As I’ve been doing with Buoy 10 fishing reports, I’m now starting a new Oregon crabbing report during the prime fall crabbing months.
I primarily crab at the mouth of the Columbia River and, at times, offshore from the Astoria area when I have my boat moored at Hammond Marina. I also have offered fall crabbing trips in Tillamook Bay when I’m down in Garibaldi.
With the help of some other sources, we’ll also give you a statewide sense of where crabbing is good up and down the Oregon Coast.
Remember to follow all of the Oregon crabbing regulations.
Speaking of following, you can also get my latest posts on the Marvin’s Guide Service Facebook page.
If you’d like to get in on the action, give me a call or text at 503-314-5087 or email me at [email protected].
My Latest Crabbing Report
Wednesday, November 29
My clients have continued to catch easy limits of delicious Dungeness crabs in our trips near Astoria.
We have had some windy conditions that make the job tougher, but the actual crabs cooperate every time.
I hear that crabbing has also been very good in Tillamook Bay and several other Oregon bays with recent dry conditions. The coming rainfall could reduce the success rates in coastal bays with lots of freshwater flow. The lower Columbia River, where I crab, is such a big watershed that it isn’t likely to be impacted by localized rainfall this time of year.
I have the cover on my boat, and the heater running, so strong wind is really the only issue that keeps us off the water if conditions get nasty. I always err on the side of safety.
I’m planning to continue offering crabbing trips into December, weather permitting, so let me know if you’d like to find a day to get out and fill up some 12-crab limits.
My Previous Crabbing Reports
Saturday, November 11
Happy Veteran’s Day, everyone!
I’ve continued to do crabbing trips in the Columbia River Estuary near Astoria and Hammond, and the catch rates have simply been excellent.
It is November in the Northwest, so we often have a bit of rain and cool weather and sometimes a bit of chop, like today, but I have the cover on my boat and the heater going, so you’ll be as comfortable as possible for your fall crabbing adventure.
Down the coast, crabbing has varied from fair to good in most bays recently, some of which are more impacted by heavy rains than the Columbia estuary. If there has been a lot of rain flushing saltwater out of many bays, the Lower Columbia River near Hammond and Netarts Bay southwest of Tillamook are top bets if you are crabbing from a boat.
Full traps like the one in today’s photo are the norm this time of year, and I have some availability if you want to get in on some prime Dungeness before Thanksgiving.
Saturday, October 28
Crabbing remains absolutely excellent in the lower Columbia River estuary near Astoria and Hammond.
I had a group today, and everybody was getting limits of crab.
While the pots soaked, we fished for sea bass and also caught a nice greenling. Fishing was great until the wind picked up.
Saturday, October 21
While I fish upriver, I still have friends who are crabbing down in the Hammond area at the mouth of the Columbia River, and they reported that crabbing was amazing today. They got full pots and lots of limits with just a few hours of soaking the crab pots.
Wednesday, October 18
While I continue to do salmon trips up in Hood River, I had a few buddies crabbing down by Hammond on Wednesday. And crabbing was amazing: four limits in like two hours.
A friend said the Dungeness are starting to be about 80% full of meat, so the quality is only getting better. Crabbing is looking very promising for November when I’ll be running trips out of Hammond.
While the lower Columbia River isn’t typically impacted by fall rains, crabbing in bays with lots of river flow compared to the bay’s size will be dependent on rain. Heavy rains flush the typical coastal bays with freshwater and drive crabs out to the ocean. Lower river levels mean the bays are saltier and better for crabbing.
At this writing, some local rivers saw a bump in levels early in the week but are falling back down.
Tuesday, October 10
My friends who’ve been crabbing down at the mouth of the Columbia just west of Astoria are reporting excellent crabbing already. It will only continue to get better by November, when the crabs are in peak condition and I run most of my crabbing trips.
Crabbing also has been good at Tillamook Bay and in other Oregon estuaries, although some heavier rains could put a damper on success in those bays with lots of short, quick-to-rise coastal rivers coming in. The lower Columbia near Hammond and south of Tillamook tend to remain excellent throughout the fall season because typical fall rains don’t impact them.
Saturday, September 30
Crabbing was excellent today in the Buoy 10 area near Astoria. My clients were able to pull in 50 keepers. It doesn’t get much better, but we should see plenty of action like that for the next few months. The lighthouse area was where we filled our crab pots.
In November in particular, when salmon fishing is pretty much over and the crabs are in as prime shape as they’ll ever be, I’ll be spending most of my guiding time near Astoria in the Columbia River estuary.
As happens in some bays, recent rainfall slowed the crabbing in some other estuaries, including Newport and Waldport. Crabs don’t appreciate all that income freshwater and tend to back out into the saltier Pacific. The should return as the river flows drop back down.
We don’t typically have those rain-fed slowdowns on the Lower Columbia River in the fall because so much of its flow comes from the drier interior of the northwestern United States. So the Astoria-Warrenton area crabbing generally holds up well at this time of year regardless of rainfall, though it does tend to be poor during the spring snowmelt.
Another bay that you might try during the rainier periods is Netarts Bay, which doesn’t have any large rivers flowing into it, so it also remains salty. But it’s a smaller bay compared to the Columbia River estuary, where we have an endless number of places to drop our pots and pull up crabs with relatively little competition.
Tuesday, September 19
Crabbing continues to be good when we put the pots out while we’re fishing for salmon in the lower Columbia River estuary. The Social Security Beach area has been excellent with lots of keepers.
Thursday, September 14
Crabbing in the Columbia River estuary has been simply excellent. The area known as Social Security Beach is a hot spot.
We’re also hearing that other bays are crabbing really well. Netarts has been excellent, and I’d expect Tillamook, Nehalem, Yaquina, and several bays farther south to also be putting out decent catches of Dungeness.
Most Oregon bays tend to crab really well, except when heavy rains flush them out, while the lower Columbia and Netarts tend not to have that concern throughout the fall season.
Sunday, September 10
We decided to drop some crab pots in the river today to soak while were were off catching coho.
When we pulled them, we were able to find a dozen keepers. Perhaps not as good as in the ocean at the moment, but the crabbing here should continue to get better in the coming weeks.
Friday, September 8
Today we were able to drop a couple of crab pots in the ocean to soak while we were fishing for salmon off the mouth of the Columbia River.
After we were done catching our salmon (which didn’t take long, by the way), we pulled those pots and came up with 25 legal crabs.
Across the Oregon Coast, Dungeness crabs are in increasingly excellent shape as they finish up their summertime molt and are filling with delicious meat.
As we found near Astoria, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has noted very good crabbing off the coast of Depoe Bay, Newport and Waldport. Shore, pier and small-craft crabbers should also be faring well inside bays.
Last Updated on by Marv