonal rains.  Crabbing from Social Security Beach or the south jetty at the tip of Clatsop Spit in the area marked in red using a spring loaded folding crab trap to take crabs from the sandy shore or a crab snare for taking crabs from the jetty rocks inside the jetty channel.

We do not recommend fishing or crabbing from the rocky structure of Oregon's jetties or rocky shore exposed to the dynamics of dangerous ocean conditions caused by unexpected sneaker waves. If you have to pause and consider if it is safe to fish or crab from rocky structure then don't do it.  

Turn west into the day use entrance of Fort Stevens State Park to access the off beach parking areas associated with the beaches of Clatsop Spit. The access roads to the parking areas adjacent to the ocean beach at Clatsop Spit and to the south jetty at Clatsop Spit are open twenty four hours daily. Clatsop Spit beach and the south jetty at Clatsop Spit are divided into geographical areas A, B, C and D.  There are signs located at the entrances of the access roads that identify each area.  Areas A and B are the access roads to the parking area adjacent to Clatsop Spit Beach. Area C is the access road to the parking area adjacent to Clatsop Spit Beach and the south jetty.  Area D is the access road to the parking area adjacent to the beach on the southern shore of the Columbia River. Crabbing from a Boat is very productive following the red buoy line R20 to R22 and G21 to G25. Stay clear of the shipping channel. Crab in 20 to 30 feet of water during the incoming tide but pick up the gear before low tide to avoid losing gear to the strong current of the outgoing tide.             

Crabbing for Dungeness crabs in the lower Columbia River Estuary depends on the amount of freshwater entering the watershed from rainfall or snowmelt. Crabbing usually gets going in late July or early August.

How to humanly kill Dungeness and red rock crabs is the question my wife wants me to answer. She cannot bear to see anything suffer. Striking the Thoracic ganglion with a crab mallet kills the crab immediately. The crab does not suffer as it would if submerged in boiling water and neither does my wife. Killing and backing the crabs prior to cooking them shortens the total time it takes to cook and clean large numbers of crabs. In addition cooking crabs that have been backed and cleaned minimizes the strong odor associated when cooking whole live crabs.

Click on the following video clip to view a professional crab shaker picking a Dungeness crab. Using this method cuts the time to pick a crab in half.

Click on the following links for additional information about taking crabs in the Pacific Northwest. Click on ODFW's website crab page or click on Washington State's information on recreational crabbing or click California's information on recreational crabbing. Click on Alaska's comments on Dungeness Crabs and on permits and regulations for SE Alaska. Click on Dungeness Crabs at Netarts Bay. Click on Species Profile for Dungeness Crabs PDF file. Click on Species Profile for Red Rock Crabs to view PDF file. Click on Dungeness and Red Rock Crabs to view information on taking crabs from Oregon's Bays and ocean water.

The most productive crabbing usually occurs in the lower portion of the saltwater dominated bays, Coos Bay and Netarts Bay. Crabbers in Oregon’s Bays have to deal with the high river flows common during the rainy season usually from November through April. Crabbing in the smaller estuaries is over until next spring or early summer unless there is an extended period of dry weather. The river levels of costal rivers increase dramatically with the arrival of the large seasonal storms. The increased river flows are enough to move the crabs out of the smaller bays like the Chetco Cove, Rogue River Estuary, Necanicum River Estuary and Nestucca Bay but not out of the larger bays.

Check of the Northwest River Forecast to view river levels for all of Oregon's rivers. Look for river levels to rise with the return to seasonal rainfall beginning in late Fall into the Winter months. The smaller estuaries the Chetco, Rogue, Salmon, and Necanicum are the first to be affected by seasonal flooding followed by the larger estuaries Coquille, Siuslaw, Alsea, Siletz, Nestucca, Nehalem, Yaquina, Tillamook, Coos, Netarts and the Lower Columbia River Estuary. Conversely when river levels drop crabbing improves first in Sand Lake, Netarts and Coos Bays before improving in Oregon's other estuaries.

Click on the Northwest River Levels to view the height of the river level for the Columbia River.

Click on Nehalem to display the height of the river level for the Nehalem River near Foss

Click on Trask for Tillamook to display the height of the river level for the Trash River above Cedar Creek near Tillamook

Click on Wilson - Tillamook to display the height of the river level for the Wilson River at Sollie Smith Bridge

Click on Nestucca to display the height of the river level for the Nestucca River near Beaver

Click on Siletz to display the height of the river level for the Siletz River at Siletz

Click on Alsea River at Tidewater to display the height of the river level for the Alsea River – At Tidewater.

Click on Alsea River at Lobster Creek to display the height of the river level for the Alsea River at Lobster Creek

Click on Umpqua River at Reedsport to display the height of the river level for the Umpqua River at Reedsport

Click on Umpqua River near Elkton to display the height of the river level for the Umpqua River near Elkton

Click on North Umpqua River at the Winchester Dam to display the height of the river level at the Winchester Dam.

Click on the South Umpqua River at Roseburg to display the height of the river level at Roseburg.

Click on Siuslaw to display the height of the river level for the Siuslaw River near Mapleton.

Click on the height of the river level for the Coquille River – At Coquille.

Click on the height of the river level for the Coquille River – At Myrtle Point.

Click on the Chetco River – Near Brookings to view the height of the river near Brookings.

Click on the height of the river level for the Rogue River – At Agnes, and on the Illinois River at Kriby.

Click on the Summary of river levels to view and identify you river of interest in the Pacific Northwest. Click on the following link to view the level of the river gages in the Rogue River watershed. Click on the river levels at Agate Dam, Grants Pass, at Raygold, below Prospect, Lost Creek Dam, near Agnes, near Eagle Point, near Mcleod, near Prospect and the Rogue River Valley Canal.

Internet Links of Interest:

NOAA Tidal Projections for the North Jetty of the Columbia River Estuary.

Tidal Projections for the North Jetty of the Columbia River Estuary

Tbone Tidal Projections for the 12 Ave bridge at Seaside.

