You know you’re in Seaside when . . . this sentence can be completed in numerous ways. Today I’ll finish it with: . . . you see a guy walking down the road in tall rubber boots, fishing pole in one hand, long silvery fish dangling from the other. Yes, one of the many ways to enjoy the beauty and bounty of this area is to go fishing (or clamming or crabbing). Personally, I know little about the subject other than that I appreciate the end result: delectable poached salmon or delicate Dungeness crab cakes. So I thought I’d educate myself a little on the subject of fishing in Seaside.
First I talked with Shanon Meehan, a top fishing guide and one of the few women in the business. She explained that in the winter folks are fishing the Necanicum River for Steelhead Trout, casting lines from bridges, small boats or right off the riverbank. Salmon fishing is popular in summer and fall. Fishing licenses, salmon tags and shellfish licenses can be obtained from Truckes 1-Stop Mini Mart and Rite Aid. For those not outfitted to do it on their own, they can hire Shanon as their guide by giving her a call at (503) 755-0605.
I continued my lesson in local fishing with the Hartill brothers, Jon and Terry, of Bell Buoy of Seaside a family-owned seafood specialty store. You can pick up crab bait from Bell Buoy then try your luck from the local crabbing hot spot, the 12th Street Bridge. When people aren’t satisfied with their catch, they’ll often come back to Bell Buoy for more crab. Same with clams. Digging for razor clams is very popular on our beaches, but the limit is 15 clams, not much, according to Jon, when you consider the work that goes into cleaning and preparing them. So people will come in to pick up several more pounds before heading home. Bell Buoy is supplied with fresh catches from boats that trawl the waters from Willapa Bay down past Seaside and into the Garibaldi area. While I was visiting with the Hartills, there was a lot of hustle and bustle as they prepared to ship out holiday orders. Apparently, seafood is great for gift-giving, oysters are popular at big parties and crab legs are a Christmas dinner tradition around the country.
I also learned that Oregon is among the largest suppliers of Dungeness crab in the country. Recently the industry was certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. Nick Furman, Executive Director of the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission says, “This is a well-managed, sustainably-harvested, environmentally-neutral fishery that just happens to also produce a wonderful gourmet product.” So whether you catch it, buy it or wait for it to show up on your plate at your favorite restaurant, Seaside is a great place for fish!