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Chinook salmon is king, and a’ plenty in Tillamook Bay

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in Visit Tillamook Coast | Comments Off on Chinook salmon is king, and a’ plenty in Tillamook Bay

Salmon is one of the most popular fish worldwide. But in the Northwest, Salmon is king.
In fact, you’ll often hear Chinook referred to as king salmon. This is a fitting title for a trophy cherished most by fishermen, chefs, and consumers alike. And while the spring runs might be smaller than those of the more famous fall season, the Tillamook Bay is home to some excellent spring Chinook fishing in May and June.
Five major tributaries flow into Tillamook Bay, but three rivers in particular are targeted by those looking to land springers (spring Chinook) during the months of April, May, June, and July.
Those looking to hook some spring Chinook should try their luck near the Wilson, Nestucca, and Trask Rivers.
Wilson River
Spring runs along the Wilson River typically are not as robust as what you’ll find along some other rivers. While the fall run is renowned, some late running springers can occasionally share the river with early arriving summer steelhead, which is an added bonus for big fish anglers.
Nestucca River
The hatchery-fueled spring run of the Nestucca River is generally larger than that of the Wilson. Chinook average about 20 pounds in spring, with the best fishing typically occurring during the back half of May and the first week of July.
Trask River
Also known for a solid fall run, the springers that return to the Trask River each year provide the largest run in the Tillamook area. And on rare occasion, the spring run can rival what happens in the fall.
For more information including rules and regulations for fishing spring Chinook and beyond, visit the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website. If you’d like to go out with a professional guide or charter, click here for a list of recommended area fishing guides.
Source: Visit Tillamook Coast

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Garibaldi Cultural Heritage Initiative to give Pier’s End a new beginning

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017 in Visit Tillamook Coast | Comments Off on Garibaldi Cultural Heritage Initiative to give Pier’s End a new beginning

Garibaldi’s Pier’s End Boathouse is worth a visit not only because it offers a unique vantage point for viewing Tillamook Bay, but because the decommissioned U.S. Coast Guard lifeboat station represents the region’s maritime history.
Located roughly an eighth-of-a-mile south of the shore, off 12th Street in Garibaldi, the 2,000-square-foot Pier’s End Boathouse was constructed in the mid-1930s to house two 36-foot motor lifeboats and a 26-foot, oar-powered surfboat. All three vessels were launched on rails, fully manned and ready to search for seafarers in distress, through large doors. Coast Guard personnel winched the boats back into the building when they returned.
Coast Guard personnel pose in a boat just south of the Pier’s End Boathouse – the current Coast Guard Tillamook Bay barracks is visible on the hill in the background – in this undated photo, courtesy of John Luquette.
The Coast Guard decommissioned the facility in the early 1960s when it built a new, larger facility, capable of accommodating then-new, and now standard, 44-foot motor lifeboats, nearby.
Today, those who stroll along the walkway are likely to see oystercatchers, cormorants, bald eagles and other birds on the way. Turnouts, located every few feet, serve as ideal spots for crabbing, fishing and wildlife viewing. Bring your own chairs, however, as the Port does not allow people to set their crab rings and leave. A gravel parking lot at one end of the pier features a trashcan and portable restroom. The pier is open from dawn until dusk.
The walkway to Pier’s End Boathouse features a number of turnouts popular with crabbers and photographers. (Photo by LeeAnn Neal)
The Pier’s End Boathouse belongs to the Port of Garibaldi, which permits the public to walk along the pier, supported by more than 100 pilings. However, the building itself is closed with the Port planning to work with other entities to renovate it.
The Garibaldi Cultural Heritage Initiative, a coalition of business, government entities, nonprofit organizations and others are planning to restore the Pier’s End Boathouse in hopes of opening it to the public. Participants include: the Port of Garibaldi, Community Supported Fishery, Tillamook School District, Twin Rocks Outdoor Schools and Brittell Architecture.
The group is working with the United States Life Saving Service Heritage Association, which is interested in the structure because it is one of the few of its kind built over the water and using a marine railway to launch motor lifeboats.
Source: Visit Tillamook Coast

