155.4 Alsea Bay:
The City of
The bar at the entrance to
Eckman Lake is a 45 acre lake located 3 miles east of Waldport on Highway 34. Catchable rainbow trout are planted each spring. The shallow lake contains some brown bullhead and largemouth bass. Eckman Lake was created to provide water skiing opportunity for Waldport residents by erecting a small dam across Eckman Creek. Eckman Lake was the result. The question was the loss of the ecological productivity of converting tidelands to a freshwater lake with the price? Today the boat launch is overgrown with aquatic weeds and water skiers no longer use the lake.
Chinook salmon return to
The best fishing for newly arriving fall Chinook salmon occurs in the lower bay during the incoming tide of the major tidal exchange of spring tides or neap tides especially when the incoming tide coincides with sunrise or sunset. The next most productive fishing period occurs at sunrise or sunset during the incoming tide of the minor tidal exchange in the daily tidal cycle. Daybreak is that magical time of day when Chinook salmon bite the best. Be sure to have the bait in the water one half hour before sunrise. Fishing is most productive from ½ hour before sunrise to midmorning and from late afternoon until ½ hour after sunset. Trolling a plug cut herring with the incoming tide through high slack tide in the lower bay from the bar to the Port Docks is the most productive method to catch early returning fall Chinook salmon. The velocity of the tidal current requires the use of heavy sinkers up to 16 plus ounces to keep the bait in the Chinook’s strike zone. Most anglers concentrate fishing in the upper bay from the Port Docks to the confluence of Drift Creek to avoid the dangerous tidal conditions of the outgoing tide in the lower bay. Chinook salmon move into the upper bay above the Port Docks to avoid the high velocity of the current in the lower bay. The color of the water in
Fish in the lower tidal reach of the river channel from
Anchor above the deeper holes from
Information Report 98-4. Nickelson, T.E. 1998. A habitat-based assessment of coho salmon production potential and spawner escapement needs for Oregon coastal streams.
Information Report 88-1 Chinook Populations in Oregon Coastal River Basins. Description of Life Histories and Assessment of Recent Trends in Run Strengths
Coho salmon begin returning to
Troll a plug cut herring, hoochies or streamer flies behind a diver or wire spreader in the lower bay with the incoming tide in the upper half of the water column from the bar to the Port Docks trolling. Fish in the upper bay from the Port Docks to the confluence with Taylor’s Landing trolling plug cut herring, chartreuse hoochies, streamer flies, rainbow, chartreuse or pink colored spinners. Remember coho salmon prefer bait trolled at a speed of 3 to 5 knots.
Cutthroat trout return to the
Pileperch, walleye surfperch, redtail surfperch, white seaperch and striped seaperch enter the bay in late spring. Striped perch are the dominant perch species found in the bay. Schools of perch move onto the tidal flats feeding heavily on intertidal animals upstream from the entrance to the bay to
Starry Flounder fishing ranges from nonexistent for most of the year to fair in the spring. The best fishing occurs from the Highway 101 Bridge to the
White sturgeon enter
Steelhead: This winter, the Alsea Basin will be the focus of a steelhead “harvest vulnerability” study. This study will help determine potential hatchery production and release strategies that will maximize angler harvest and minimize excessive straying.
The Alsea Basin provides good fishing opportunities for hatchery winter steelhead from December into March. The target release of 120,000 smolts into the Alsea are split between the traditional Alsea hatchery broodstock and wild Alsea broodstock.
The data from this study will be used to test for a difference in catchability or “harvest vulnerability” of steelhead produced from wild parents that were harvested by anglers vs. steelhead produced from wild parents that returned to the hatchery. Harvest will be evaluated with a statistical creel survey, conducted by ODFW surveyors and straying will be assessed by monitoring adult collection sites in the basin. Anglers wishing to participate in the program by contributing wild-caught fish for broodstock to the Alsea hatchery are encouraged to coordinate with the hatchery (Matt Frank, 541-487-7240). Additional information is available by contacting staff at the Mid-Coast District office of ODFW (Derek Wilson, 541-265-8306, ext. 236).
