The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced the Puget Sound summer crab fishing season gets underway July 4.
Recreational crabbing will be open Thursday through Monday each week. Crabbing is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays through the summer seasons. All shellfish gear must be removed from the water on closed days.
Crab seasons are scheduled as follows:
- Marine areas 4 (Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait), 8-1 (Deception Pass), 8-2 (Port Susan/Everett), and 9 (Port Gamble and Admiralty Inlet): Open July 4 through Sept. 2.
- Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton): Open July 4 through August 3.
- Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) north of a line projected true east from Ayock Point: Open July 4 through Sept. 2.
- Marine Area 7 South (San Juan Islands/Bellingham): Open July 11 through Sept. 30.
- Marine Area 7 North (Gulf of Georgia): Open Aug. 15 through Sept. 30.
The following areas are closed this season:
- Marine areas 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island) and 13 (south Puget Sound): These areas continue to be closed to promote recovery of Dungeness crab populations in those areas.
- Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) south of a line projected true east from Ayock Point: This area is also closed to promote recovery of the Dungeness crab population in south Hood Canal.
In Puget Sound the daily limit is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. You may also keep six red rock crab of either sex per day in open areas, provided those crab are in hard-shell condition and measure at least 5 inches across.
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. Puget Sound crabbers are also required to record their harvest on their catch record cards immediately after retaining the crab and before redeploying the trap. Catch record cards are not required for Dungeness crab in the Columbia River or on the Washington coast where crabbing is open year-round.
Crab fishers may not set or pull shellfish gear from a vessel from one hour after official sunset to one hour before official sunrise.
One star trap, one ring net or one pot is considered one unit of gear.
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.
Puget Sound waters include Marine Area 4 east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line, and marine areas 5-13.
Two units of crab gear per person, and no limit on the number of units of crab gear per boat.
Coastal waters include Marine Area 4 west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line, and marine areas 1-3.
Two units of crab gear per person. Exception: Columbia River - three units of crab gear per person.
To report lost shellfish gear, use the online reporting tool or call WDFW at 855-542-3935.
Summer seasons for the upcoming fishery are posted on WDFW's crab-fishing website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/crab.