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Oregon Shellfish Areas - Coos Bay

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Coos Bay

See the Coos Bay area map below | View Coos Bay shellfish areas as pdf

Area 1 (South Slough) can be reached from several access points along the west side of South Slough within Charleston. This area is a large sand/ mud flat that is firm enough to walk on easily in most places. Many clam species can be found in this highly marine influenced area. In sandy areas, such as those just south of the Charleston bridge, cockle raking is popular. In muddier areas, such as the “Charleston Triangle” (between the commercial docks and the bridge), gaper clams can be found readily at good tides. In areas further up South Slough softshell clams can be found sparingly. Other clams, such as butter and littleneck clams, are found mixed throughout. A shovel would be best to use in this area.

Area 2 (North Spit) requires a boat or 4X4 for access. This area supports several large and productive clam beds. All species common to lower bays can be found here, including gapers, butters, cockles, and littlenecks. A shovel would be best to use in this area.

Area 3 (Fossil Point and Pigeon Point) can be accessed by many points along Cape Arago Highway from Empire to Charleston. Substrate in the area varies from sand/mud to sandstone/ gravel. In the sandier areas of Pigeon Point, gapers and cockles are easily found. In gravely areas, such as Fossil Point, butter and littleneck clams are more common. A shovel would be best to use in this area.

Area 4 (Haynes Inlet, North Slough, and Glasgow) can be reached by the nearby banks, from Highway 101 or East Bay Drive. Softshell clams are common throughout the intertidal areas. Ghost shrimp are common in the area so be wary of soft mud. Commercial oyster operations are also nearby so remember that oysters are private property and cannot be harvested recreationally. A shovel or clam gun would be best in this area.

Area 5 will require a boat for crabbing. Large sandy flats in depths of 20-30 feet provide excellent bay crabbing year round. Pots may be set anywhere within this area using caution to avoid direct placement in navigation channels.

Area 6 notes areas for dock crabbing. In Charleston, the primary areas for dock crabbing are the commercial docks, public crab dock, and “T” docks just south of the bridge. Another popular spot is on the docks adjacent to the Empire boat ramp. Dock crabbing is often fruitful year round, but less so than boat crabbing.


Boat Launches

Boat launches in Coos Bay can be found at the following locations

  • Charleston Boat Ramp- within the Charleston marina complex (fee applies)

  • Empire Boat ramp- located at turn from Ocean Blvd to Cape Arago Hwy (free)

  • BLM boat ramp- located on North spit, but not always open due to sedimentation (free)

  • California Street Boat ramp- located along Highway 101, in North Bend (free)


Information provided is a result of past ODFW surveys, recent spot checks, and input from local residents. The purpose of this map is to provide the user with information and locations of recreational shellfish areas where the most likelihood of success may be found by species. Clam species identified within a particular area represent the most abundant found; other species may be present or may exist in areas not identified on the map. This is to be used as a reference as sandbars, clam beds, and species composition can shift over time. Always use caution when boating/crabbing in the lower bay as swift currents during tidal exchanges can occur, and result in loss of gear or cause boat to be pulled out to sea if mechanical problems arise.

Coos Bay


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