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Outdoors | October 6, 2017

Crabbing in the Pacific Northwest

Crabbing in Oregon and Washington can be very satisfying. With the right gear and a bit of knowhow, it can also be relatively simple. We’ve put together some tips to help you pull your dinner from the water, whether you’re up in Sequim or down in Bandon.

Licenses and Regulations

Both Oregon and Washington have specific regulations regarding crabbing, including licensing and size restrictions. Visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website for shellfish and crab season restrictions and license information. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife share license and season information online as well.

Boats vs. Docks

Sure, you can spend a lot of money on a big boat, or you can simply use a nice fishing boat or even a kayak to go crabbing. Don’t have a boat? Some marinas and docks allow you to crab from the side or the beach. Crabbing might be easier from a boat, but it’s just as fun from the beach, in tide pools, as well as off piers and jetties.

Where to Go

Some of the best places to launch your boat can be found at bays in county and state parks. Marinas are also a good option. Plus, you can often get your crabs processed at many marinas for a small fee.

What to Buy

The most important thing to buy is a crab pot. Some of the most popular include the ring, octagon, pyramid, and square traps. All traps are designed to sit on the ocean floor. Just be careful, the cheaper you go, the more likely your traps will drift with the currents. If this happens, you can add weights to your traps. You’ll also need a bait box for each trap. These are simply cages that are attached to your crab pot.

Coastal Tip: Place your bait box far enough inside the trap so that crabs cannot reach it without getting into your trap.

Finally, you’re going to need at least 100’ of weighted rope and a buoy marked with your contact information.

Use the Right Bait

If you have some leftover chicken bits, fish heads, expired hot dogs, or other meat products your family won’t eat, you have the right kind of crab bait.

Setting Your Crab Traps

Simply drop your traps from the side of your boat and lower each one gently until it reaches the bottom. You want to find locations that are not exceptionally deep. Be sure to adjust your rope for high and low tide. If you plan to crab from a doc or marina, you’ll also want to lower your traps slowly. How long you leave your traps in the water is up to you. But as with fishing, crabbing can require patience.

Know What to Keep

Each state has specific regulations. Check with both Oregon and Washington for size and gender restrictions in the areas where you plan to go crabbing.

Start Your Adventure at Coastal

Stop by your Northwest owned and operated Coastal Farm & Ranch for all the gear you’ll need to enjoy your day of crabbing. That includes Yeti coolers, waterproof pants and jackets, insulated gloves, and rope. Have questions about crabbing in your area? Just ask. The folks who work at Coastal know the region and will be happy to guide you in the right direction.

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