Fishing, crabbing and clamming on Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston has long been a favorite pastime for locals and visitors of all generations. Now that the pandemic has altered how we travel and recreate, it’s enjoying a surge in popularity like never before. Fishing, crabbing and clamming are among the safest ways for beginner and seasoned anglers to enjoy the great outdoors and make memories that will last forever.
Whether you want to fish by boat, by foot, by kayak or by charter, there is a fishing adventure that is waiting for you on Oregon’s Adventure Coast! Here are eight things you need to know as you plan your trip:
An Oregon fishing license is required for those ages 12 years or older. Daily licenses are available. Most fishing charters, bait shops and sporting goods stores can supply these for you. Check out our fishing license requirement page for where to buy a license and bait.
**You don’t need a license to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon during designated Free Fishing Weekends! The remaining 2021 Free Fishing Weekends are scheduled for
June 5-6, 2021 (Saturday & Sunday) & Nov. 26-27, 2021 (Friday & Saturday), Thanksgiving Weekend**
This is very important as conditions and regulations often change in Oregon! Check with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife for the latest recreation reports and regulation updates for our region.
The tides and the weather will have a large impact on when and where to safely go fishing, crabbing or clamming. Always check the weather before heading out, and familiarize yourself with the tides by checking the following sites:
There are fish for every season and an endless choice of prime fishing spots to select from. Follow our seasonal fishing guide below, or download this Fishing Information Rack Card (PDF) to keep track of what is in season.
You’ll have your choice of prime fishing spots to select from with more than 30 lakes and rivers to choose from in Coos County, and endless bay and ocean fishing spots. Do you want Fresh Water Fishing Options or Saltwater Fishing – Ocean & Bay? Depending on what you want to catch, you can do both! Here are some local fishing spots recommended by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW).
COOS BAY BOARDWALK Salmon Relatively easy bank fishing for fall Chinook and coho salmon from the boardwalk in downtown Coos Bay. Located at the foot of Anderson St. and Central Ave. Amenities: picnic
DORA’S PLACE BOAT RAMP Salmon, shad Boat ramp on lower Millicoma River about 1/4 mi. upriver from its confluence with South Coos River. Take Coos River Hwy 241 east out of Coos Bay. About 3 miles out of town, cross the green Chandler Bridge and continue up Coos River about 4 miles to Dora’s Place. Amenities: boat launch or ramp
EMPIRE BOAT RAMP & PIER Surfperch, crab, salmon Fishing and crabbing pier, boat ramp and fish cleaning station. Located at the west end of Newmark Ave. in Coos Bay’s Empire District. Amenities: boat launch or ramp; picnic; restrooms
EMPIRE LAKES Rainbow trout, bluegill, crappie, yellow perch, largemouth bass Rainbow trout and warm water fishery in both Middle and Lower Empire lakes. The lakes are within John Topits City Park and have primitive gravel launches for canoes, kayaks and non-motorized boats. Paved trail system around the lakes. Two entrances off Newmark Ave. in Coos Bay near Southwestern Oregon Community College. Amenities: boat launch or ramp; picnic; restrooms
MYRTLE TREE BOAT RAMP Salmon, shad Take Coos River Hwy 241 east out of Coos Bay. Turn left to pass under the green Chandler Bridge and continue up the Coos River Hwy about 4 miles. Amenities: picnic; restrooms; campground
ROOKE-HIGGINS BOAT RAMP Salmon, shad Fall salmon and spring shad fishing in tidewater of Millicoma River. Take Coos River Hwy 241 east out of Coos Bay. Cross the green Chandler Bridge and continue up the Coos River and Millicoma River about 6 miles. Located next to Rooke-Higgins County Park. Amenities: boat launch or ramp; picnic; restrooms; campground
BUTTERFIELD LAKE Rainbow trout, bass, warmouth Butterfield is the only area lake known to have warmouth, a small but aggressive panfish. Primitive, gravel launch for non-motorized watercraft. From North Bend, take Hwy 101 about 6 miles north to Riley Ranch County Park/Campground. Amenities: restrooms; picnic; campground
HORSFALL BEACH Surfperch Beach fishing for redtail surfperch. From North Bend, take Hwy 101 north across the McCullough Bridge. Turn left onto Trans-Pacific Parkway to Horsfall Rd. in Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Go 2 miles to parking area. Hike over dunes to beach. Amenities: picnic; restrooms; campground; day use, fee, or parking pass required
SAUNDERS LAKE Rainbow trout, bluegill, largemouth bass Rainbow trout and warm water fishing. From North Bend, take Hwy 101 north about 7 miles to Jack Ripper County Park. Amenities: boat launch or ramp; picnic; restrooms
BASTENDORFF BEACH/SOUTH JETTY Surfperch, rockfish, razor clams From Charleston, travel south on Cape Arago Hwy about 0.5 miles and turn right onto Coos Head Rd. to the beach. Surfperch fishing and razor clams on the beach. Surfperch, rockfish, and other marine fish can be caught off Coos Bay’s South Jetty. Amenities: restrooms
CHARLESTON DOCKS Crab, baitfish, smelt, clamming Recreational crabbing off docks in the Charleston Marina boat basin and docks just upstream and downstream of the Charleston Bridge. Jigging for baitfish and surf smelt available when these fish are “running.” Bay clam beds nearby. Amenities: boat launch or ramp; picnic; restrooms
There are many other fishing destinations on this list, including several more in Coos County. Click here to see the full list.
