15.4 north 22.5 south – Cape Lookout is located between the Sand Lake Recreational Area and Netarts Bay off of the Cape Lookout Road. The cape is renowned for the panoramic view at the end of a 2.5 mile trail. Anderson view point is a favorite launch area of Oregon’s hang gliders.
11.0 north 26.9 south – Sand Lake Beach is located north of the entrance to Sand Lake and below Cape Lookout. The fishing for surfperch is outstanding at the entrance to the tidal basin. Turn west from Sand Lake Drive onto Galloway Road. Follow the road 2.4 miles to the Sand Lake Recreational Area and the north Shore of Sand Lake. The recreational area is renowned for ATV use. The recreational area is a full use park with ample parking for all vehicles.
8.4 north 25.9 south Sand Lake at Whalen Island.
Sand Lake is one of the gems of the Three Capes Scenic Loop. The natural wonder of the tidal basin is its most outstanding attribute. The fishing and crabbing is consistent because rainfall has little effect on the salinity of the water because the basin does not have a large continuous source of freshwater. The presence of perch, flounder and crabs in
Low and high salt marshes are the most prominent tidal areas in
Redtail surfperch, pileperch, walleye surfperch, silver surfperch and striped seaperch enter the tidal basin in small numbers throughout the year. They enter the tidal basin with the tide feeding heavily on intertidal animals. Fishing is usually fair depending on the tide, time of year and the weather conditions. The best fishing for perch and all species occurs from May through October during the incoming tide in the deepwater channels adjacent to the tidal flats in the lower part of the tidal basin south and west of
Starry Flounder fishing at onetime was the dominate fishery in
Chinook salmon stray into
Cutthroat trout return to Sand Creek from late July into September but the greatest numbers return in August. Fish in
Coho salmon are occasionally are caught in
Bank Fishing is on the north shore inside the entrance to the north bar and from the south shore of
Clam digging in
Crabbing ranges from fair to good for most of the year inside the entrance to the tidal basin south and to the west of
6.1 north 31.8 south – Tierra Del Mar Beach is located north of Cape Kiwanda below the entrance to Sand Lake on the Three Capes Scenic Loop along Sand Lake Drive. The fishing for surfperch is outstanding on the Tierra Del Mar Beach and at the entrance to the Sand Lake tidal basin. Motor vehicles are allowed on the beach all year except they are prohibited north of the entrance from May to September 30, days all year. Driving south, Sand Lake Drive becomes Kiwanda Drive.
Town Lake is located one and one half miles from Pacific City between Terra Del Mar and Woods. The lake contains a variety of fish including planted trout, largemouth bass, crappie and yellow perch. Each year ODFW stocks the lake with nearly 200 surplus summer steelhead from Cedar Creek hatchery, so far this season. In addition some surplus early run winter steelhead should be released in the near future. These fish get fairly active in the lake and offer a unique fishing experience, especially when the rivers are blown out. Once in the lake they are considered “trout” and do not require a Combined Angling Tag. Anglers are reminded, however, that only one trout per day over 20 inches may be retained, and these fish will almost all be in that size range.
3.8 north 34.1 south – Cape Kiwanda is located 1.2 miles north of Pacific City. From the south turn left from Brooten Road onto Pacific Ave and right onto Kiwanda Drive after crossing the Nestucca River. From the north turn right onto Hungry Harbor Dr. from Kiwanda Drive. The fishing is excellent for all species at Cape Kiwanda. Cape Kiwanda provides boats protection from northwesterly winds that predominate during the summer months. Anglers use to crowd onto the steep sided sandstone cliffs, but now, private development on the Cape prevents access. Refer to the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulation restricting the taking of shellfish within the Cape Kiwanda Marine Garden. There is ample parking at the beach access site of Pacific City’s famous Oregon dory fleet on Kiwanda Beach. Click on image to enlarge it.
The spirit of adventure is embodied in anglers who are courageous enough to charter a dory for an early morning fishing trip to the inshore reefs. It is a trip that will stimulate every red blood cell in your body. The adventure begins as the dory clears the surf to the open ocean. The angler is in store for some of the best fishing for shallow water rockfish and lingcod the ocean has to offer. The return to the beach is thrilling as the dory races through the surf to the beach.