NOAA's National Data Buoy Center for the Columbia River Bar.

Click on the following link to view the Marine Weather Forecast from Zone Forecast: Coastal waters from Cape Shoalwater WA to Cascade Head OR out 10 nm.

Shellfish Hotline:

Always call the Oregon Shellfish Hotline at (503) 986-4728 or 1-800-448-2474 toll free outside of Oregon before harvesting clams or mussels for messages listing the areas closed to harvesting shellfish due to high levels of marine toxins.

Fish and Shellfish Consumption Advisories and Guidelines In mid July the State issued shellfish advisories for elevated levels of arsenic in soft shell clams and gaper clams. The CDAO does not recommend consuming contaminated clams or fish species of any species. The Oregon Health Authority has prepared a series of asked and answered questions about the soft shell clams taken from Oregon's Bays. Click on Questions and Answers (pdf).

However the purple varnish clams common to most of Oregon's Bays have tested free of contamination from arsenic; and to date the clams have not been contaminated by Domoic Acid or PSP that have closed the Oregon Coast to the taking of razor clams and mussels.

Oregon's Beach Monitoring Program is a part time program that occurs between Memorial Day in May and Labor Day in September.

Oregon's Beach Monitoring program helps protect people who come into contact with beach water contaminated with elevated levels of fecal bacterium called enterococcus. The program does regular water testing to look for high levels of bacteria and issues a public health advisory when bacteria counts exceed acceptable risk levels.. Beginning in 2017 the EPA has implemented new higher standards to requiring Oregon to issue an alert notifying the public of the health risks.

New Beach Action Value for the 2017 beach monitoring season
The Oregon Beach Monitoring Program (OBMP) is beginning a process to adopt a new beach action value (BAV) for bacteria of 70 MPN that will be used as the basis for public health advisories at Oregon beaches starting in 2017. The 2015 and 2016 monitoring seasons will remain unchanged and continue to use the current BAV of 158 MPN
.

What type of bacteria? Ocean waters are tested to see if a fecal bacterium called enterococcus is present. Enterococcus is found in the intestines of warm blooded animals, including humans. High levelsn of these bacteria show there is fecal material in the water and that microscopic disease-causing organisms may be present.

How does the water become contaminated? Fecal contamination can be due to multiple causes near anybody of water. Some of the reasons of contamination are due to: animal feces deposited by domestic animals and all wild animals including beavers ,eals, migratory waterfowl and seabirds , swimmers with diarrhea, small children not prperly cleaned after using the bathroom, the improper disposition of diapers, the vomiting or fecal matter in the water, agricultural and storm water run-off, sewage treatment plant spills, inadequate or the absence of public septic systems, failing or leaking of both public and private septic systems or the improper disposal of boat waste. The list of offending agents is seemingly endless. Do your part it reduce contamination of our waterways.

The Algae Bloom Surveillance program advises the public when a harmful algae bloom has been detected in a lake or river. Not all blooms are harmful, but some species of algae, such as cyanobacteria or blue-green algae, can produce toxins that can cause serious illness in pets, livestock, wildlife and humans.

Please see the Oregon fish consumption guidelines for more information abut the health benefits of fish and how to make healthy fish choices.

CLATSOP COUNTY FISHING LAKES extend from the mountians to the sea from Fort Stevens to Gearhart. The lakes and ponds offer the recreational families the opportunity to fish for a both warmwater fish species and trout from the numerous lakes of Clatsop County. Clatsop Plain fishing ponds and lakes consists of a series of dune lakes impounded by the sand dunes of ancient marine terraces that dominate the Clatsop Plain. Some have names and are in the public domain while others do not have names and are privately held. Most contain a variety of warm water fish species. Most lakes and ponds do not have a boat launch or other facilities. We recommend visiting lakes that have developed recreational resources for individuals and family use over using primitive lakes that do not.

Tip- to find the location of the lakes listed here refer to the interactive map of lakes on the first plate of the Oregon Atlas of Lakes and enlarge the map view the location of the Clatsop County lakes. Eventually we will provide directions to the most accessible of the Clatsop County Lakes.

Burkes Lake a 6.3 acre isolated lake is located 1 mile west of Warrenton off of the Ridge Road. Fish for largemouth bass. No boat launch or other facilities.

Cemetery Lake - 10.3 acres; south of Warrenton at the Astoria Cemetery. Black crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, warmouth, yellow perch. The lake is on the property of the Ocean View Cemetery. No boat launch or other facilities.

Clear Lake - 8 acres in size is tucked between Ridge Road and downtown Warrenton, Clear Lake was the last undeveloped dune lake on the Warrenton peninsula (outside of Fort Stevens State Park) to be conserved. Sphagnum moss growing on the property, an active bald eagle nest, and a robust population of red-legged frogs were all indications that the ecosystem was in good health No public access. Largemouth bass. No boat launch or other facilities.

Coffenbury Lake - 50 acres with an improved boat launch is located within (map) Fort Stevens State Park - 2 miles west of Warrenton. Yellow perch, brown bullhead.

Crabapple Lake - 22 acres with unimproved boat launch is located within (map) Fort Stevens State Park - 2 miles west of Warrenton. Largemouth bass, yellow perch. Fishing is a challenge as the area of open water diminishes with the growth of aquatic vegetation during the lengthening daylight hours of summer.

Creep and Crawl Lake - 5 acre lake purchased from Clatsop County with help from a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant made available through the Columbia Land Trust. The Lake is located 2 miles west of Warrenton and contains bluegill. Public entry is by guided access.

North Coast Land Conservancy

Mailing address:         Physical address
P.O. Box 67                2609 N. Roosevelt Drive
Seaside, OR 97138     Seaside, OR 97138
(503) 738-9126          NCLC@NCLCtrust.org

There is a real problem with government when they have the need to deed public property to None Profit Organizations to protect the resource.

Pond Lily Lake

Leinenweber Lake is 3.9 acres in size.

Kyle Lake is 2.7 acres in size.

