Fishing and Clamming
Even the casual visitor to Westport will see that this is a major sport and commercial fishing port. The harbor is packed with vessels of all dimensions, and charter operators line the marina. You don’t have to charter a boat to go fishing; the whole stretch from Westport to North Cove is popular for surf fishing. The rock jetty near Westhaven State Park is a good spot for catching salmon, rockfish, lingcod, surf perch, and crabs.
In September and October, a coho salmon run returns to the marina area (the young are raised in pens here, so this is “home”). Clamming is seasonal and requires a license; see the Westport-Grayland Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center (2985 N. Montesano St., 360/268-9422 or 800/345-6223, www.westportgrayland-chamber.org, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri. year-round, plus 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Sat.–Sun. May–Sept.) for a copy of the regulations. The 1,000-foot-long Westport Fishing Pier, off the end of Float 20 at the Westport Marina, is another landlubber fishing option.
Offshore rocks and reefs are feeding grounds for salmon, bottom fish, halibut, and even albacore tuna; take a charter boat to find the best spots, not to mention having your fish cleaned and ready to cook by the time you get back to shore. The charter services all charge about the same amount, so when you call for reservations be sure to check whether the price includes bait and tackle, cleaning, and sales tax, to see if your “bargain” is really a good deal.
Note, however, that most departures are at the frightfully early hour of 6 a.m., with a return around 3:30 p.m. Be sure to take along your seasickness pills. Some companies also offer overnight trips that head far offshore in search of tuna. Wander along Westhaven Drive to check out the various charter companies, or get a listing of boats from the visitors center. Expect to pay around $125 per person for halibut charters, $375 for tuna, or $60–75 pp for coho salmon or bottom fishing.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition