Can't wait until crabbing opens in Puget Sound? Why wait? Crabbing is open almost year round on the Washington Coast. The season runs from Dec. 1 - Sept 15 for crab pots and is open all year for crab gear other than pots. The areas which are open year round consist of Marine Area 1-3 (Pacific Ocean, Columbia River, Westport, Ocean Shores, Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor & LaPush) and Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay) west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line.
All recreational crabbers 15 or older must carry a current Washington fishing license. Options range from an annual shellfish/seaweed license to combination fishing licenses which are valid for a single day or up to 1 year. Crabbers fishing the coast are not required to purchase a crab endorsement (required in Puget Sound) or carry a catch record card.
A Shellfish/Seaweed license allows you to harvest razor clams, red rock crab, coastal Dungeness crab, goose barnacles, mussels, octopus, oysters, scallops, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, shrimp, softshell and hardshell clams, squid, and seaweed. The cost for this type of license is $17.40 for a Washington State Resident aged 16-69. The cost for the Resident Senior aged 70+ is $7.50. If you are a non-resident it will cost you $36.10. Please check with the WDFW for all the fishing license types available and the associated fees.
General Gear Rules:
- Two units of crab gear per person. Exception: Columbia River - three units of crab gear per person.
- Every shellfish pot, ring net, or star trap left unattended in Washington waters must have its own buoy line and a separate buoy that is permanently and legibly marked with the operator’s first name, last name, and permanent address.
- Buoy lines must be weighted sufficiently to prevent them from floating on the surface.
- All crab gear buoys must be half red and half white in color.
So what are you waiting for? Pack up the family, gear up and head to the Washington coast for some great Dungeness fishing!