Long Lake ls 9.2 acres in size.

Pond Lily Lake and Leinenweber, Kyle and Long Lakes are located off of Ridge Road north of Delaura Beach Ln. No boat launch or other facilities.

Taylor Lake is an 8.7 acre isolated lake located north of Cullaby Lake with no boat launch or other facilities available.

Cullaby Lake - Cullaby Lake County Park is located (map) off U.S. Highway 101 between Astoria and Seaside. The park has 165 acres, offering public access to Cullaby Lake boat launch and docks, four-stall flush restrooms, picnic shelters, barbecue pits, horseshoe pits, play areas, fishing, swimming, nature observation of beavers, bald eagles, deer, and waterfowl, and is home to the Lindgren Cabin, a Finnish-American heritage site. The lake contains both white and black crappie, yellow perch, largemouth bass and brown bullhead catfish.

The shelters at Cullaby Lake are available year-round for rental at a daily rate of $35. Reservations can be requested by calling (503) 338-3740 and leaving a message OR by calling the Clatsop County Fisheries office at (503) 325-6452. NEW! Credit card payments for reservations and prepaid parking passes are now being accepted via phone.  A 2.5% fee ($2.00 minimum) will be charged to the customer.

Reservations for Cullaby Lake picnic shelters for the 2016 season will be accepted beginning October 1, 2015. Summer weekend days fill up very quickly, so reserve early to ensure space for your event!  

Use these forms to apply for permits for general special events or special events for exclusive use of the boat ramp.

Daily passes are available at our automated fee station for $3 per vehicle per day. Annual passes may also be purchased by completing this park pass application.

Carnahan County Park is located off U.S. Highway 101 between Astoria and Seaside. The 30-acre park is at the north end of Cullaby Lake and offers passive lake sports, day use activities and access to land leased by the Boy Scouts of America. There are no facilities at this park. The day-use fee of $3 per vehicle per day is collected May through September. There is a Boat Launch at Carnahan County Park Annual passes may be purchased by completing this park pass application form.

Triangle Lake is a small isolated lake located north of Lounsberry Ln where it becomes 70 Rd. From there the lake flows into Cullaby Creek. There is a small unidentified lake on Cullaby Creek located just south of Lounsberry Ln.

Lost Lake: is a 15-acre lake on Oregon Department of Forestry property which can be reached by turning south on Nehalem River Road one-half mile east of Oney's Restaurant and traveling eight miles to Spruce Run Park. Just before entering the park, there is a logging road (Lost Lake Road) heading east. Follow Lost Lake Road for approximately five miles to Lost Lake. Trout are stocked. Note: During times of extreme fire danger, access to this lake may be restricted by the landowner.

Slusher Lake is a 20 acre lake at Camp Rilea. Camp Rilea is an Oregon National Guard Facility located 3.5 miles southwest of Warrenton and west of Highway 101. The dune lakes contain yellow perch, white crappie, largemouth bass and bluegill. For lodging inquiries or reservations by veterans or active duty personnel, please contact the billeting office at 503-836-4052. Currently the Oregon National does not allow public access to Slusher or the other lakes and ponds located at Camp Rilea.

Smith Lake - 41 acres; 2 miles south of Warrenton and west of Highway 101. The shoreline is now entirely in private ownership and homes are established on at least half of it. Access for the public is not provided, although two roads that cross the lake can be used to reach the water. The lake contains largemouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill, white crappie, black crappie. No boat launch or other facilities.

Sunset Lake is 107 acres in size and is located (map) 4 miles north of Gearhart and west of Highway 101 on Neacoxie Creek. Access via Sunset Beach Road. Yellow perch, brown bullhead, largemouth bass, black crappie. Each spring the lake is stocked with catchable rainbow trout. The Clatsop County boat launch at Sunset Beach Park on Sunset Lake is a free launch.

Wild Ace Lake is located 1 mile southwest of Warrenton off Ridge Road. The lake contains largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, warmouth bass, with no public access the lake is bounded on the east side by a high ridge. Wild Ace Lake is part of a four-mile-long corridor of wetlands lying in the dune swales west and south of Warrenton. Waterfowl spend winters on the lake or pause to rest here during fall and spring migrations. Large, open sedge marshes along the shoreline mingle with Sitka spruce and alder trees to create an edge effect essential to highly productive and diverse wetland systems. No boat launch or other facilities.

West Lake a 32 acres dune lake located 3 miles north of Gearhart and runs west and east of Highway 101 off of Dellmore Loop Rd. West Lake contains brown bullhead, largemouth bass, yellow perch. No boat launch or other facilities.

DON'S OREGON CRABBING AND CLAMMING ADVENTURE

Dons amazing Oregon adventure in crabbing and clam digging adventure begain in his home in San Diego making plans for the trip with his brother in law. Don is an avid digger of California's Pismo clams. Digging Pismo clams fueled his ambitious desire to partake in the wonderful bounty that digging clams and crabbing in Oregon represents; an experience that Don repeated several times. Don's Amazing Mile by Mile of his Oregon Adventure began on the Columbia River Estuary and ended when they returned home from Coos Bay.

Avid clam digger, crabber and fisherman Don, Don's Nephew and his brother-in-law share their Oregon vacation adventure with us in the following email and photo array. Don lives and works in San Diego and has shared photos of his Pismo clam digging adventures with us.

Don writes, "Sorry for the late Clamming report Bill, I've been up to my neck at work since coming back from my trip to Oregon from 8/25 - 9/3/10.  We had a great time fishing, crabbing, and clamming in Astoria, Nehalem and Coos Bay. 

We were able to savor Oregon seafood every day we were up there, it doesn't get any better than that.  In terms of the clamming, we found the Purple Varnish Beds just south of the Nehalem boat launch, and directly across the bay from there, the heavy Softshell beds near the Brighton area.  In Coos Bay (Empire area) we found heavy Butter Clam beds with the Manila Littlenecks mixed in, plus a Gaper Clam.