#6- Where to Find Tour Guides & Charters
When you’re in the mood to have someone else show the way, trust one of our many professionals to show you a great time. From chartered boats, planes and ATV tours, you’ll be able to see Oregon’s Adventure Coast from a local’s point of view. See Tour Guides & Charters for more information.
#7-Where to Buy or Rent the Equipment You’ll Need
Not sure where to get a fishing rod, tackle, or bait? No problem. With so many options for adventure, you might need a little equipment to help you along the way. Here’s a list of resources to help you get the most out of your time here: Equipment Rent & Buy
Be sure to visit one of our bait shops while in the area, they’re always willing to share pointers with visiting anglers. Print out our Fishing Information Rack Card (PDF) to keep this information handy on your trip.
#8- Where to Stay
As you plan your vacation to the Oregon Coast, browse our list of places to stay located throughout Coos Bay, North Bend, and Charleston. Choose the one close to all the activities and events you are planning during your trip! You can pick accommodations on the Oregon Coast that will suit your needs and preferences, whether you need a place to stay that is pet-friendly, offers a fitness center, has a kitchen, and a variety of other additions.
Look through these options and take the next step in planning your trip to the Oregon Coast! The following properties mention certain fishing amenities in their description!
Edgewater Inn- 275 E. Johnson Avenue- 541-267-0423 | 800-233-0423 Fishing/observation deck offers beautiful views of the bay.
Kelley’s RV Park- 555 S. Empire Boulevard- 541-888-6531 Crab rings available for guests.
Plainview Motel & RV Park- 91904 Cape Arago Highway- 541-888-5166 Ask about free use of crab rings and fishing poles!
Itty Bitty Inn- 1504 Sherman Avenue- 541-756-6398 Guests can borrow crabbing gear and learn how to cook, clean & enjoy the catch.
Riley Ranch County Park- 93507 Riley Ranch Lane- 541-396-7755 Offers lake fishing, & recreation opportunities. Butterfield Lake is open to boats but limits the size & restricts to electric trolling motors only.
Captain John’s Motel- 63360 Kingfisher Drive 541-888-4041 Located near the Charleston Marina, offers fish cleaning stations.
Charleston Harbor Inn- 63361 Kingfisher Rd- 541-888-1178 | 877-888-1178 Within walking distance of the Charleston Docks, boat parking available.
Bastendorff Beach County Park- 63379 Bastendorff Beach Road- 541-888-5353 Overlooks Bastendorff Beach, has a fish cleaning area.
Oceanside RV Park Resort- 90281 Cape Arago Highway- 888-717-7384 A variety of on-site amenities including a convenient crab shack and free WiFi. Use of crab traps & clam digging equipment. Beach access & general store.
Sunset Bay State Park Campground- 89814 Cape Arago Highway- 541-888-4902 | 800-452-5687 Sunset Bay State Park features beautiful sandy beaches..beachcombing, fishing, swimming, boating.
Click here to see more lodging options including house rentals.
No matter what’s happening in the outside world, the fish are always biting and there is always a place here for you to relax and recharge!
We can’t wait to welcome you back to Oregon’s Adventure Coast: Coos Bay, North Bend, Charleston. You are invited to come explore and discover incredible outdoor adventures waiting for you. There is plenty of space to spread out and socially distance! Contact Oregon’s Adventure Coast with any questions you may have about things to do on your vacation!
Winter Steelhead Fishing Winter Steelhead Fishing Trip Idea
Editor’s Note: As the developments in Coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to unfold, please follow the direction from our public health authorities including the CDC, Oregon Health Authority, and Coos Health & Wellness to protect yourself, our community and our visitors.
Face coverings are mandatory for all when inside a public space AND outdoors when 6 ft distancing cannot be maintained.
If you are ready to travel, we are ready to welcome you back to Oregon’s Adventure Coast. However, if you are feeling ill or not comfortable traveling right now, we encourage to stay home and stay healthy. Let’s all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Please visit https://ecs.page.link/xhV4h for more information.