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Garibaldi on Tillamook Bay offers sports fishing and crabbing opportunities year-round

Sports fishermen congregate in Tillamook Bay.

With five rivers flowing into it from the north, east and south, Tillamook Bay serves as what many consider one of the best inlet fishing and crabbing destinations on the West Coast. And with Garibaldi the closest deep sea harbor to Portland, the bay is also among the more convenient.

Even better, a variety of aquatic life guarantees there is something for the avid fisherman or fisherwoman to catch in the bay year-round.

Catch and eat

Take Dungeness crabs, for example. While these succulent crustaceans can be found in the bay year-round, they are particularly plentiful, and especially meaty, from October through December.

You can choose between crabbing via boat or from area docks and piers. Garibaldi Marina rents boats, crab pots and bait, and will even cook your catch.

Dungeness Crab in Ring

Excellent Dungeness crabbing conditions draw thousands to Tillamook Bay throughout the year. (Wikimedia Commons)

The best time of day to catch Dungeness crabs is during slack tide, a period of a few hours toward the end of low tide and just after, when bay water is not moving in either direction.

To learn about state crabbing rules and laws, including license costs and catch limits, visit the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s recreational shellfish regulations page.

If you’ve ever wondered what goes in on a baited crab ring at the bottom of the bay, here’s a look.

Cast a line

Those who prefer to catch their seafood with a fishing pole will be happy to learn that Tillamook Bay is renowned for its access to ocean fishing for salmon, rockfish, sturgeon, albacore tuna and halibut. It is also the point of entry for steelhead and salmon runs on the Miami, Kilchis, Wilson, Trask and Tillamook rivers. Bottom fish, including rockfish, are available throughout the year, while the spring Chinook run occurs from late April through mid-June, fall Chinook from mid-August to late September and sturgeon from December through May.

Those who don’t own their own ocean-worthy vessel can opt for one of many charter fishing services based in Garibaldi, or hire a fishing guide to take them fishing on one of the area’s rivers. For a list of charters, view our Business Directory.

Dungeness Crab

Dungeness crab is available in wild and cooked form throughout the Tillamook Bay area. (Wikipedia Commons)