The 2012 release of winter steelhead smolts was the second year of a new release point down river. Approximately 40,000 smolts of the traditional hatchery stocks were released near Blackberry Park. This release group will return this winter and should hold up in the lower river longer than in fish in previous years.
The Alsea contains a lot of bedrock shelves and deep slots that make side drifting difficult. Popular tactics include pulling plugs or divers with bait, drifting bobbers with bait or jigs, and swinging spoons across riffles.
Fair to good bank access can be found throughout most of the basin at numerous public pull offs and parks along the river. During high water, bank anglers should focus their efforts in the upper basin and around the Alsea Hatchery. A parking lot just below the hatchery provides anglers with off-road parking and access to the river. Most river access near the hatchery is on private property, which is clearly posted.
Drift boats can be put in at launches from just downstream of the town of Alsea all the way to the head of tidewater, depending on the time of year and river conditions. Fishing from a floating device is prohibited above Mill Creek. Throughout the season a portion of hatchery steelhead captured at the Alsea hatchery traps are recycled downstream as far as the Blackberry Launch to provide additional fishing opportunity.
Drift Creek-Alsea offers fair to good catch-and-release wild steelhead fishing. A large portion of the river is within the Drift Creek Wilderness Area providing good hike-in opportunities in a remote, old-growth setting. The lower reach of Drift Creek is accessible from the North Bay Road to May Road. Turn right onto May Road and follow it to the Drift Creek Bridge. There is a primitive boat launch on the other side of the bridge. Car top boats only and 4-wheel drive is recommended to utilize the boat launch because of the axle deep mud. We recommend fishing downstream because upstream Drift Creek shallows out and shallow draft lightweight kayaks and canoes are recommended.
I have friends that kayak Drift Creek from a launching point near the 1000 line within the Drift Creek Wilderness Area. We advise that one should be an expert rated Kayak pilot and any attempt to float Drift Creek should be attempted with an organized group who are familiar with the creek. If you encounter trouble you are on your own. When I sponsored a Steelhead Contest the largest steelhead from Drift Creek entered in the competition weighed 17 pounds. Each year the largest winning steelhead exceeding 20 pounds and were taken from the Salmon River with the fish entered from Drift Creek taking second place and the fish from the Big Elk taking third place; that was nearly 50 years ago.
Bank Fishing at the entrance to
Clam digging in
Alsea Bay is renowned for the high population of softshell clams common to the upper bay. Cockles and gaper clam (Tresus Capax) are common to specific areas in the lower bay as shown below.
In the not to distance past, my buddy Walt and I were into digging large gaper clams in the lower bay. However, clam digger Bret filled a 5 gallon bucket with 8 of his limit of 12 gaper clams. The best we could do was dig 4 of the big brutes.
Our clam digging buddy and former CDAO Board Member Jerry dug the clams in the following photograph. He dug the gaper clams from the lower bay and the softshell clams from the tidal flat on the bayside of HWY 34 at Eckman Lake.
The size of the gaper clams (tresus capx) in the photo demonstrate the abunance of age class of gaper clams in Alsea Bay. The clams in the photo were dug from the Bridge Flat on both sides of the Hwy 101 Bridge. The Waldport Bridge Flat was dominated by thousands of juvenile gaper clam that clam diggers were confusing as softshell clams. We asked ODFW to close the flat to harvest to protect the juvenile gaper clams from being dug. We asked OSP for enforcement! They both refused to act and the result was the gaper clams disappeared. Why? Is this important? Yes, because ODFW does not have either a Clam Managment and Crab Management plan in place. Would the presence of a Clam Management plan made a difference? We will neve know!!! I wrote to Governor Brown and she nor here staff including State agencies responded.
Shellfish and Estuarine Assessment of Coastal Oregon (SEACOR) for Alsea Bay.
Bill from the Dock of the Bay located at 1245 NE Mill St, Waldport, OR 97394 · (541) 563-2003 carries all of the crabbing gear to fill you needs to rent or buy.
Diving for crabs in lower Alsea Bay during the time of abundance paid off. My daughter involved her boys in choosing which crabs to keep.
Bill Here: Last season one of my daughter's friends stopped by my home and gave me 4 of the 12 crabs he had caught in the lower Alsea Bay. What a great gift! The crabs were soft and about half full of crab meat. However, my wife and I enjoyed a great crab Louis. I made Oregon's Crab Louie salad dressing with fresh ginger added to it.....
OREGON’S CRAB LOUIE DRESSING
Last season one of my daughter's friends stopped by my home and gave me 4 of the 12 crabs he had caught in the lower Alsea Bay. What a great gift! The crabs were soft and about half full of crab meat. However, my wife and I enjoyed a great crab Louis. I made Oregon's Crab Louie salad dressing with fresh ginger added to it.....
The recipe for Oregon’s Crab Louie dressing is based on the ability to enhance the flavor of the ingredients of Oregon’s Crab Louie. The optional ingredients consist of Worcestershire sauce or Chipotle chili pepper sauce or fresh ground ginger. Either one of the optional ingredients adds a flavor component to Oregon’s Crab Louie that complements the delicate sweet flavor of the fresh crabmeat.
2 cups Mayonnaise
2/3 cup Catsup
3 tablespoons hamburger relish
1/2 lemon juiced
1 tablespoon Chipotle flavored hamburger relish if available or 1 minced Chipotle chili pepper from a can of Embasa Chipotle chili peppers (optional), or
1 plus tablespoon fresh ginger root finely chopped (optional), or
Several dashes of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1. Oregon’s Crab Louie dressing is a combination of mayonnaise, catsup, hamburger relish and lemon juice mixed to taste. Add either one of the optional ingredients to enhance the flavor of the Louie Dressing. Add a tablespoon of Chipotle flavored hamburger relish or 1 plus tablespoon of fresh minced ginger to complement and enhance the flavors of the crabmeat and other ingredients. If the Chipotle flavored hamburger relish is unavailable add 1 minced Chipotle chili pepper to the three tablespoons of hamburger relish. Do not allow the flavor of the chipotle or ginger to overpower the dressing by using too much.
Internet links of interest:
View the navigational hazards to avoid when crossing the Alsea Bay Bar. Scroll down the PDF pages to Alsea Bay
Click on Marine Weather forecast to view the marine weather forecast for coastal waters from Cascade Head to Florence OR out 10 nm.
155.9 Alsea Bay South Shore access is gained by turning west into the beach access parking lot at the intersection of Highway 34 and Highway 101. The parking area is located behind the Historic Alsea Interpretive Center. The Historic Alsea Interpretive Center offers the visitor interesting exhibits on marine life. Take the stairway to the bay and pump for sand shrimp, fish for salmon during the annual migration or rake for cockles in this section of the bay.
156.6 William P. Keady Wayside access to the southeast shore of Alsea Bay is from the stairs built by the City of Waldport. Pump for sand shrimp or rake for cockles in this section of the bay.
157.1 Governor Patterson State Memorial Wayside is one the access point to the south shore spit of the entrance to Alsea Bay. Dig for razor clams along the sandy beach from the entrance to Alsea Bay to Yachats.
159.0 Waconda Beach is located between Beachside Beach and the Governor Patterson State Wayside and is a fair location to fish for redtail surfperch and dig for razor clams. Parking is very limited along the west side of Highway 101.
159.3 Beachside State Park is a full service State Park located north of Tillicum Beach and is a fair location to fish for redtail surfperch. The sandy beach above Yachats is listed by ODFW as a location to dig for razor clams.
160.5 Tillicum Beach is a full service State Park located 3.5 miles north of Yachats and is a fair location to fish for redtail surfperch and a good location to dig for razor clams.
163.6 Smelt Sands Beach is located .7 of a mile north of the Yachats River Bridge and is home of the 804–beach trail. The trail provides excellent access to the rocky shore. The rocky beach is famous as the location where smelt are caught by dipping nets into the tidal surge to catch the spawning smelt. The smelt run during July. The area is an excellent location to fish for perch, sea trout, bass, cabezon and lingcod. The rocky shore from Smelt Sands Beach south along the coast to Strawberry Hill offer anglers some of the most productive locations along the Oregon Coast that consistently produce fine catches of bass, sea trout, perch, cabezon and lingcod.
164.4 The Yachats State Park is a day use park located in Yachats. To access the park turn west on 2nd Street or west on Marine Drive 163.8. The fishing for perch, sea trout, bass, cabezon, lingcod and salmon in season is excellent. Refer to the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulation restricting the taking of shellfish or marine invertebrates within the Yachats Marine Garden. The area is not only popular with surfers and anglers but is ideally suited for most recreational activities.
164.7 Yachats River is a productive winter steelhead river with access to public properties from a county road bordering the stream. It offers good catch-and-release opportunities for wild steelhead from the forks down to tide water.
Steelhead:begin returning to the Yachats River in late August or early September and increasing numbers in October before peaking in November The Yachats population passed each of the interim criteria except for independence. The population was assumed to have passed the abundance criterion because available abundance data within the SMU suggests that returns are increasing and are at healthy levels. Productivity was passed because it was assumed the Upper Umpqua and Lower Nehalem were representative of the SMU. Hatchery-to-naturally produced ratios were based on angler catch reports. In 2000-2001 and 2003-2004, ODFW asked anglers to report how many fish they caught, and if the fish were of hatchery or naturally-produced origin. In all four years, hatchery fractions were greater than 10%.
Chinook Salmon begin returning to the Yachats River in late August or early September and increasing numbers in October before peaking in November. The only index of abundance in the Yachats population was from salmon catch card data. Harvest estimates were available from 1987-2003 and showed a clear increasing trend. Estimating recruits per spawner with catch card data may be misleading, but the increasing trend in harvest and the outcome of assessments for the remainder of the SMU served as sufficient evidence for a pass of the criterion. Harvest-based abundance indices may be biased by variable fishery effort although effort is often positively correlated with abundance. As a result, harvestbased indices would tend to be inflated in large return years and deflated in low return years. Juvenile production in Tenmile Creek (just south of the Yachats) lends support to the pass of both the abundance and productivity criteria. Since 1992, juvenile production in Tenmile Creek has increased nearly every year through 2003 from 587 juveniles to 35,176. There was a major decrease in production in 2004 with only 2,932 juveniles emigrating, but this is still substantially greater than the 1992-1995 estimates.
Coho salmon: mostly wild Coho salmon return to the Yachats River in late September peaking in October.
Steelhead: mostly wild steelhead return to the Yachats River from December through February. Hatchery-to-naturally produced ratios were based on angler catch reports. In 2000-2001 and 2003-2004, ODFW asked anglers to report how many fish they caught, and if the fish were of hatchery or naturally-produced origin. Of 151 fish reported caught over the study period, 13.2% were hatchery origin (Wilson 2005) Refer to the Oregon Native Fish Status Report for Steelhead for information on steelhead returning to Tenmile Creek, Bob Creek, Big Creek, Rock Creek, Cummings Creek and Cape Creek. Wild steelhead return to all coastal creeks migrating into the lower reach with the highest of the incoming tides. For those of you who wish to retain steelhead for consumption we recommend fishing in the larger coastal streams with a substantial component of hatchery reared steelhead.
Tami Wagner Wildlife Area
This 141-acre property along both sides of the Yachats River was first purchased in the early 1980s to provide forage for elk and help alleviate elk damage to surrounding agricultural land. It also provides public access to the Siuslaw National Forest along the Yachats River Highway, where there are few public access points.
In 2011, it was renamed the Tami Wagner Wildlife Area to recognize a beloved ODFW employee who died in a vehicle accident in 2010 while on her way to work at the wildlife area. Wagner was the Assistant District Wildlife Biologist in ODFW’s Newport office.