Kiwanda Beach extends from the Nestucca Bay sand spit on the north shore of Nestucca Bay to Cape Kiwanda. The fishing for redtail surfperch is excellent from late spring through summer. Access to Kiwanda Beach gained through Pacific City. Drive to Pacific City from the north via Three Capes Scenic Loop on Kiwanda Drive and from the south by exiting Highway 101 at milepost 90.4 onto Brooten Road. Drive to Pacific City turn left at Pacific Ave. Cross the Nestucca River and turn left onto Sunset Dr. and follow the signs 0.5 miles to Bob Straub State Park. The horse friendly park is a day use park with ample parking for all vehicles.
The bay is very shallow and dominated by tidal flats. The bar at the entrance to
The bay is very shallow and dominated by tidal flats. Each fall the shallow water of the tidal flats attracts thousands of migrating waterfowl. Local anglers refer to
The Nestucca Basin is renowned for its premier fishing for Chinook salmon, steelhead and sea run cutthroat trout. Click on the following link to view the salmon fishing episode from the bank at the boat ramp. A word of cautions, the rocky and or muddy shoreline structure is very slippery so wear the appropriate footwear when fishing or taking crawdads.
Fishing in the Nestucca River Estuary
Chinook salmon INFORMATION REPORTS NUMBER 2008-01 Click on the Chinook Salmon link to read the entire report.
Oregon North Coast Spring Chinook Stock Assessment – 2005-06 for the Nestucca, Wilson and Trask Rivers
INTRODUCTION: Chinook salmon populations of the Oregon coast exhibit two general life history types, classified as either spring-run or fall-run depending on adult life-history traits. Fall Chinook are present in most Oregon coastal basins, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has identified 28 fall Chinook populations in this area (ODFW 2005). Spring Chinook salmon are found in larger river basins on the Oregon coast, and the upper portions of the Umpqua and Rogue rivers. This is a more limited distribution than coastal fall Chinook and includes only 10 populations (ODFW 2005). Oregon coastal fall Chinook stocks have been monitored through a set of 56 standard spawning ground surveys, many conducted since the 1950’s. There has not been a similar, consistent, coast-wide monitoring program for Oregon coastal spring Chinook spawners. Abundance of these populations has been monitoring through a variety of methods including; freshwater harvest estimates, counts at dams and weirs, summer resting hole counts, and spawning ground surveys.
Chinook salmon return to
The spring run of Chinook salmon begins about the first week of May peaking in late May – early June and running through June. The catch rate averages 890 fish per year and is comprised of a high percentage of mature 5 year old fish. Some anglers' fish for spring Chinook salmon in the lower bay trolling a plug cut herring, but most fish in the river above the head of tidewater.
Spring Chinook unlike their fall cousins spend very little time in tidewater. Some Chinook may hold briefly at the head of tidewater at Cloverdale, while others continue upriver to the spawning grounds. The spring Chinook salmon’s exception to their fall behavioral pattern of tidewater
The summer run fish enter the bay in late July peaking in August. The average catch rate is 257 acclamation provides anglers with the opportunity to fish for upriver bright salmon whose flesh is still at its optimum quality. Drifting the
Fall Chinook salmon begin to return about the end of August, peaking in September into October. The average catch rate for fall Chinook is 3150 fish per year and is comprised of a high percentage of mature 5 year old fish. 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. Early in the run troll a plug cut herring with the incoming tide through high slack tide or with the outgoing tide from Cannery Hill seaward in the channel paralleling the east shore to the bar. The velocity of the tidal current in the lower bay requires the use of heavy sinkers up to 12 ounces to keep the bait in the Chinook’s strike zone.