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Netarts Bay is nerve center of regional oyster industry

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017 in Visit Tillamook Coast | Comments Off on Netarts Bay is nerve center of regional oyster industry

Given that the origin of the name “Netarts” is likely a variation of “Na-ta-at,” the local Native American word for Oyster Bay – it’s a fair bet the area was always known for its bivalve mollusks.
Today, Netarts and its immediate surroundings along the bay, are home to periodic free Oyster Tours sponsored by Friends of Netarts Bay WEBS (Water, Estuary, Beach and Sea) and a number of other local and regional organizations.
The tours, held year-round, focus on the culinary aspect of the local aquaculture industry, as well as the ecology of Netarts Bay. They take participants to oyster beds, seafood-processing plants and to Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery, the largest oyster hatchery in the United States and part of recent cutting edge ocean acidification research, located along Netarts Bay.
Inside Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery, the largest oyster hatchery in the United States. (Photo courtesy of NOAA.)
“The hatchery is not normally open to the public and the tours offer a rare opportunity to learn about the facility, the state of the art scientific research going on at the hatchery and the issues faced by the shellfish industries and wild shellfish along the Pacific Northwest,” said Christine Smith, president of Netarts Bay WEBS.
Another frequent stop on the Oyster Tours is Netarts Bay Oyster Company, which grows Olympia oysters. While smaller than the more common Pacific oyster, Olympia oysters are indigenous to Netarts Bay and are known as a delicacy among oyster aficionados.
For more information about tours, email Smith at
Source: Visit Tillamook Coast

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Hiking, fishing, camping replace military activity on Mt. Hebo

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017 in Visit Tillamook Coast | Comments Off on Hiking, fishing, camping replace military activity on Mt. Hebo

Today, few traces remain of Mt. Hebo’s days as a Cold War-era U.S. military station.
However, from 1956 until 1980, Mt. Hebo was home to a U.S. Air Force General Surveillance Radar Station, a long-range radar installation, with 4,000 people serving there over the years. The purpose of the station, which worked in conjunction with McChord Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., was to prevent the USSR from attacking the region by air.
These days, as part of the Siuslaw National Forest, the 3,100-foot-tall mountain is better known for its camping, hiking, horseback-riding and fishing opportunities, not to mention its views. None of the Air Force buildings remain.
Part of the Coast Range, Mt. Hebo straddles the Tillamook and Yamhill County lines and offers 360-degree vistas from its summit, which is accessed by an 8-mile forest service road from the community of Hebo. The U.S. Forest Service, which occupies offices at the base of the mountain, manages the area.
View from Mt. Hebo summit. (Wikipedia)
The hike from Hebo Lake to the summit runs about 9 miles with an elevation gain of roughly 1,500 feet. Experienced hikers rate the difficulty as moderate. A shorter, easier hike loops about half-a-mile around Hebo Lake. If you’re quiet and observant, you might encounter an Oregon silverspot butterfly, a sensitive species that lives in the mountain’s meadows.
There are 12 campsites, open from late March through Nov. 1, surrounding the 3-acre Hebo Lake, which is equipped with five fishing docks and stocked with rainbow trout. Watch Travel Oregon’s “Grant’s Getaways” for great views of the campground.  (The Hebo Lake Campground footage is about halfway through the video.)
While you’re in Hebo, be sure to visit its fellow unincorporated communities, Beaver and Cloverdale for an unvarnished Tillamook Coast experience.
Source: Visit Tillamook Coast

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Garibaldi harbor combines recreation with working port for a vibrant atmosphere

Posted by on Mar 3, 2017 in Visit Tillamook Coast | Comments Off on Garibaldi harbor combines recreation with working port for a vibrant atmosphere

