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Crabbing Tips for Oregon Coast Right Now

Published 01/21/22 at 3:10 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Crabbing Tips for Oregon Coast Right Now

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(Oregon Coast) – It's a mixed bag out there at the moment for crabbing along the Oregon coast, with conditions generally having not been very favorable in most areas. But a run of good weather for the coming week may increase your chances of catching the yummy Dungeness along this state's waters. (Photo above: crab boats near Cannon Beach, courtesy Seaside Aquarium)

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) said that while commercial catches have been above average, for the recreational crabber it's been rather hit and miss. Yet there's hope.

According to ODFW's recent recreational report, crab meat is thicker.

“Crab are mostly hard shelled now and continue to fill with meat, as expected this time of year,” ODFW said.

However, because of all the rain along the Oregon coast, crabbing has had its issues.

Meghan Dugan, a spokesman for ODFW, said that on the north coast things are slow due to all the water flow.

“Newport area reports are spotty; recreational ocean crabbing is mediocre,” Dugan said. “People are catching crab but not limits and much depends on knowing where to set your pots.”

On the southern Oregon coast it's a similar situation.

“Bandon and Winchester Bay is very hit and miss this time of year depending on rainfall,” she said. “Bandon can be very good if it hasn't rained there for a few days.”

Which brings us back around to weather reports: the next week is mostly fairly sunny days along the coastline and no rain for awhile.

In general, crabbing out in the ocean will be better, she said.

“For the commercial crabbing season, this one is above the long-term average in terms of numbers of crab but not drastically so,” Dugan said. “The dollar value is really good, which makes a very good season for commercial crabbers. The commercial season is already winding down as a good chunk of commercial-sized crab are caught in the first 6-8 weeks of the season.”

ODFW's report said that along with Dungeness crab there is also rock crab. Look for these in larger bays that have jetties and other rocky sections. Yaquina Bay in Newport has higher numbers of Pacific rock crab.

“Some crabbers in estuaries may also encounter non-native European green crab in their catch this year,” ODFW said. “While they look similar to Oregon's native shore crabs, identify them by the three prominent bumps between the eyes and 5 spines down the side of the carapace.”

You'll need a license to go crabbing or clamming on the coast, which are $10 for residents and $28 for out-of-staters.

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