- Clam, Crab, Hike, Birding, Hand Gliding, Kayaking, Salmon Fishing, Dory Fishing
- Two State Parks and One National Wildlife Reserve (only two years old)
- Drive on Beach and Lunch at Popular Pelican Brewery Near Cape Kiwanda
- Popular Oregon Hang Gliding Spot
Nestucca Estuary and Pacific City
The Nestucca Estuary and Pacific City are known for it’s beautiful beach with a quiet small town resort like atmosphere. For the last hundred years its been known as a fishing village with dory boats in the ocean, along with, great river and lake fishing too! There is a pristine cape, a beautiful beach to drive on and a great little town with places to stay. This beach is not known by most people and that is what makes it great! However; recently I have started to notice more tourists around peak holidays so plan accordingly.
Nestucca Clamming, Crabbing, Fishing
A local to Pacific City once told me, “Harvesting clams is so easy, the only easier way to get clams is to go to the grocery store!”
You will find access to Nestucca Estuary clam beds just off Brooten Road. At times some areas can be very muddy, in other words dress appropriately. You find many softshell clams but mostly small to medium in size. Similarly, purple varnish clams mostly small to medium in size. I like the small to medium size clams mostly for steamers or clams casino. But they can be used in chowders and sauces too, you just need more of them.
Crabbing mostly requires a boat. Some locals might disagree. Some have figured out how to drive an ATV to the mouth of the Nestucca on the sandy northern spit beach area. After that, they use a crab trap or crab max setup. The trip looks challenging, in other words, this at at your own risk.
The best crabbing is in the Estuary with a boat. Crabbing here can be effected more by how salty the estuary is, so for better results pay attention to fresh water coming from the Nestucca and Little Nestucca Rivers. Most people that are successful stick to the area shown on the above map.
I wanted to comment on fishing here, not because of the awesome Ocean Dory Charters or the Nestucca River legend of 50 pound Chinook salmon (although, I haven’t actually seen one of these since the 60’s). But, because this year the ODFW opened up a shore fishing area for salmon (see map above). Shore salmon fishing hasn’t been available here for years so I think I’m going to give this a try soon.
State and National Parks
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area is on the Three Capes Scenic Route, which includes Cape Meares and Cape Lookout. Hiking to the top of Cape Kiwanda is a popular workout and offers views of Nestucca Bay to the south and Cape Lookout to the north. This is also where the do Hang Gliding.
Bob Straub State Park is named for former Oregon Governor Robert W. Straub. The park encompasses the Nestucca Sand Spit and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and Nestucca River to the east.
This park is located in Pacific City and provides beach access, parking and restrooms. It’s a nice place to go for a walk on the beach and explore the Nestucca sand spit. Vehicles hauling horse trailers must park in the county parking lot adjacent to the park, and there is a $5 parking fee for the county lot.
New U.S. National Park
Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge was acquired just a few years ago. It offers sweeping ocean views from the iconic headlands and provides vital habitat for animals such as migratory waterfowl, elk, songbirds, amphibians, salmon and trout. In addition, there are accessible viewing decks, bank fishing, nature trails and interpretive panels ensure a rewarding experience for visitors..
Information provided is a result of personal experience at each bay or beach location. In addition, local residences providing input and advice, and ongoing information from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife websites. Information will change as incoming seas tend to shift and move sand, after that it makes it harder for clams to reproduce. So always check for current beach closures and advisories related to biotoxins, pollution or other human health concerns the same day you plan to harvest. Razorclamming.com is not responsible for the accuracy of this data and the outcome or results of your personal efforts, or safe consumption of shellfish.
Shellfish Safety Hotline
635 Capitol St NE
Salem, OR 97301
Alt Phone: 503-986-4728