Ilwaco is home to the peninsula’s fishing fleet. Some of the more popular excursion companies include Sea Breeze Charters (185 Howerton Way SE, 360/642-2300, www.seabreezecharters.net) and Pacific Salmon Charters (191 Howerton Way, 360/642-3466, www.pacificsalmoncharters.com), both of which lead deep-sea fishing trips off the coast for rockfish, flounder, sole, lingcod, salmon, and sometimes albacore tuna. They also lead river trips for those in hope of hooking salmon and the Columbia River’s mighty sturgeon.
Or stay on shore to fish: More than 230 ships were wrecked or sunk on the Columbia bar before jetties were constructed to control the sand. The longest of these is North Jetty at Cape Disappointment State Park, which reaches a half mile out from the end of the cape and is a popular place to fish for salmon, rock cod, perch, and sea bass.
Stop by the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau (at the junction of Hwys. 101 and 103, 360/642-2400 or 800/451-2542, www.funbeach.com). for a complete listing of local charter operators, along with information on razor clam seasons and harvesting. Clamming is a popular pastime on the sandy stretches of Long Beach. All it takes is a bucket and a shovel, but clam guns can help the success rate. Most people have the best luck about an hour before low tide. Check the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website (www.wdfw.wa.gov) for information on clamming and fishing seasons and to buy licenses.
You can also pick up licenses at Pioneer Market (2006 N. Pacific Hwy. 103, Long Beach, 360/642-4004). For fishing supplies, visit Ed’s Bait and Tackle (207 2nd Ave. SW, Ilwaco, 360/642-2248).
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition