A Perfect Oregon Trip – Crabbing, Clamming & Craft Beer
We’ve had a lot of firsts this summer in Alaska (glacier hiking, fishing for salmon and halibut, our first 10K, etc) and it brought back memories of a few special firsts in Waldport, Oregon. We don’t have a formal bucket-list but there are several things on our mental “we gotta do that before we die” list, and catching, cooking and eating crab right out of the water has been on that list since day one of our life on the road (we’re seafood lovers after all).
In 2013 we were making our way up the Oregon coast when our friends the RV Geeks reached out and told us “you gotta stop by Waldport, we built a website for McKinley’s campground and they’d love to have a video to share about crabbing.” We did a little research on the campground and it turned out they sell shellfish licenses, rent boats, crab rings and everything else we’d need to “do it ourselves”. We were hooked on the idea and we promptly directed our RV north from Florence. It turned out there were more firsts for us waiting there than we anticipated!
Here’s the video we put together for McKinley’s, it’s kind of a “how to” and “where to” go crabbing mixed with little vignette about the town and the RV park, but mostly it’s about crabbin’ on Alsea Bay (which is killer fun but nothing like the Deadliest Catch).
For us there really isn’t anything like catching your own dinner! Crabbing was surprisingly much easier than we expected and just as exciting as we anticipated. Its an incredibly rewarding experience and way less expensive than going on a crowded fishing charter. We even made friends who invited us out to show us how the locals do it.
Crabbing in the rain made us feel like we were hard core (or at least true Pacific Northwesterners)…in no time we’ll be ready enough for the Deadliest Catch!
Don’t let the smile on my face fool you, the cleaning part isn’t that much fun.
The cooking and eating part…well, lets just say no butter needed when they’re this fresh!
As if catching our limit in fresh Dungeness Crab wasn’t enough we also found out the next morning would be the greatest tidal range of the month. Which means the clamming opportunities are stellar! Our new friends loaned us buckets, shovels and bags, but most importantly gave us the scoop on how & where to dig for Razor Clams (they’ll give you the scoop too). Plus, my mom was flying in to hang out with us and she had never been clamming either!
This is my mom Mary, she is pretty awesome.
Here are a few tricks we learned from our first adventure clamming:
- The larger the tidal range the better (when the highest high tide turns to the lowest low tide).
- Arrive 1 hr. before low tide.
- Look for “doughnuts” in the sand and push a long, narrow shovel deep down into the sand, drop the shovel and dig as fast as you can but watch out, they call ’em Razor Clams for a reason.
- Make sure you know the limit, during our visit it was 12 per person, and that person had to dig themselves without any assistance. They were very specific in alerting us that the clam digger may not get any assistance while clamming.
If you want more info about digging for Razor Clams or crabbing, check out this website run by the state of Oregon http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/shellfish/maps/Alsea.asp or you can ask for details at the campground or visitor center.
We also took my mom out crabbing on the campgrounds rental boats but sadly we weren’t able to impress her because we only brought home a few crabs large enough to keep. Isn’t that how it always goes when you’re fishing: You tell your friends about the greatness then when they come out to see it in person ya can’t perform! Oh well, we still had a blast and had plenty of crab for dinner!
We rounded out our bucket list week in Waldport with another unexpected “first”: One of my favorite breweries just so happens to be located a few miles north. Rogue holds a special place in our hearts as it’s one of the first big name craft brews that let us film a story inside their establishment, and more importantly it’s what we consider day 01 of our full-time travel. You see, in February 2011 we were in Coburg, Oregon to pick up Windy, our spankin’ new RV, and we decided to celebrate our arrival with a Valentines date night at Rogues Beer and Chocolate event (remember it’s one of our first videos and not very good so you probably shouldn’t click over to watch it).
Rogue is a fairly common name when it comes to good beer so we assumed it’d be some fancy brewery with lots of flashy stuff. As soon as we walk in the door you’re on the warehouse floor. We step over giant hoses laid out like the tentacles of a squid, there’s a loud “beep-beep” as a forklift flies by, the fermentation tanks in the back room are covered in what appears to be black tar…geez there’s so much excitement and we just walked in the front door. We love beer tours but this raw experience will stand out in our minds for a long time.
So why are we thinking about and writing about Oregon now? Catching an Alaskan King Crab was on our dream bucket list for Alaska, but that’s not going to work out…turns out they call it the “deadliest catch” for a reason. Oh well, we’ll just have to stick to buying it at the market…however we are currently driving south along the west coast. Anyone wanna go crabbin’?
Have you ever been clamming or crabbing? Got any favorite crustacean catchin’ hot spots you’re willing to share? Please, by all means tell us all in the comments below!