The wildlife area was well-maintained in large part due to Tami’s personal devotion to maintaining it and her volunteer coordination efforts. Groups like the Siuslaw and Lincoln County Chapters of the Oregon Hunters Association, Willamette Valley Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Longview Hills Fishing Club and Central Coast Flyfishers have devoted hundreds of hours to improving fish and wildlife habitat on the property.
Best time to visit: Open all-year round. Prime elk viewing season is spring and summer.
What to see and do
Hunting is allowed on the wildlife area during authorized seasons, see current Oregon Bird or Oregon Big Game Regulations.
The area is popular with fall chinook and winter steelhead anglers. Open for fishing during authorized seasons, see the current Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.
Wildlife viewing for elk, waterfowl and a variety of non-game species including songbirds and bats is available.
Turn east from highway 101 in Yachats onto Yachats River Road. Proceed 5 miles east on Yachats River Road; the main access points to the wildlife are between mile 5 and 6. The majority of the wildlife area is located on the south side of the road. The first access point is across from Carson Creek Road, watch for the white triangular “Wildlife Area Boundary signs”.
For a more detailed aerial view, see OregonHuntingMap.com
The Tami Wagner Wildlife Area is managed by staff at ODFW’s Newport office. 541 867 4741
164.8 The Yachats Ocean Beach Wayside is an access road that parallels the rocky shore for .5 of a mile. To access the Wayside turn west onto the access road immediately south of the Yachats River Bridge. The fishing for bass, cabezon, greenling and lingcod is excellent.
166.9 The Devil’s Churn is just north of the visitor center and 2.7 miles south of Yachats. Park at either the visitor center or in the turnouts along Highway 101. The best fishing is on the rocky area south of the Devils Churn. The fishing for perch, sea trout, bass, cabezon and lingcod is excellent.
167.1 Cape Perpetua Auto Tour is a short drive to the top of the Cape. The view on a clear day is absolutely breath taking. The basalt monolith rising 803 feet above the ocean shore is the highest point immediately fronting the ocean below on the Oregon Coast. The view from the top is a challenging reward for those with the energy to hike the trail to the top.
167.3 The Cape Perpetua Visitor Center is located 1 mile north of Neptune beach. There is a vehicle access fee to park in Cape Perpetua Recreational Area There is ample parking for all vehicles at the visitor center and limited parking available along highway 101. Follow the hiking trail down to the rocky shore. Fish from the rocks south to Cook’s Chasm and the view of the Spouting Horn and Thor's Well. Time your visit to arrive at Cook's Chasm prior to high tide. The fishing for perch, sea trout, bass, cabezon and lingcod is excellent. The taking of shellfish and invertebrates within the Cape Perpetua Marine Garden is closed except for the excellent digging of razor clams and the taking of a single mussel for fishing. There are 26 miles of hiking trails that take visitors to areas of incredible beauty and vistas that are truly inspirational. The center provides visitors with a wealth of information and displays about the daily lives of Native Americans. The history of Cape Perpetua and the surrounding area goes back 5,000 years.
Credit for discovering Cape Perpetua belongs to Captain James Cook on March 7, 1778. Captain Cook named Cape Perpetua in honor of St. Perpetua, an early Christian who was murdered on March 7, in the year 203. The information provided by the Visitor Center can only enhance the quality of your trip.
168. 2 Neptune Beach is located 3.6 miles south of Yachats and is a good location to fish for perch, sea trout, bass, cabezon and lingcod. Refer to the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulation restricting the taking of shellfish or marine invertebrates within the Neptune State Park Reserve.
168. 5 Neptune Beach has two parking lots. The parking is limited on both locations. There is a restroom located at this one. Neptune Beach is a good location to fish for perch, sea trout, bass, cabezon and lingcod. The sandy beach associated with Neptune Beach and the Cape Perpetua Visitor Center offers excellent digging for razor clams.
169.3 Strawberry Hill is located north of the Bob Creek Wayside and south of Neptune Beach 5 miles south of Yachats. There is excellent fishing for all rockfish species from the rocky ledges and for striped seaperch from the beach.
