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Crabbing Season in Puget Sound

Crabbing Season is Open!There’s nothing quite like the exhilaration you feel when you raise that crab pot from the cold depths of Puget Sound and find it full of wonderful, tasty Dungeness crabs. If you like that feeling, it’s time to unearth your crab pots, check your rot cord, grab some fish carcasses for bait and head out on the water. The 2019 season has officially closed in several areas across Washington State.

Crab Fishing Schedule

Crabbing is now closed in several areas, so here’s the current information for the crab fishing schedule in Puget Sound. Click here for a map of the areas below or for updates or more specific information on each area (like why your area may be closed).

Danielson Crab Snare

UPDATED October 2019

  • Ocean Areas 1-3 (Pacific Ocean/Columbia River, Westport/Willapa Bay/Grays Harbor, and LaPush) -Open Everyday year-round.
  • Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay, East of Tatoosh-Bonilla line) - Closed Summer Season ended Sept. 2, 2019.
  • Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay, West of Tatoosh-Bonilla line) - Open Everyday Year-round.
  • Marine Area 5 (Sekiu & Pillar Point)Closed Summer Season ended Sept. 2, 2019.
  • Marine Area 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait, Port Angeles Harbor, Discovery Bay) - Closed Summer Season ended Sept. 2, 2019.
  • Marine Area 7 (South - San Juan Islands/Bellingham) - Closed Summer Season ended Sept. 30, 2019.
  • Marine Area 7 (North - Gulf of Georgia) - Closed Summer Season ended Sept. 30, 2019.
  • Marine Area 8 (Deception Pass - Area 8-1) - Closed Summer Season ended Sept. 2, 2019.
  • Marine Area 8 (Port Susan/Everett - Area 8-2) - Closed Summer Season ended Sept. 2, 2019.
  • Marine Area 9 (Port Gamble/Port Ludlow) Closed Summer Season ended Sept. 2, 2019.
  • Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) -Closed Summer Season ended Sept. 2, 2019.
  • Marine Areas 10 & 11 (Seattle/Bremerton & Tacoma/Vashon Island) - Closed
  • Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal - North of Ayock Point) - Closed  Summer Season ended Sept. 2, 2019.
  • Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound) - Closed

Recreational Crab Fishing Rules

Crab Gauge

For those of you that like to participate in this annual adventure, it’s important to follow a few simple rules:

  • In Puget Sound, Straits of Juan de Fuca and San Juan Islands you must have a license and keep a record of crab you keep. Immediately record your catch in pen on your catch record. If you don't the WDFW enforcement officer will be sure to loan you theirs after they make you sign your ticket!
  • Kids under 14 don’t need a license – but do need a catch record.
  • If Dad or Grandma is driving the dinghy while young Suzi is bringing up the crab pot – they better have a license as they are considered to be part of the fun.
  • If fishing for crab on the Washington Coast or the Columbia River – you need a license (if you’re over 14) but you are not required to keep a catch record.
  • The daily limit for crab fishers throughout Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 1/4 inches. Fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across (hardshell only!). Need a new crab gauge? Try this one!
  • Crab fishers may not set or pull shellfish gear from a vessel from one hour after official sunset to one hour before official sunrise. All shellfish gear must be removed from the water on closed days.
  • All recreational crabbers, regardless of age, must return their catch record cards by mail or report them online – even if you did not go crabbing or catch any crab. The deadline for returning summer and winter catch cards is printed on each catch card. If crabbers fail to return their catch card they will be required to pay a $10 fine before they can purchase another crab endorsement.

Complete Crabbing KitWhy do you have to deal with submitting a catch card? Because the state fishery managers need that information to estimate the “recreational harvest numbers” for the year (how much all you fun-loving crabbers caught) and to help set future crabbing “opportunities”. By keeping an honest record of your catch, you are playing a vital role in maintaining a future where you can keep doing what you love – fishing for crab.

Now that you’ve got all the information you need, to make sure you have your best crabbing season ever, check out our great selection of crabbing gear or feel free to contact our experts at (800) 426-6930 for more help.