Interesting thing was, we were dealing (every day) with tides that were +2.0 - +3.0, and still had excellent harvests!!  It was awesome and can't wait to dig up and savor some more clams next year!!

Just for the record, there were three of us clamming, which accounted for the sizeable amount of clams we harvested on some of our outings.  Also, the Littleneck Clam Appetizer I made was modeled after Clamslayer's Clams Casino recipe.  I cleaned and then chopped up and steamed the clam meat, then mixed with melted sharp cheddar, then topped with hot sauce.  Wow, so delicious.  Yet another great tidbit from your book. Thanks for your advice and your book. Don."

Don used a crab snare very effectively to take the Dungeness crabs in the photo off of the south jetty of the Columbia River Estuary. They dug the purple varnish and picked the mussels from Nehalem Bay. Don is pictured below digging softshell clams from the Brighton area of Nehalem Bay in the photo to the left. Don and his brother-in-law pose with softshell clams they dug next to the photo of the cleaned clams and cooking clams and above the photo of the purple varnish clams. The photo of them on the ATVs was taken at the Oregon Dunes Recreational Area. The photo of the butter that were dug from Coos Bay is next to the photo of Don's version of Clams Casino.

Mile by Mile Continuation to razor clam beaches on Clatsop Spit

8.1 Ensign Ln. Zip Lining at High Life Adventures offers the thrill of lifetime with their Zip Line Adventures. Located near Warrenton on Alternate Hwy 101. Click on the spirit of adventure to view the beginning and ending of the zip line aventure taken by my wife Diane, my daughter Kristina and my grandsons. Click Here for travel directions

11.5 Sunset Beach offers excellent digging for razor clams. Sunset Beach Road is the first public access point south of Fort Stevens State Park. Turn west onto Sunset Beach Road from Hwy 101 and park on the beach.

17.0 Del Rey Beach State Wayside located 2 miles north of Gearhart and offers excellent digging for razor clams. Parking is allowed on the beach.

20.0 Gearhart is accessible by turning west onto Pacific Avenue from Highway 101. Follow the signs for beach access and park on the beach. The razor clam digging from Gearhart south to Tillamook Head is not quite as good as the beach north of Gearhart but the clams are larger. Click HERE to return to the top of the page.

22.0 approximately Neawanna Point Wayside is located on the west side of Hwy 101 and is eastern access point to the Necanicum River Estuary to crab and dig for purple varnish clams or soft shell clams.

25.0 Necanicum River at SeasideThe broad sandy beaches north to Clatsop Spit consistently produce the highest density of razor clams found along the Oregon Coast.  More razor clams are harvested from the sandy beach from Seaside to Clatsop Spit than from all of Oregon’s beaches combined.  Fish for redtail surfperch at the mouth of the Necanicum River from March through September.  Seaside, like many nearby beach communities, does not allow parking on the beachfront streets from 11:00pm to 5:00am.  There is ample street parking but the streets are narrow.  Seaside has the distinction of being the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail.  Members of the expedition camped over the winter of 1805 making salt for their return trip east.  

Do not attempt to cross the bar of the Necanicum River Estuary. Avoid boating in the lower reach of the Necanicum River Estuary during any stage of the tidal cycle. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Fishing in the Necanicum River Estuary:

Pileperch, striped seaperch, walleye surfperch and white seaperch enter the estuary in small numbers to feed on intertidal animals.  The best fishing occurs during the summer and ranges from poor to occasionally good depending on the tides, time of year and the amount of freshwater in the estuary.  Local residents’ fish for perch and crab from the 12th street Bridge seaward.

Chinook salmon return in small numbers to the Necanicum River in late September, through October and into November before declining in December and January. The timing of the migration of salmonids into the Necanicum River is influenced by the temperature of the river water and the river level flowing into the estuary 

Coho salmon: small numbers of Coho salmon return in late September peaking in October before declining into November and December.  The run is small and of interest to local anglers fishing for Chinook salmon and steelhead. 

Steelhead fishing on the Necanicum River offers excellent small-stream steelhead fishing throughout the winter. The river is stocked with 40,000 smolts at several locations up to Black’s Bridge. Hatchery steelhead are caught in the early winter months, with the peak of the run in late December/early January. Wild fish are more commonly caught later in the season. The Necanicum is open to steelhead fishing through March 31 downstream of the Hwy 53 Bridge at Necanicum Junction.

The Necanicum River is usually one of the first North Coast streams to clear following heavy rains. Boaters should keep a wary eye out, especially after storms when woody debris can move during periods of higher river flows.

Bank access is available along Hwy 26, especially at Klootchie Creek Park and around Black’s Bridge (about 1.5-2 miles above Klootchie Creek). Lower river access is available in the Peterson Point area. Boaters may launch at the park, and takeout at a site along Hwy 101 just south of Seaside.

Starry Flounder fishing was at onetime fairly consistent, but today the fishing ranges from poor for most of the year to fair at best in the spring.  The best fishing occurs in Spring from the lower estuary

Clam Digging in the estuary is limited to the softshell clams and purple varnish clams. 

The Necanicum River Estuary like the Salmon River Estuary is dominated by freshwater and crabbing productivity is limited to periods of extended clear weather. The most productive crabbing is from boats and from the 12th Ave Bridge. Necanicum River Estuary clam digging is limited to softshell clams and purple varnish clams.

The 2012 crabbing from 12th Ave. Bridge over the Necanicum River Estuary at Seaside was good! Parking is available at the City Park located at the southwest corner of the 12 Ave Bridge. In between the time I parked my truck and walked onto the bridge to videotape the crabbers working their gear an OSP officer parked on the eastside of the bridge and observed the crabbers through a pair of binoculars. I did not notice him until I had left, returned to my truck and was driving eastward across the bridge, but by the time I turned around to video tape him in action, he was gone.

Crabbing is fair to good during the summer months from the 12th Street Bridge street seaward. Raking for Dungeness crabs in the lower estuary is very popular in the Necanicum River Estuary.

