Oregon Crab, Anyone?
Some locals may say that a trip to the Oregon Coast is not complete without going crabbing! Easy, fun and oh so rewarding (fresh crab!), come see why crabbing is a favorite coastal pastime.
When to Go Crabbing
Crabbing is legal and open year-round on the Oregon Coast, but September through December is the best time to go.
Crabs prefer calmer water as there is less of a current to fight against during high or low tides, so the ideal time of day is at peak high or low tide. Check local tide tables for conditions.
Catch Dungeness Crab Using Pots or Rings
The most popular way to crab on the Oregon Coast is with a crab ring or pot right off a dock or pier. Crab rings are collapsible baskets attached to a long line, whereas crab pots are similar to cages with an entrance that lets crabs in, but not out.
Bait the pots or rings, tie them off the dock, toss into the water, and let soak for 15 to 30 minutes. When the time is up, pull up the pot or ring, and check if you caught anything.
Tip – If using a ring, it is important to pull it up quickly, so the crabs can’t escape.
You can purchase rings or pods from local tackle shops or sporting-goods stores, or rent equipment from various local marinas. Many offer crabbing packages that include baited rings, buckets, gloves, and a measuring gauge.
Looking for a Little More Guidance?
Stop by Kelly’s Brighton Marina where you can rent a boat and head out into Nehalem Bay, or toss a trap right off their dock. The friendly crew will even show you how to clean and cook your catch of the day, so you can enjoy fresh crab from their scenic marina picnic area.
If you are planning on having a crab feast back at your cozy vacation rental, store your crabs in a cooler or a bucket filled with water or ice. When ready to eat, boil the crabs in a large pot of salted water for 18-20 minutes, then remove the gills and viscera. Serve with some melted butter, and enjoy!
Read the Rules and Regulations for Catching Crab
Oregon requires a shellfish license for harvesting crabs, clams, or other shellfish. Most fishing and crabbing businesses will also sell licenses. Once you have the license, it’s good for one year.
Most of your crabbing on the Oregon Coast will be for Dungeness crab – the largest and tastiest! The daily limit is 12 males that are at least 5 ¾” inches across the crab’s back. You can tell difference by flipping the crab over and looking at its abdomen. Males have a narrow, triangular abdomen flap while females have a wide, rounded one. Be careful to pick up crabs from the back of their shell to avoid being pinched!
The second most popular crab on the coast are Red Rock crabs. They look similar to Dungeness, but they have dark red shells, and the tips of their claws are black. Crabbers can keep up to 24 red rock crabs per day, no matter the sex or size.
There are numerous spots to go crabbing on the Oregon Coast. A few popular locations are:
- Necanicum: Dungeness
- Nehalem Bay: Dungeness
- Tillamook: Dungeness, Red Rock
- Netarts Bay: Dungeness, Red Rock
- Nestucca Bay: Dungeness
- Siletz Bay: Dungeness
- Yaquina Bay: Dungeness, Red Rock
- Alsea Bay: Dungeness
- Coos Bay: Dungeness, Red Rock
Stay with Us on the Oregon Coast or on the Bay
Looking to book your perfect home base to explore all the fun to be had on the Oregon Coast? We’ve got you! Meredith Lodging’s Oregon Coast vacation rentals collection offers beautiful homes of all sizes and for all budgets. Some homes are pet friendly, too. We hope to see you out on the bay soon!