Tillamook Bay. ##Stock Photo

Fisherman’s Delight

A chef’s guide to fishing and crabbing on the Oregon Coast

By Chef Ryan Ziegler

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest and fishing its impressive landscape of waterways has instilled in me a deep connection to the Oregon Coast and the Pacific Ocean. There are endless coves, nooks and beaches to experience all that fishing in Oregon has to offer, but I am drawn most to the small coastal town of Garibaldi.

Garibaldi is a fishing and crabbing community just north of Tillamook, settled at the edge Tillamook Bay and overlooking the gateway to the Pacific. As you round the bend of the bay, you are greeted by the towering lone smokestack — a reminder of the days when Garibaldi was a prosperous logging town. The giant “G” on the hillside illuminates at dusk and gives visitors a warm welcome.

The Port of Garibaldi provides ample opportunity to fish and crab for a vast selection of catches. The nearby town of Manzanita boasts abundant salmon fishing. Twin Rocks and South Tillamook Bay offer ample crabbing. Bottom fish like rockfish and lingcod can be found near Three Arch Rocks off Oceanside and Netarts. If you have a taste for deep-water fish, albacore tuna can be found just outside the bay. Garibaldi and the Oregon Coast are a true fisherman’s delight.

If you plan on taking a fishing expedition at the Oregon Coast, specifically Garibaldi, there are a few basics to stock up on. First, you will need an angling or shellfish license, which you can obtain from the Port of Garibaldi or through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) app. If you don’t have your own equipment, it is advisable to rent from a reputable outlet like the local sporting goods store in Tillamook.

Chef Ryan Ziegler with a big catch of the Oregon Coast. ##Photo provided

The best choice for any novice is to accompany a seasoned fisherman who can — literally — show you the ropes. In Garibaldi, there are many knowledgeable guides available for hire that can provide a great fishing experience. Guides are experts in navigating local waters. They will provide you with all the equipment you need and educate you on species and size restrictions, and they will usually gut and clean any catch that meets ODFW requirements.

It is wise to accept that motion sickness can affect anyone. Taking an over-the-counter motion-sickness medication prior to your trip out on the ocean is strongly recommended, since seasickness will inevitably take away from an otherwise awesome experience. The ocean is a truly a world all its own, and it is humbling to recognize and appreciate its power and what lies beneath its surface. The ocean can earn your respect in a single breath, and you’ll want to be present and able to fully enjoy the experience.

There is always the chance that you may go home empty-handed, so it’s important to remember that fishing and crabbing are about more than the catch you bring home. When you allow yourself to open your eyes and soak in the grandeur of everything the coast has to offer, you won’t be disappointed. You may have the opportunity to see an orca or blue whale swimming in close proximity to your boat. Often, seals or sea lions will make an appearance and watch you with curiosity. The sunrise and sunset alone are worth the trip away from the daily rat race. And if you do leave the boat empty-handed, the Port of Garibaldi has a number of markets where you can purchase fresh fish, shellfish and crabs.

Now that you have your catch, it’s time to think about how to prepare your day’s harvest and what colorful pour will pair best. If you were lucky enough to catch a Chinook or Coho salmon, you have a multitude of mouthwatering options. Some of my favorites include grilling, roasting on a cedar plank or baking. Using a simple combination of salt, pepper, lemon and fresh herbs in moderation complements the fish without taking away from its natural flavor. This rich Oregon delicacy pairs wonderful with a full-bodied Pinot Noir. Domaine Serene and Archery Summit Pinot Noir are both perfect options to enhance this dish.

If your catch of the day includes Dungeness crab, you have the makings of a delectable coastal crab boil. Boil the crabs in saltwater, add some roasted potatoes, fresh corn on the cob, and locally sourced andouille sausage, and serve with drawn butter and a bottle of Shea Wine Cellars 2015 Chardonnay. You can’t get more Oregon than that.

If a lighter fish like lingcod or rockfish is your choice, pan searing, oven roasting, or even beer-battering and deep-frying all work well. Enjoying these dishes with a nice glass of Kings Estate Pinot Gris or Ponzi Pinot Blanc would make a perfect end to a beautiful day on the Oregon Coast.

One of my favorite dishes to use a day’s catch from the Oregon Coast is cioppino. A stew with a saffron-fennel tomato broth, it features Manila clams, mussels, prawns and Dungeness crab. Maryhill Albariño is also a key ingredient. I love serving the wine used in a dish with the meal itself. It brings a natural connection and symmetry to the dish, much like the connection I feel with the Oregon Coast, fishing and being a chef.

Oregon Coast Cioppino

Recipe by Chef Ryan Ziegler, Line & Lure Seafood Kitchen

Main Ingredients

¼ cup unsalted butter

¼ cup finely diced yellow onion

¼ cup finely diced celery

1/8 cup sliced fennel

2 ounces leeks, cut into half moons

4 ounces andouille sausage, cut into half moons               

½ tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

¼ cup Maryhill Albariño

¾ cup V-8 juice

1½ cups clam juice

4 saffron threads

1 bay leaf

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice

2 dashes Tabasco sauce

1 dozen Manila clams

1 dozen mussels

8 prawns, peeled, deveined, tails removed

2 Dungeness crab sections

Poaching liquid

4 cups water

½ cup Maryhill Albariño

1 lemon, halved

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon black peppercorns


Heat the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, celery, fennel, leeks and sausage, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and parsley, and continue to sauté for 1 minute. Deglaze with Albariño, and add the V-8, clam juice, saffron, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper. Add diced tomatoes, and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste. In separate stockpot, combine all ingredients of poaching liquid and bring to a simmer. Add clams, mussels, prawns and Dungeness crab; poach until clams and mussels open (5 to 6 minutes). Carefully remove seafood from liquid and add seafood to cioppino. Serve immediately.


Web Design and Web Development by Buildable