The summer of 2011, I visited Seaside and everywhere I drove there were crabbers taking crabs on the 12th Ave Bridge.

Necanicum River boat launches are located at Quatat Marine Park and Cartwright Park on the Necanicum River. and Neeawanna Creek boat launch Broadway Park in addition to the up river boat launch at SEF Johnson Tract Click on the boat launch of interest and enter the name of the boat launch in the search parameter and answer the disclaimer questions and go.

Seaside Lakes:

Chapman’s Ponds is a series of small ponds located on the east side of Seaside. From Hwy 101 turn east on S Avenue then right on Alder Mills Avenue to the ponds. No boat launch or other facilities.

Stanley Lake is 7 acres in size and contains yellow perch, black crappie, largemouth bass and brown bullhead catfish. Stanley is locate just east of Seaside. No boat launch or other facilities.

Mantel Lake located in Seaside is a 1.8 acre lake without public access or facilities

21.3 Broadway and 23.0 Avenue U: Seaside Beach offers excellent digging for razor clams, and has the distinction of being the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail. Members of the expedition camped over the winter of 1805 making salt for their return trip east. The City of Seaside, like other beach communities, does not allow parking on the beachfront streets from 11:00pm to 5:00am. Access to Seaside Beach is available from multiple locations in the City of Seaside beginning at the Cove Via Avenue U to public parking area at the end of Avenue U; or, turn south onto S. Edgewood St. Continue south on Edgewood St. to the public parking area located on Ocean Vista Dr. Park and follow the trail to the beach at the Cove. Turn west onto Avenue G., but parking is limited to the street. There is a beach side public parking area located between 12th Avenue entry, and 11th Avenue exit. And additional but limited parking between 11th Avenue entry and 10th Avenue.

Several options for parking in Seaside: whether you are arriving to Seaside from the north, or the south, parking in Seaside is free*, quite easy and in larger abundance than many are aware. If you aren't sure of your activities while in Seaside, stop into the Visitors Center on the corner of Broadway and Hwy 101 (Roosevelt). The friendly staff can help you find a nice restaurant, family-friendly activities and quaint shops or direct you towards the beach.

From the North: turn right onto 1st Avenue as you approach Broadway along Hwy 101 (referenced as Roosevelt within Seaside city limits). Drive west until you pass the Seaside Civic and Convention Center. The lot just west of the Convention Center is free and open to the public. Street parking is also available but in lower supply. Should the Convention Center lot be full, continue west on 1st Avenue and turn left onto Columbia. Pass through Broadway and take your first right onto Avenue A. The public parking garage sign is located on your immediate right and the first two levels are free and open to the public. There is no overnight parking allowed in this garage for public vehicles.

From the South: turn left onto Broadway from Hwy 101 (referenced as Roosevelt within Seaside city limits). The possibility exists that street parking will be available on Broadway. We simply advise that your pay attention to all posted signs. If street parking is not available, proceed until you get to the corner of Broadway and Columbia. Turn left onto Columbia and take your first right onto Avenue A. The public parking garage sign is located on your immediate right and the first two levels are free and open to the public. There is no overnight parking allowed in this garage for public vehicles.

*Please pay attention to posted signs as parking hours may vary from location to location. Also note that Motor Home and Bus parking is prohibited in the Convention Center lot from June 1 - October 1.

RV and Motorhome Parking: there are a few options for those driving large vehicles through Seaside but not planning to overnight in the area. Option number one is located just north of the Seaside Visitors Bureau at the corner of Broadway and Hwy 101 (referenced as Roosevelt in Seaside). Broadway and its many shops, restaurants, family-friendly activities and ocean beach are located no more than 1/2 mile from this lot.

21.8 2nd. Ave. Seaside Aquarium is located on the Promenade between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

Founded in 1937, Seaside Aquarium is one of the oldest aquariums on the West Coast. The aquarium is privately owned and the descendants of some of the founders are still active in the aquarium operation.

The aquarium is proud to be involved in public awareness programs: Marine Mammal Stranding, Seaside Beach Discovery Program, Sea Week, Haystack Rock Awareness Program, the Wildlife Center of the North Coast and other marine education tours and activities for school children.

25.3 Junction of Hwy 26 with Hwy 101 is located some 75 miles west of Portland.

28.3 Ecola State Park is located 2 miles north of Cannon Beach between Chapman Point and Tillamook Head. The park encompasses Indian Point, Indian Cove, Crescent Beach and Chapman Point. Captain William Clark named the area after the Chinook Indian word Ekoli for a whale that had washed ashore when he visited there in 1806. Turn west from Highway 101 onto Old Highway 101 two miles north of Cannon Beach. Follow the signs to Ecola Park Road. The single lane road to the park is narrow and windy. To fish for the bass, perch, cabezon, sea trout and lingcod from the rocky shore at Ecola Point follow the trail from the main parking lot south for ¼ of a mile. The fishing for redtail surfperch from the sandy beach at Indian Cove or Crescent Beach is fair. Indian Cove and Crescent Beach are listed by ODFW as a location to dig for razor clams. The park offers visitors a dramatic view of coastline and Haystack Rock.

29.4 Cannon Beach is named for the cannons that washed ashore after the USS Shark sunk on Clatsop Spit in 1846. Cannon Beach is well known for the numerous small specialty shops and quaint restaurants that attract thousands of visitors each year. Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach’s most famous attraction, is the World’s third largest freestanding monolith rising 235 feet out of the surf. The Dorymen of Cannon Beach offer visitors charter fishing trips launching their dories from in front of Haystack Rock. Cannon Beach is listed by ODFW as a location to dig for razor clams and has good fishing for redtail surfperch. Refer to the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulation restricting the taking of shellfish within a 300 yard radius of Haystack Rock.

Cannon Beach is located between Tolovana Beach and Chapman Beach. Chapman Beach is the small beach located between Ecola Creek and Chapman Point and is generally considered as part of Cannon Beach. To access Cannon Beach, turn onto Sunset Blvd from Highway 101. The parking is very limited to one small public parking lot.

