THE BRIDGE BED, a productive clam lair found below the Yaquina Bay Hwy. 101 bridge, can be accessed from the Rogue brewery parking lot on the southeast corner of the bridge or from South Jetty Road. Gapers and cockles are most commonly found in this area with butter and littlenecks sparsely available. A rake works best in this area for cockles; a shovel is most effective for digging gapers.
IDAHO FLATS is easily accessed from several points along SE 35th Street (Idaho Point Rd), S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., or Hatfield Marine Science Center parking lot. Gaper, butter, cockle, and littleneck clams can all be found throughout these areas. For digging, a shovel would be best; a rake works best for cockles.
SALLY’S BEND is easily accessed from Yaquina Bay Dr. Butter, cockle, and littleneck clams can all be found throughout these areas. These mud flats can have soft spots in higher areas where ghost shrimp are prevalent and walking may be difficult. For digging, a shovel would be best; a rake works best for cockles.
UPPER BAY includes some areas accessible by foot (many points along Yaquina Bay Dr and South Bay Road) and other portions of mud flats that can only be reached by boat. The Eastern softshell clam is abundant in these upper bay areas; other commonly harvested bay clams will not be found this high in the estuary. Softshell clams are usually found 8 to 16 inches below the surface. A shovel or clam gun is most effective for digging in this area.
DUNGENESS CRABS are found throughout the bay, with most legal crab in the lower bay. Peak harvest months are from June through November. Large sandy flats in depths of 20-30 feet found outside the navigational channel are excellent habitat for Dungeness crab. Primary areas for dock crabbing in Newport are the public fishing pier in South Beach, as well as Abbey Street and Bay Street piers on the Newport Bay front. Native red rock crabs, which prefer the complex habitats that docks offer, are a common catch in these areas. Gear may be set anywhere within public areas along these docks, but be sure not to interfere with boat traffic.
For access to more crabbing grounds, you can rent a boat (or, of course, bring your own). Boat rentals often include crab rings. Try the Newport Marine Store and Charters in South Beach ((541) 867-4470 and www.nmscharters.com), the Embarcadero Resort ((541) 265-8521 or www.embarcadero-resort.com), or Sawyer’s Landing Marina and RV Park (4098 Yaquina Bay Rd, (541) 265-3907) for rentals.