Five Things To Learn This Year
We really missed our Explorience program and participants this year. Until we can bring it back, here's some experiences to get you and your family out on your own.
1. How to Crab
Crabbing isn’t as complicated as it seems. You don’t need to track down where the freshest catch is, worry about getting on a boat, or wait in line only for them to be sold out. Not only can you catch your own, it’s also really fun and rewarding for you and your whole family. You are able to crab recreationally all year-round in bays, beaches, tide pools, piers, and jetties. Rumor has it you might have better luck September through November and late summer/early winter. Here’s what you’ll need: A crab trap, bait, a shellfish license, something to carry them in like a bucket or bin, a crab measuring gauge, and gloves. Where to, you ask? Lucky for us Siletz Bay is a perfect spot to crab. “Slack water” (the times of peak high or low tide) is the best time to crab. During swift tidal exchanges crab often bury themselves, but at slack water more crab are walking around foraging since they are being less affected by tidal currents. The most important part of examining your catch is to check its gender and size. Females must be thrown back and males must be 5-¾ inches across the back. For a little more detail visit the ODFW Website.
2. How to Clam
Like crabbing, you’ll need a shellfish license before heading out. You’ll also need a shovel, a bucket or clam bag, gloves, and clothes you won't mind getting a little dirty. Here in Lincoln City, you will likely find yourself purple varnish clams as they seem to love Siletz Bay. You are allowed up to 72 per day, per person/bucket. Check a tide chart and get out there during low tide looking for “shows,” or little bubble pockets. Dig around the show, coming from the side and not straight down. When you’ve dug almost to the depth of the clam, feel around gently with your shovel or hand. Be careful not to break the shell. Once you’ve removed the clam and placed it in your own bucket, and don't forget to refill the hole.
3. How To Fish
This one is a little more layered. For ocean fishing, contact a guide who can show you the ropes and get you to spots where the fish are. There are charters out of Depoe Bay to the south and Pacific City to the north. For those who aren’t keen on a boat trip, there are plenty of places you can relax and take your family out for their first cast. Luckily for us, salmon, steelhead, rainbow trout, and largemouth bass thrive in Devils Lake and the Salmon and Siletz rivers. Families tend to fish for smaller trout on the lake, but as seen below, there are some monsters to be had if that's what you're after! Based on what you want to catch, your bait and licensing will vary. Check out fun family places to fish, and more, here ODFW Family Fishing.
4. How to Spot Whales
You may have seen them, or saw something in the distance you weren't sure what it was. Well, our coastline is lucky to wave to over 18,000 gray whales making their annual migrations north and south. Each spring and winter these massive creatures travel as close as 2-5 miles offshore making whale watching possible to the naked eye on the beach. Sometimes it's obvious and you see spouts and breaches back to back and the occasional fluke as they prepare to dive deep to feed on the bottom of the ocean. The easiest way to spot them is to keep your eyes peeled on the horizon for large spouts of water spraying into the air. These whales move very slowly, making it easy to stare in one area for a few big spouts before they submerge again for up to 20 minutes. While the migration is a popular time to spot them, there are resident whales that you can see year-round. You’ll have the best luck up high, like on a hike on The Knoll, Cascade Head, or your hotel. If you want to get a closer look, Depoe Bay is your spot. Whales love that area and there are multiple charters that go out in good conditions to teach you more about these amazing creatures.
5. How to Play an Instrument
What better way to kick off the new year than learning a new instrument or brushing up on old skills? The folks down at Zuhg Life Surf Shop have many talents. Outside of their surf knowledge and shop, they have a band that plays live music whenever they have the opportunity. What few people know is that they actually offer music lessons on the top floor of their shop, which they call their very cool music room. They offer guitar, bass, drum, ukulele, theory, and vocal lessons. They welcome all ages and experience levels and can schedule weekly, bi-weekly, or one-time lessons. They have plexiglass between teachers, sanitize after every lesson and all wear masks during lessons. One big thing they've implemented is more of a “School of Rock” lesson where Zuhg band members will play along during the lesson, and the kids love it.
Need a shellfish or fishing license? It's easy. Buy licenses online and print them immediately from any printer, or choose electronic tagging to carry your documents and tag fish and game with the MyODFW mobile app on your phone.