30.8 Tolovana Beach is located 1 mile south of Cannon Beach between Cape Falcon and Tillamook Head. Turn west onto Warren Way from Highway 101. There is ample parking at the State Park Wayside. The beach offers good fishing for redtail surfperch.

32.4 Arcadia Beach offers good fishing for redtail surfperch but parking is limited.

33.7 Hug Point State Park Wayside parking lot has only enough room to accommodate cars and pickup trucks. Hug Point is named for the roadway that hugs the point. The road was built by early travelers and could not be used during high tide.

35.2 Arch Cape is located north of Cape Falcon. Access to the cape is very limited. Arch Cape Beach is listed by ODFW as a location to dig for razor clams.

37.2 Cove Beach is located north of Cape Falcon and is a fair location to fish for redtail surfperch. Cove Beach is listed by ODFW as a location to dig for razor clams. Access to the beach is very limited.

39.2 Oswald West State Park parking area and trailhead to Short Sands Beach located at Smuggler Cove on the lee side of Cape Falcon. There are trails leading to the summit of Neahkahnie Mountain and to beach at base of the mountain from the park. Short Sands Beach is listed by ODFW as a location to dig for razor clams. It is a short ¼ mile walk to the 37 primitive campsite nestled in the forest. The campsites are assigned on a first come basis by Sate Park employee.

Click HERE to return to the top of the page or HERE to return to the Mile by Mile guide of the Oregon Coast.

INTRODUCTION TO THE TIDAL ZONE

   The tidal zone is the transitional area between the aquatic world of the ocean and the terrestrial world.  It is one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in nature.  The ebb and flow of the tidal current carries life sustaining oxygen and nutrients to the marine organisms in the tidal zone over the sandy beach, the rocky shore and into Oregon’s bays.

   Tides are the rise and fall of the sea level caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun.  The outgoing tide exposes the diversity and the vulnerability of the tidal zone to the terrestrial world.  Exposure to the elements and events of the terrestrial world stress the intertidal animals threatening their existence.  Intertidal animals that die are not wasted; they become food for other marine organisms, or they are absorbed into the food chain as nutrients.  Intertidal animals respond to the outgoing tide by withdrawing into their shells or by seeking refuge beneath the substrate of sand, mud and gravel, etc.; in tide pools, in the cracks and crevices of the rocky structure beneath the mussel beds or aquatic vegetation.                    

   The sense of discovery is compelling for visitors to the tidal zone during low tide. The outgoing tide provides the visitor the opportunity to harvest a wide variety of species and exposes areas of the tidal zone for exploration at low tide.

   Life seems to pause in the tidal zone during low tide, but it all changes during the incoming tide.  Life rebounds with renewed energy as the rising tide floods the tidal zone with saltwater carrying life sustaining oxygen and nutrients to the marine organisms. Clams respond by extending their siphons toward the surface of the substrate in anticipation of the incoming tide.                                  

   The daily tidal cycle along the Oregon Coast is usually comprised of two high tides and two low tides.  The gravity from the sun and the moon causes the ocean water on each side of the earth to bulge.  The Oregon Coast passes through the bulge twice daily as the earth rotates causing two high tides on most days; conversely, when the Oregon Coast passes between the bulge two low tides normally occur.  However, because the lunar day is approximately 50 minutes longer than the solar day, only a single high or low tide occurs on certain days of the month.  The moon orbits the earth every twenty eight days. The result of the moon’s orbit is that it takes 1/28th of a day for the same point on earth to line up opposite of the moon on the following day.  For this reason the low and high tides are approximately 50 minutes later than the previous day tides.  The two high tides and low tides in the daily tidal cycle consist of a major tidal exchange followed by a minor tidal exchange.  The highest and lowest tide occurs during the major tidal exchange followed by a lower high tide and higher low tide of the minor tidal exchange.  The difference in the height of two successive high tides or two low tides is called the diurnal inequality and is caused by the tilt of the earth’s axis in conjunction with the relative position of the earth to the sun and the moon.                                                                                  

   Spring tides and Neap tides are governed by the position of the sun in relation to the earth and the moon.  The spring tides occur during the new moon or full moon when the sun, moon and earth are aligned.  During the alignment the gravitational pull causes tidal fluctuations that are greater than usual resulting with the highest high tides and the lowest low tides.  The fact that water appears spring away from the earth is the reason the tides are referred to as spring tides.

   Neap tides occur during the 1st and 3rd quarter phase of the moon when the sun and the moon are at right angles to one another in conjunction to their relative position of the earth.  The effect of their gravitational pulls is partially cancelled causing tidal fluctuations that are smaller than usual resulting with lower high tides and higher low tides.

   The height of the surface water at low tide or high tide is predictable, but the actual height of the surface water may vary from the predicted height because of the weather related tidal surge.  Onshore winds can push the ocean water onshore raising the height of the surface water to a level greater than the predicted height of the tide, while offshore winds push ocean water offshore lowering the level of the surface water below that of the predicted height of the tide.  Atmospheric pressure also affects the height of the surface water.  The actual height of the surface water will be higher than the predicted tide during a period of low pressure and lower than the predicted tide during a period of high pressure.  Most of the time the weather related variance between the actual height of the surface water and the height of the predicted tide is negligible but occasionally the variance is great enough to impact clam digging in Oregon’s Coastal waters.

   Tidal predictions for the Oregon Coast are available on the Internet by clicking on WWW Tide/Current Predictor. Select U.S. West Coast sites (North to South).  Scroll down and display the tidal predictions for the location of interest on the Oregon Coast.  

   Wallet sized booklets containing the tide tables are available at most bait and tackle shops. I keep a copy of the tide tables in my wallet.  That way there is a tide table at hand when I am discussingfishing, clamming or crabbing trips with my friends.

NOAA TIDAL INFORMATION

The following links provide recreational enthusiast the insight between the tidal cycle and the environment. Understanding the relationship will make you a more productive fisherman and crabber, clam digger or any other saltwater activity requiring knowledge of the tides.

