Image: Kelly Clarke

Razor Clamming

Each April, Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula devotes a whole festival to these sweet, buttery bivalves. (The town boasts a giant razor clam statue that spits water on the hour.) In Oregon you can dig for razors nearly year-round along Oregon’s Northern Coast. Score an Oregon shellfish license and a tube-like PVC razor clam gun in Portland ($10 and $18 at Fisherman’s Marine & Outdoor), and head to Gearhart. An hour or so before low tide, drive right onto the beach and aim your clam gun at quarter-size divots in the sand. Then, carefully wiggle-dig down to reap your allotted 15 clams per person. Success tastes sweetest panfried with garlic.

Crabbing

For spur-of-the-moment coastal Dungeness crabbing, head to Nehalem Bay. Both Jetty Fishery and Kelly’s Brighton Marina offer dock crabbing for the wholly unprepared. (Rent boats here as well, along with fishing and clamming gear.) For less than $25, Jetty’s salt-weathered shack will lend you crab rings and gear; it’ll also sell you an Oregon shellfish license and the six-pack to drink while waiting to haul up your catch. (Butter up the regulars for advice on how to toss rings and retrieve crabs without pinched fingers.) Kelly’s, half a mile north, offers many of the same services, including a free cleaning and boiling of your catch, right then and there, for a feast with sweeping bay views, scored by a frenzy of seagulls waiting for you to toss your spent shells to the rocks.

Image: Michael Novak

Trout Farm Fishing

No tackle? No problem. Bucolic, license-free spots like Sandy’s 30-acre Rainbow Trout Farm provide free rods, nets, and fat, wiggly bait worms to dangle in its stocked ponds: the equivalent of a chill park day where you accidentally catch dinner (around $5 for small fry; up to $30 for huskies from the Big Pond). You could not engineer a better family outing. Rainbow likens itself to “championship golf course” where the “holes are filled with fat, sassy trout.” There’s also quiet Indian Springs Trout Farm in Oregon City, a summer-campy, cash-only outfit that will also clean your catch—providing gobsmacked kiddos an essential “circle of life” experience.

BONUS TIP! On certain weekends—like August 17–18—Oregonians can fish, crab, or clam without a license. Follow this link for more information. And psst, at some spots, like Hagg Lake and Silverton Marine Park, the Oregon Department of Fish & wildlife partners with groups to even provides gear and lessons. 

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