Few towns on the Oregon coast offer as many marine-related businesses in one location as Garibaldi.
Owned and maintained by the Port of Garibaldi, the harbor and adjacent land are home to three restaurants; two fresh seafood outlets; boat-to-table seafood enterprise; three seafood processing companies; five fishing charter services; a boat, crabbing and fishing gear rental business; two marine repair businesses; a car and boat wash; the U.S. Coast Guard Station Tillamook Bay; Tillamook Estuaries Partnership headquarters; historic Pier’s End Boathouse, a motel; RV park; and hardwoods sawmill.
A pirate mannequin hangs by a rope outside Fisherman’s Korner restaurant. (Photo by LeeAnn Neal)
During the fall, spring and summer, the harbor bustles with sports and commercial fishermen, all tending to their respective catches. Garibaldi Marina is ground zero, located next to the Port’s public boat ramp and directly on the water. It’s there that people tell tales of their adventures on the bay and ocean while marina staff and owners fillet their fish and cook their Dungeness crabs.
The Port’s harbor offers moorage for 277 boats of various sizes. Those who take a walk along the slips will see everything from commercial and charter fishing vessels to sports fishing boats, pontoons and a sailboat or two.
Boats in slips in the Garibaldi harbor. (Photo by LeeAnn Neal)
Visitors to the harbor can watch commercial boat crews unloading their hauls and putting them on ice in large totes along the docks, as well as watch kayakers paddle by, boats pull into and out of slips and seabirds circle overhead.
If you want to see the harbor functioning in high gear, visit during the annual Bounty on the Bay or Oregon Tuna Classic fishing tournaments, or during the popular annual Garibaldi Days event.
Source: Visit Tillamook Coast

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Foraging pays off in clams and sea vegetables along Tillamook Bay in Garibaldi

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Visit Tillamook Coast | Comments Off on Foraging pays off in clams and sea vegetables along Tillamook Bay in Garibaldi

With a little patience and some rudimentary knowledge of shellfish and sea vegetables, anyone can successfully forage for dinner along Tillamook Bay.
The Tillamook Indians, who maintained a village along Tillamook Bay, harvested shellfish, edible roots and sea vegetables year-round, collecting their food in baskets they wove from cedar bark fibers.
The process is much the same today, save for needing to know and abide by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife shellfish regulations as well as watch for Oregon Department of Agriculture warnings (usually posted near popular clamming areas) regarding dangerously high levels of toxins and bacteria.
If you decide to clam along Tillamook Bay, go to the Pier’s End Boathouse off 12th Street in Garibaldi and, instead of walking up to the pier, head beneath it to what is known as the “Garibaldi Flat” for the best clam beds in the vicinity. Choose a minus tide and bring a shovel, bucket or bag, gloves and rubber boots. Look for clam air holes and dig fast, as clams can burrow surprisingly quickly when they sense someone in pursuit.
Cockles can also be found in Tillamook Bay. Photo by Daniel Dudek-Corrigan
Tillamook Bay is home to a variety of clams, including gapers, littlenecks, cockles, softshells and butter clams, all of which are available year-round.
Although many of these clams are steamer-sized, gapers can be large enough to be included in chowder or eaten alone as a main course.
Now for your greens. Those patches of vegetation visible at low tide along the edges of the bay are actually nutrient-rich plants that are relatively expensive to purchase in dried or powdered form in health food stores.
Sea lettuce grows in Tillamook Bay. Photo courtesy of Seattle Public Utilities.
If you want hands-on instruction in harvesting local sea vegetables, check with John Kallas, of Wild Food Adventures, who leads occasional classes in gathering, storing and preparing sea lettuce and other aquatic greens.
The best time of year to harvest sea vegetables is mid-March through late June. There are limits on how many gallons of sea greens a person can collect per day. Check state marine garden regulations on the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department website.
Source: Visit Tillamook Coast

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