Winter is a great time for crabbing. Our good friend Dermot recently launched his own crabbing excursion, and has some great tips for the expert (as well as the newbie, or even the wannabe) crabber. Be sure to read his story below.

What is so wonderful about crabbing in Netarts Bay is that you always find yourself among friends! The bay is unique in Oregon as there is no major river feeding into it. Because of this, the salmon fisherman head elsewhere and the bay is left to those who chase an elusive creepy, crawly bounty called the Dungeness crab.

Netarts Bay can be found about 6 miles west of Tillamook, Oregon on the way to Oceanside and Cape Meares. On any given day, when the crab is in season, a legion of small boats and a few large ones can be found in the shallow bay with their occupants hauling traps and checking pots. As well, along the shore, there is a smattering of people with “snares” attached to the end of a fishing pole looking to get 1 or 2 crabs for dinner that night. To the uninitiated, they all look like experts. But that isn’t so.


One of the best parts of crabbing is that it is so easy! There are many tips and tricks that can be found on the internet and most sporting good stores that sell the equipment can also explain how to use it in a matter of minutes.

The only obstacle facing the first-time crabber on Netarts Bay is the water itself. There are no docks or platforms that afford the recreational crabber a base from which to chase their prey. This means that if you want to go crabbing, you will need access to a boat.

If you have your own boat, then just drive down to the public boat launch and away you go. If you don’t have your own, then you will need to rent one. A great place to rent for the first time is the Netarts RV Park & Marina.

Netarts RV Park & Marina is situated right on the bay. The rental boats can be found in a secluded cove that is connected to the bay by a short tunnel leading under the main roadway. At high tide all boat occupants need to duck down low in the boat to prevent banging their heads on the way out. It is a hoot!

The marina also has cooking and cleaning stations available to get your catch ready for the trip home. For the newbie crabber, it is a great place to start and will “trap” you into becoming a crabbing enthusiast.

Netarts Bay itself is just beautiful. While putt-putt-putting to your favorite crabbing spot, it is not uncommon to pass a group of harbor seals sunning themselves on a sand spit. Pelicans, in what appears to be a game, fly overhead and dip to inches above the water before soaring back into the sky. Seagulls and other sea birds buzz around the bay. And, if you are lucky, your boat will fill with crabs before you go home.

So, if you are a fan of the television show “The Deadliest Catch” but you would rather not begin (and possibly end!) your crabbing career in the Bering Sea, plan a trip to Netarts Bay and discover another reason why Oregon is so wonderful.

Editor’s Note: This post first appeared on our blog in February 2007; to plan your own crabbing excursion, take a look at our Oregon Coast fishing page. Also, be sure to check shellfish license/regulations and rental facilities before you hit the waves.

About the Author: Mo Sherifdeen

Mo is Travel Oregon's content publisher and loves to hike the forests and mountain trails of Oregon with his wife, daughter and dog. He is also known for getting lost inside a maze of books at Powell’s, sipping an IPA (or two) and seeking the best fish 'n chips along the Oregon Coast.

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