During the peak of the run fish downstream from
Steelhead 2003-01 Information Report - Assessment of the Status of Nestucca and Alsea Winter Steelhead,
Steelhead return to the Nestucca, Little Nestucca and Three Rivers from late November through April
Early-returning hatchery steelhead (40,000 smolts marked with an adipose and left maxillary fin clip) are available from late November through January, with a peak in late December/early January. Wild broodstock hatchery steelhead (70,000 smolts; adipose only clipped) are available in the Nestucca through the spring. Past creel surveys show most fish are caught January to early April.
Since 2008, most of the early returning hatchery smolts have been released in Three Rivers, with a portion released at Farmer Creek boat launch. The wild brood hatchery smolts are released in Three Rivers; in the main stem Nestucca River at Farmer Creek boat launch and First Bridge boat launch; and in Bays Creek (a tributary just above the fifth bridge). This release strategy should optimize harvest opportunities and help spread the fishery out.
Wild steelhead are caught throughout the winter, with a peak in March.
The Nestucca River Road parallels the upper Nestucca River, beginning at Beaver and continuing upstream to the angling deadline at Elk Creek. Best bank access is above Blaine, with many pullouts along the river. The use of bait is prohibited in the Nestucca River above Moon Creek. Fishing in the upper Nestucca is best later in the season, as primarily wild fish return to the upper river. The Nestucca River upstream from Moon Creek closes March 31.
Boat access is available at boat ramps located at the first and fourth bridges above Beaver, at a boat slide above the fifth bridge (a new wooden boat slide was constructed in 2011, with concrete steps added last year to make access down the bank easier)and at the sixth bridge. The launch site at sixth bridge is located on private property, and anglers are asked to be courteous and pack out their trash in order to insure access in the future. Only experienced boaters should launch upstream of the fourth bridge due to some hazardous water.
The lower Nestucca River offers limited bank access, but some very good boat access. Launching/takeout is available at boat ramps located at First Bridge, the Rock Hole (end of Bixby Road), Farmer Creek wayside, the mouth of Three Rivers and Cloverdale. Bank access also is available at those sites. A separate fee (not the county pass) is required at Cloverdale to cover the cost to lease access from the Sanitary District. Day passes are available at the launch, or season passes are available from the sporting goods store in Hebo. Repairs to the lower end of the Cloverdale launch were completed recently. Use caution as there is a drop off at the end of the concrete, although this should not be an issue at normal winter flows.
Three Rivers, a tributary entering the Nestucca at Hebo, offers very good bank access in the lower river and excellent opportunity for anglers targeting early-returning hatchery steelhead, as well as later returning wild broodstock hatchery steelhead. Good numbers of steelhead ascend Three Rivers on their return to Cedar Creek Hatchery.
Bank access on Three Rivers is available at the hatchery, at the “heart attack” hole (on the south side of the stream), on the “S” curve just above Hebo, and by the sewage treatment plant in Hebo. The upper Three Rivers is accessible along Hwy 22, but fewer fish are present above the hatchery weir and bank access is limited. When available, fish are recycled downstream from Cedar Creek Hatchery.
The Little Nestucca River offers fair opportunity for steelhead. A few stray hatchery steelhead may be present throughout the winter season. Wild fish may be caught and released through the winter, with the run peaking in March. Limited public access is available along Little Nestucca River Road between Hwy 22 and Hwy101.The river closes March 31.
Coho salmon begin returning to
Cutthroat trout return to
Striped seaperch, pileperch, redtail surfperch and walleye surfperch enter the bay in late spring. Schools of perch move onto the tidal flats feeding heavily on intertidal animals. The fishing ranges from poor to fair through fall depending on the tides, weather conditions and the number of perch entering the bay. Historically fishing for perch is slow in
White sturgeon enter
Bank Fishing for salmon is accessible from the public boat launches at the head of tidewater in Cloverdale and upstream at the confluence of Three Rivers and Farmer Creek from the Pacific City boat ramp or the at the boat ramp or on south shore of the Little Nestucca River with a bobber using eggs, sand shrimp or a combination of eggs and sand shrimp or with spinners. The Nestucca Valley Sporting Goods Store in Hebo can direct you to hat allow public access.
