and Denise introduced us to oystering on July 4th, 2004.
We headed out with Mei, Brian, and their kids, Carolyn, Dan and
and Craig's daughter, Brianna to the endless oyster beds of
Oysterville, Washington, located on the Long Beach Peninsula.
We made our way down to the beds from the parking lot, a short
walk, and Carolyn got us all off to an interesting start with
two successive wipeouts in the mud, with Denise putting
demonstrating amazing agility in her diving save of 7-month-old
Milo, who was riding on Carolyn's shoulders! Sandra, for
some unknown reason, thought that bringing her new leather purse
out onto the mud-filled oyster beds to catch and shuck oysters
was an excellent idea.
waded through the muck, Nicolas watched his white shoes turn
black, while Denise and Brianna found that flip-flops might not
have been the best choice in footwear for wading through mud and
crunching over razor-sharp oyster shells. Craig led the
way, and gave us all a little
lesson on how to shuck oysters, and supplied the gloves and
screwdrivers to do so. We were struck by the awesome
quantity of oysters that existed in the mud flats. There
were millions of them, just waiting to be eaten! We
couldn't even take a step without steppin on several of them.
We picked a bunch of good ones, and went to work. Dan
started things off with our first casualty, cutting his hand on
one of the wickedly sharp shells while collecting. During
the course of events, most of the rest of us joined in with cuts
over our unprotected hands, either from the screwdrivers or the
got stuck in the mud, and had to be pulled out, but other than
that, we all collected our limits and called it a
trip. The purse made it through intact and clean, as well,
to all of our amazement. We all waded back through the
muck and mire to the car, as the tide started coming in.
Once back at the lot, Brianna and Denise washed their mud-caked
feet in the sink, while the rest of us cleaned up and wiped mud
off of our gear. We sped back to Denise and Craigs house
in Naselle to clean and barbecue our catch! With Mei's
wonderful jalapeno sauce, and Craig's expert barbecuing, we all
had a feast.
Rules and Regulations for
(Updated 7/2004 -
Check for Changes Before Oystering)
Licensing: Oystering in Washington
State requires a shellfish license, which runs $10.95 annually
for Washington residents, and $25.19 for non-residents, plus
vendor fees if you buy it at an outlet like G.I. Joe's or Fred
Meyer. You can also get a 2-day combination
fishing/shellfish license for $6.95.
Season: Usually all year for
Pacific Oysters on the ocean beaches, but check
here for exact locality seasons before oystering.
Limit: 18 per person, per day.
18 per container.
Size: 2 1/2 inches, minimum.
Other: Must be shucked on the
beach. It is illegal to take oysters in water deeper than
two feet. Leave shells at the same place and tide height where
they where collected.
Tips and Tricks
to find prime oystering beaches in Washington State. Once
at the beach, walk out onto the rocky area or mud flat,
depending on your beach, and you'll see millions of them.
They are everywhere you look. Make sure to go at low tide.
Equipment: Make sure to wear gloves, especially when
shucking. The shells are very sharp and will cut you.
You'll want rubber boots for the mud and water, and a bucket to
sit on while shucking. You'll want another container for
putting the oysters in, and you'll have to have your license.
Don't forget a knife or screwdriver to open the shells!
Once you've found some good ones, insert the screwdriver into
the slot between the upper and lower shells. Don't be
afraid to push hard. Once it's in, twist and the shell
will pop open. If not, pry on the shell, and move it
around the side of the shell, prying until it comes open.
Put the oyster in the bucket, and discard the shell on the