170.0 The Bob Creek Wayside is located north of Searose beach. There is a fairly large sea cave under the Bray's Point overlook. The fishing for sea trout, bass, cabezon, lingcod and striped seaperch is good.
171.3 Searose Beach is located between Stonefield beach and the Bob Creek Wayside. The fishing for striped seaperch and redtail surfperch is good. Access is gained by parking at the pullout located on the north side of the Tenmile Creek.
171.4 Tenmile Creek: Chinook begin returning to Tenmile Creek in late July or early August increasing numbers in September peaking in October before declining in November. Mostly wild steelhead begin returning to Temile Creek in late November through January.
171.5 Stonefield Beach State Wayside is located just south of Tenmile Creek. The fishing for redtail surfperch is good.
172.6 Tokatee Klootchman State Wayside beach access.
173.9 Rock Creek Beach is a sandy beach located between the rocky beaches of Roosevelt and Stonefield. Fishing for redtail surfperch is good.
174.4 Rock Creek This small 14-site campground is nestled in a grove of large spruce and Douglas fir trees, near a beach on the Oregon Coast. Campsites are situated along Rock Creek, just off the Pacific Coast of Oregon in the Siuslaw National Forest, where mosses drape the branches and ferns cover the forest floor, lending a rain forest appearance. The campground offers single-family sites situated along Rock Creek. Each site is equipped with a picnic table and campfire ring. Vault toilets and drinking water are provided. No electric hookups are available. I cannot recall ever seeing the campground open.
175.0 Big Creek, Roosevelt Beach is located north of the Muriel Ponsler Wayside.
175.3 The Muriel Ponsler Wayside has limited parking.
176.0 The Carl G. Washburn State Park is a full service park and is located south of the Muriel Ponsler Wayside. The fishing for striped seaperch is good over the rocky beach. China Creek is named after the coolies that worked in the creek for Gold.
177.2 Trailhead parking for access to the China Creek Trail, the Valley Trail, the Hobbit Trail and the trail to the beach is from a turnout on the eastside of Highway 101.
178.2 Devil’s Elbow is located between Cape Creek and Heceta Head. The entrance to the parking area for the Devil’s Elbow and the Heceta Head Lighthouse is located immediately south of the service entrance to the lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1884 and it cast a light 21 miles seaward.
The lighthouse is the most photographed landmark on the
The view of
182.2 Baker Beach as pictured above is located north of Florence and is accessed by turning west onto Baker Beach Road from Highway 101 or via the footpath from the overlook on Hwy 101.
182.2 Baker Beach Access to Lilly Lake. Lilly Lake is the lake that comes into view as your vehicle decsends the hill on Hwy 101. Turn west onto Baker Beach Rd. and continue to the Lillly Lake Trail. Take the trail to the 1.6 acre lake. Lily Lake contains native cutthroat trout catch and release only using files and artificial lures.
Sutton Lake - 101 acres; north of Florence, east of Highway 101. Yellow perch, largemouth bass, brown bullhead, blue-gill.
187.3 Heceta Junction Lakes are located just west of the Heceta Junction and Hwy 101. The lakes contain largemouth bass, however the lakes have limited public access.
Mercer Lake - 341 acres; north of Florence, east of Highway 101. Yellow Perch, largemouth bass, black crappie, brown bullhead.
Collard Lake - Access to the 31 acre lake is limited. The lake is located north of Florence, east of Highway 101 and contains largemouth bass and cutthroat trout.
Clear Lake is a 153 acre natual dune lake. The lake supports largemouth bassis and cutthroat trout. Access is limited to the hardy souls who are able to hike into the lake.
Ackerley Lake is small lake tucked between Clear Lake and Munsel Lake.
Munsel Lake - 93 acres; north of Florence, east of Highway 101. Yellow perch, largemouth bass, bluegill, brown bull-head.
The City of Florence is home to the Rhododendron Festival the second-oldest flower festival in Oregon and third – oldest on the West Coast and is just one year younger than the Portland Rose Festival. The Oldest flower festival on the west coast is the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, California.
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