Clam digging in
Crabber Steve and friends took time off of crabbing and fishing in Siletz Bay to crab in the lower Nestucca Bay. Several months prior to this visit Steve and friends took near limit catches of Dungeness crabs using Crab Max crab traps; however, this time they did not take a crab. Recent rainfall pushed the crabs out into the ocean.
Times are tough and economical R/V and tent space accomodations in the Three Capes Scenic Loop are extremely limited. There are low cost alternatives to the high priced RV parks in Woods and Pacific City for R/V ers and tent campers. The Whelan County Park at Sand Lake and the Woods Campground and County Park are two another options for campers located nearby in Woods and Sand Lke.
Is there anything more rewarding than taking a bushel of crawdads from Oregon's coastal rivers? What a great recreational opportunity for all! The day we visited the Nestucca river it was more of a fact finding trip. Much like crabs the culinary diversity of crawdads is only limited by your imagination.
The limit for crawdads is 72 per person per day. We only took enough crawdads to satisfy our immediate needs as a side dish. Do not consume crawdads raw or undercooked. I cooked the crawdads in the video clip for 5 to 7 minutes in boiling water. Boil crawdads until they are thoroughly cooked through, but over cooking dries them out and they become rubbery.
Most people find eating visceral material objectionable. The visceral canal of crawdads is easily removed as shown in images 3,4 and 5. Pick up the crawdad and grasp the middle segment of the tail flap. Twist 90 degreed and pull. The one to two limits of crawdads are ready to cook.
I purchased an immersion basket for my 16 quart stock pot. It is so very useful in cooking all kinds of things such as a boiled crawdad feed, cooking Dungeness crabs and blanching clams. etc.
All tings are not equal when cooking a boiled crawdad feed. One has to consider the cooking time of the ingredients, potatoes, corn and crawdads in that order for everyone to enjoy the feed.
Crawdad feeds really give you the opportunity to showoff you cooking skills, but the basics will do just fine. Fill the 16 quart stock pot with 6 quarts of water. Add 1/2 cup of Crab Boil, 1/2 cup of salt, 4 bay leaves, 4 cloves of garlic and a rough chopped onion.
Bring the water to a boil. Add the potatoes to the boiling water. Boil the potatoes until nearly done. The potatoes should offer some resistance when poked with a round sharp toothpick. Add the corn. Return to a boil and boil for seven minutes. Add the crawdads and boil for 5 to 7 minutes. Remover the immersion basket, drain and serve.
90.4 Coast Route directions for visitors traveling north on Three Capes Scenic Loop. Highway 101 goes inland to Tillamook once you have crossed over the Little Nestucca River just east of Nestucca Bay. The route along the coast continues to Pacific City by turning left from Highway 101 onto Brooten Road. Brooten Road is the beginning of the Three Capes Scenic Loop. The miles listed for the Three Capes Scenic Loop reflect the distance actual distance traveled on the individual roads that comprise the Three Capes Scenic Loop for a total of 37.9 highway miles beginning at the intersection of Hwy 101 and Brooten Road and ending at the intersection of Hwy 101 and 3rd Street (Netarts Hwy) in the City of Tillamook.
The Three Capes Scenic Loop travels from Brooten Road along Nestucca Bay to Pacific City. Turn left at the stop sign and cross the bridge over the Nestucca River (2.9 miles from Hwy 101). Turn right at the stop sign to travel north to Cape Kiwanda (3.8 miles from Hwy 101) along Kiwanda Drive, which becomes Sand Lake Drive. Drive past Sand Lake (8.4 miles from Hwy 101) to Cape Lookout Road (12.0 miles from Hwy 101). Turn left to Cape Lookout (18.1 miles from Hwy 101) and Netarts Bay (23.4 miles from Hwy 101). Take the Cape Mears Road to the community of Oceanside (26.1 miles from Hwy 101). From Oceanside travel to Cape Mears (28.6 miles from Hwy 101) and to Bayocean Road (30.7 miles from Hwy 101). Take Bayocean Road to the Netarts Highway (36.1 miles from Hwy 101). Take the Netarts Highway to Tillamook where you rejoin Highway 101 (37.9 miles from Hwy 101).