Tides Roadmap

NOAA: What are Tides?

What Causes Tides?

Gravity, Inertia, and the Two Bulges:

Changing Angles and Changing Tides

Frequency of Tides - The Lunar Day

Types and Causes of Tidal Cycles.

What Else Affects Tides?

Monitoring the Tides?

How are Tides Measured?

References

  DISCUSSION OF OREGON’S BAYS

   The functional values (productivity) associated with the ecology of Oregon’s bays are their most valuable resource.  The ecological productivity of Oregon’s bays contributes to the health and prosperity of most marine organism in the open ocean.

   Oregon’s bays are transition zones between freshwater and saltwater. Saltwater dominates some bays, while freshwater dominates others. The ecological dynamics of Oregon bays are constantly changing with the daily exchange of fresh and saltwater.  Once freshwater enters the upper tidal reach it continually mixes with saltwater as it moves through the bay to the ocean.  As the brackish water nears the lower bay, it rises and flows above the more saline saltwater.  The ebbing tide empties the bays of salt, brackish and freshwater exposing the surface of the tidal flats.  The reverse occurs when the incoming tide floods the bays with saltwater.  The incoming saltwater mixes with the freshwater as it flows into the bays covering the tidal flats.

The marine environment is challenged daily by the amount of freshwater entering the bays.  To be successful marine animals have to adapt to fluctuating salinity and the changing water temperature.  The temperature of the saltwater of the incoming tide is approximately 56 degrees as it flows into Oregon’s bays and estuaries.  During the low river flows of late summer and fall the temperature of the freshwater flowing into Oregon’s larger bays can be 20 plus degrees higher than the temperature of the saltwater water flooding the estuary.  The incoming saltwater mixes with the warmer freshwater raising the mean temperature of the now brackish water and influences the movement of crabs and the migration of Chinook salmon. During periods of seasonal heavy freshwater runoff that usually occurs from November through February, filter feeders withdraw into their shells and most fish and crabs leave the bays until the tide asserts its influence and once again saltwater dominates the bays.  A high percentage of shellfish do not survive   when the heavy flow of freshwater runoff persist for extended periods. During the winter and spring the heavy seasonal river flows lower the mean temperature of the estuary 18 to 20 degrees lower than the summer means, at times even lower than the temperature of the ocean water.         

   Tides are the lifeblood of the bays.  The ebb and flow of the  tidal current carries life sustaining oxygen and nutrients throughout the bays supporting a broad range of marine organisms.  Chinook salmon smolts forage in the tidal reach of Oregon’s bays for an extended period of time before migrating into the ocean.  Forage fish (Pacific herring, northern anchovies, and smelt, etc.), perch, greenling and bass move into and out of the bays with the tidal current feeding on marine organisms and other fish.  The movement of marine fish species into and out of Oregon’s bays is mostly seasonal with the period of greatest activity occurring from March through October.  During the incoming tide bass, cabezon and lingcod ambush forage fish from the base of the rocky structure along the jetties as the forage fish enter the bays.  Bass move into the lower portion of the bays most often when the incoming tide coincides with the sunset feeding along the rocky structure of the jetties.  The outgoing tide carries marine organisms and forage fish into the open ocean. Most perch, greenling and bass move out of the bays into the ocean with the outgoing tide, but some remain in the lower portion of the bays and along the jetty channels.  Feeder salmon respond to the increased abundance of prey species carried with the tidal current by entering the larger bays to feed.  The tidal current flows out of the bays carrying the forage fish in the direction of the ocean current.  From late spring through late fall the ocean current flows southward along the Oregon Coast.  The reverse occurs from late fall into late spring as the ocean current flows northward along the Oregon Coast.  Knowledge of tides, currents and the movement of marine fish species and their prey enhance the angler’s chance for a successful fishing trip.

   All of Oregon’s bays have resources that are common to the other bays and attributes that distinguish one bay from another. The beauty of Oregon’s bays is one of their most valuable resources.  The beauty instills visitors with a sense of peace, tranquility and self–satisfaction. The beauty is as diverse as the wildlife the bays support.  The diversity of the fishing, clamming and crabbing varies from bay to bay and is more productive in some bays than in others Herring spawn in some bays and not in others Nearshore rockfish inhabit some bay and not others.  The bar at the entrance to the undeveloped bays enhances their natural beauty while the jetties of the more developed bays provide for safer access to the ocean.  The Army Corp of Engineers is the architect of the jetties constructed at the entrance to Oregon’s deep water bays to reduce the tragic loss of life from ships that floundered and ran aground.  The jetties have been rebuilt,   improved upon and repaired many times since they were originally constructed.  The south jetty of the Columbia River was the first to be completed by the Army Corp of Engineers in 1895, while construction of the north jetty was not completed until 1917.  Yaquina Bay has the distinction of being the first bay with a south and north jetty.  Construction on both jetties was completed in 1896.  In 1960 the Rogue River Estuary jetties were the last constructed.                                                                                      

   The construction of the jetties in Oregon’s bays enhanced habitat diversity by providing a home for the fish species usually associated with the nearshore reefs and the rocky shore.  Construction of the south jetty on the Columbia River stabilized the 18 miles of sandy beach along Clatsop Spit providing ideal conditions for maximum productivity of razor clams.  Construction of the jetties has had negative effects on the ecological dynamics of Oregon’s bays.  The estuaries at the mouth of the Chetco and Rogue rivers are notable examples.  Before construction of the jetties the cyclical movement of the sandbars at the mouth of the rivers created lagoons that served as nurseries for the juvenile Chinook salmon assuring their survival until the runoff from seasonal rainfall breached the lagoons washing the salmon smolts into the sea.                      

   The disposition of dredging spoils into the tidelands of many Oregon bays is another negative practice with long lasting effects that limits ecological productivity.  The creation of spoils islands in the Columbia River Estuary, Coos and Umpqua Bays are notable examples.  The installation of tide gates used to convert tideland to pastureland is another negative factor limiting the ecological productivity.    

   The benefit that the ecological productivity of Oregon’s bays contributes to an abundant marine environment cannot be overstated.  Remember to do your part.  Conservation is the key to the future of fishing, crabbing and digging clams in Oregon Bays. Take enough fish, crabs or clams to fulfill you immediate needs. 

SHELLFISH HOTLINE and BEACH MONITORING PROGRAMS

   The shellfish hotline is a program created to ensure the public’s safety when consuming shellfish harvested from Oregon’s beaches.  Always call the public health advisory shellfish hot line at 1-800-448-2474 or the Internet before digging clams or harvesting mussels for warnings identifying the areas of the coast closed to shellfish harvesting because the shellfish are contaminated with high levels of saxitoxin or domoic acid.

    Shellfish contamination with saxitoxin or domoic acid can occur anytime during the year along Oregon’s beaches, but with the exception of razor clams it rarely affects the clams inside of Oregon’s bays. Shellfish contamination occurs most frequently when the seasonal changes of sunlight intensity and the upwelling of nutrient rich cold water along the continental shelf produce dramatic plankton blooms at times referred to as “red tide”.  Clams, mussels, oysters and scallops are filter feeders and quickly become toxic when they consume Gonyaulacoid dinoflagellates plankton or the diatom Pseudo–nitzschia Australis.  The diatom Pseudo–nitzschia Australis is responsible for the high levels of Domoic Acid common to Oregon’s razor clams.  The invasive diatom originated in Australia’s coastal waters and was introduced into Oregon’s coastal waters when it was discharged with ballast water near Puget Sound.  The Oregon Department of Agriculture is the agency responsible for monitoring shellfish for the presence of PSP and Domoic Acid.   Because of the success of the shellfish monitoring program, the harvest of shellfish is a safe recreational activity enjoyed by thousands of people every year.  They participate with confidence knowing that consuming shellfish is safe.

    Warning! Never consume shellfish taken from docks, pilings or from the substrate associated with the docks or pilings in Coos Bay, Yaquina Bay and Tillamook Bay because of the high level of contaminates associated with the shellfish taken from the chemical preserved wooden structure of the docks and pilings common in Oregon’s industrialized bays.

   Always check Oregon's Beach Monitoring Program before digging clams for health advisories or call the 24 hour toll free number at Toll free: 877-290-6767. Oregon’s Beach Monitoring Program tests coastal water for elevated levels of fecal bacteria that can be transmitted to you and your family and friends.  

Internet Links Common to the Oregon Coast

Don's Oregon Crabbing and Clam Digging Vacation on the Oregon Coast defines Oregon's Mile by Mile. Clam digger Don and his brother in law's amazing adventure set the standard for all the recreational enthusiast to follow.

Backing and shaking crab. Recover more usable crabmeat in addition to reducing the time it takes to shake and pick crabmeat.

Oregon Coast Golf Courses.

Oregon State Park's Horse Camps and Trails

Horseback Riding: click on Horseback Riding to view the stables that offer horseback riding on Oregon's beaches.

Marine Reserves and Gardens: For more details refer to the marine reserves and gardens listed on the fishing synopsis, or visit the Oregon marine reserves website at www.oregonmarinereserves.com.

Northwest River Forecast displays the current levels of Oregon's rivers and forecast future level of river flows based on the current weather conditions and weather forecast of the immediate future weather forecast. The Northwest River Forecast is a rich resource of information for clam diggers, crabbers and fishermen to view the dynamics of the changing flows of Oregon's rivers.

ODFW Weekly Recreational Report for your zone of interest.

Marine
Northwest
Southwest
Columbia
Willamette
Central
Northeast
Southeast
Snake

ODFW Trout Stocking Schedule the ODFW stocks all sizes of trout into Oregon's lakes each spring. The ODFW posts the stocking schedule of the planning on their website.

Oregon's Atlas of Lakes: Discover the rich diversity of Oregon’s lakes—learn about the current and historical topography, environmental relationships, and recreational and practical uses. The Atlas of Oregon Lakes is a resource for the public, resource management agencies, and scientists to better manage and enjoy our lakes. With all of that being stated, Portland State needs to put more effort to bring the information in Oregon Atlas of lakes up to date.

Oregon's Boat Launches: Click on the link. Answer the disclaimer’s question by clicking the OK box prior to entering the name of the boat launch or the name of the body of water in the search parameter and go.

Ocean Fishing Charters: Internet links to charter services websites on the Internet by Bays.

Oregon Coastal River Fishing Guides: Internet links to Oregon fishing guides who advertise through their websites on the Internet by Coastal River Bay by Bay.

Oregon State Parks: besides booking a place or reservation to camp or park your RV, Oregon State parks offers many recreational oriented events to the public participation: Find a Park, Ocean Shore State Recreation Area, Let's Go Event Calendar, Scenic Trails, Scenic Bikeways, Whale Watch Spoken Here! And the Junior Program for kids 6 to 12.Oregon

Link to Download the Oregon State Parks Guide. The list the location of the State Parks located within Oregon.

Oregon Shellfish Hotline post levels of marine toxins that pose a threat to the public safety. Know before you go. Always check the Oregon Shellfish Hotline prior to digging clams, harvesting mussels or other marine invertebrates or taking crabs.

Oregon Surfing is embraced by enthusiasts of all ages as they ride the waves along Oregon's Northern Beaches, Central Oregon Beaches and Oregon's Southern Beaches.

Oregon Hiking Trail information on the Oregon Hikers.org a service of the Oregon Trailkeepers website to access information about hiking trails in Oregon.

Oregon Tide Pool Tours attract thousands of visitors to the Oregon Coast each year.

Oregon's Waterfowl Hunting. Hunting Oregon's Waterfowl is permitted in some of Oregon's National Wildlife Refuges, State Parks and within the city limits for some cities associated with Oregon's Bays. ODFW Hunting Access Map

US National Wildlife Refuges of the Oregon Coast.

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