Ever wanted to try digging up your own clams or catching your own delicious crabs? This is a great place to try your luck.
Netarts Bay is located about 5 miles southwest of Tillamook and has something fun for everyone. It encompasses parts of the Netarts Bay Shellfish Preserve, Cape Lookout State Park, and has lots of space to beachcomb, fly kites, or try your hand at clamming and crabbing.
Shellfish licenses are available for purchase online at https://odfw.huntfishoregon.com/login. Three day licenses are $19.00, yearly licenses are $10.00 for Oregon residents and $28.00 for non-residents. Grab your shellfish permit, hit the thick, claylike sand at low tide with a shovel and bucket and watch as the clams give their locations away by squirting water up out of the sand. Once you see a squirt you have to dig quickly though, those clams are speedy! Enjoy your spoils in homemade clam chowder, stuffed clams, or clam fritters for dinner. If you’d like to try digging for razor clams which is another sport in itself, find yourself a clam gun and hit nearby Cape Meares Beach. Clamming is loads of fun but always keep an eye on the tide, especially in the bay! The water comes in fast and you can easily find yourself stranded on a sandbank if you’re not careful.
Crabbing is also a fun and deliciously rewarding pastime. Netarts Bay houses both classic dungeness and rich flavored red rock crabs that can be fished with crab traps either from the shore or by boat in the bay. Be sure to learn the difference between the female and male crabs first as the females must be thrown back. There is also a size limit for the dungeness crabs. If you’d like to try crabbing the bay by boat, rentals are available at the Netarts Bay Garden RV Resort with all the crabbing materials included for $110.00 for three hours. They can help teach you how to clean and cook your catch as well. Crabbing is most successful in the late summer/fall.