2018 Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival
If you love seafood, there’s no better weekend to be in Astoria for cracking fresh-caught Dungeness crab, and enjoying seafood and the latest vintages. In addition to the bounty offered by the region’s salty seas and regional vineyards, the festival features over 80 Pacific Northwest vendors showcasing arts, crafts and gifts.
This year’s festival takes place Friday, April 27 - Sunday, April 29 at the Clatsop County Fairgrounds near Astoria and Warrenton, Oregon. Learn more here. Be sure to check out the getting to the festival page as parking is limited at the event and using one of the convenient shuttles is recommended. The Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival happens every year on the last full weekend in April.
Catch it, eat it
There’s lots of ways to enjoy seafood in Astoria and Warrenton all year, whether catching, foraging, or just finding a nice window table with a view of the Columbia. See below for tips on how to dig, pull or reel in your own wild harvest.
The 18 miles of long, flat beaches from the mouth of the Columbia River to Seaside are a clam digger’s dream. Stable sand conditions produce succulent razor clams, making this one of the best places to dig your dinner. Before hitting the sand, you’ll need a shellfish license and some sturdy rubber boots. Check out the Oregon Department of Fishing & Wildlife’s website for easy how-to tips. Once on the beach, look for siphon holes or “shows” – little air pockets in the sand – that are dime-sized or larger to avoid small clams. Once you’ve spotted a “show,” you need to move fast, as clams can disappear deeply into the sand within seconds.
Long known as the salmon fishing capital of the world, Astoria remains a productive spot for tossing out a line. Whether spring or fall chinook, the vaunted Buoy 10 summer silver salmon season, or off-shore excursions for halibut, tuna and rockfish, there are fish to be had most months. Guides and charters offer full-service trips, a great way to learn how to catch these iconic fish. Not up for getting out yourself? You can also nab just-caught whatever-is-in-season at local seafood stands or smoked products at the famous Josephson’s Smokehouse.
Insanely delicious, Dungeness crab is remarkably easy to catch. All it takes is a shellfish license, crab ring or pot, some bait, a measuring tool, and knowledge of the local tide tables. The gear can be purchased at local sporting goods stores or you might be able to pick up used equipment at a thrift store. For bait, fish carcasses are available at some marinas and tackle shops, or chicken is a good alternative (the latter is not a favored snack for the local sea lions). If you don’t have a boat, some good places in the area to toss your baited gear include Seaside or Nehalem Bay to the south (local charter companies also offer crab outings). Crabbing is best a few hours before high tide up until an hour or so after. Let the rings or pots soak for at least 20 minutes, pull them up and check. Toss back all females (recognizable by the round versus narrow underbelly) and all males under the legal-size limit. You can keep up to 12 per person per day. Your charter or a local tackle shop may offer to clean or cook your catch for a nominal charge. While open year-round, the best time is September through April.
Grab a Bite
Of course, a good day in search of fresh bounty deserves a proper celebration. Check out the great places to enjoy the local catch wherever your Astoria and Warrenton adventures take you.