90.4 Coast Route directions for visitors traveling south from Pacific City. Visitors traveling south along the Oregon Coast should turn right onto Highway 101.
93.7 Winema Beach is the beach south of Nestucca Bay. The surfperch fishing for redtail surfperch is excellent. Parking at the beach access is very limited.
97.7 Kiwanda Beach is located between Neskowin Beach and Winema Beach. Access is gained through the community of Neskowin by beach access trails from Hawk Street. The parking along Hawk Street is limited. The fishing for redtail surfperch ranges to good.
97.7 Neskowin Beach is a small beach located north of Cascade Head and immediately south of Kiwanda Beach. Turn west into the entrance of the community of Neskowin. Park at the State Park Wayside and follow the trail to the beach. The fishing for redtail surfperch is good especially at the mouth of Neskowin Creek. The beach in front of Proposal Rock is site of two thousand year old Sitka spruce and hemlock tree stumps that were uncovered by the erosion caused from El Nino and La Nina. Single adults should avoid visiting the area while in the company of a member of the opposite sex to avoid conflict over intentions unless your intentions are marriage. The power of Proposal Rock is truly inspiring.
The entrance to the Salmon River Estuary and Three Rocks just offshore is the site of a wreaked treasure laden Spanish Galleon that went aground in the early 17th century, but the real treasure is the beauty that surrounds visitors to the estuary. The estuary is unique because the functional values associated with the ecology of the tidal flats and marshes have been restored to a natural condition. The estuary is one of most picturesque on the
The Salmon River Estuary is a freshwater dominated estuary. The claming, crabbing and fishing are limited by the amount of freshwater entering the bay. Not at anytime should the small boater attempt to cross the bar. Avoid boating in the lower estuary during the outgoing tide.
Even though the Salmon River Estuary is one of
105.2 Hwy 18 is the major highway between the Portland Metro and Salem metro areas and Lincoln City and other the beach communities of Newport to the south and cities associated with the Three Capes Senic Loop to the north.
Chinook salmon return to the estuary in small numbers in late August peaking in late September or early October and running into November. Chinook salmon in the
Coho salmon enter the Salmon River Estuary in late August through September, peaking in October and running into November. At one time the average size of the coho salmon returning to the
Steelhead fishing in the Salmon River (located north of Lincoln City along Hwy 18) offers fair-to-good catch-and-release fishing for wild winter steelhead, from late December through March. Bank access can be found in the lower river near the Salmon River Hatchery or along the Van Duzer corridor.
Cutthroat trout return to the Salmon River Estuary in August. Fish for cutthroat trout during the incoming tide trolling Doc Shelton spinners rigged with a night crawler or from shore in the upper tidal reach of the estuary casting spinners or by fishing on the bottom of the deeper holes with night crawlers of crawfish tail. The cutthroat have a tendency to remain in the cool brackish water of the estuary until rain cools the water in the river before migrating upriver.
Striped seaperch, pileperch, walleye surfperch and white seaperch enter the estuary with the tide beginning in late May. Perch fishing is fair at best until the seasonal rains dominate the estuary. Fish for perch along the channels that drain the tidal flats in the lower estuary.
White sturgeon are occasionally caught by anglers fishing for salmon during the fall.
Clam Digging is limited to softshell and purple varnish clams. The most productive softshell clam beds are located in the tidal flats on the northeast shore upstream around the bend from the boat launch. Except for canoes the boat launch is too shallow to use at low tide.
Crabbing ranges from poor to fair from May through July and is good during August and September in the lower estuary.
Bank Fishing from the more productive fishing locations is very competitive with anglers often fishing elbow to elbow. It is often difficult to find a parking place along Highway 18 near the Red Barn located .8 of a mile east of Highway 101. Fishing with large white, chartreuse or orange
Rooster Tails, Blue Fox or Bolo spinners or bobber fishing salmon eggs topped with a sand shrimp accented with colored yarn are the most productive methods.
Salmon River Estuary boat launch is a free boat launch operated by
Click HERE to return to the top of the page.
Click HERE to return to mile by mile