Crabbing Season opens July 3rd and remains open through Sept 1st. Crabbing is only allowed Thursdays through Mondays.
Get your shellfish license at your local sporting goods store. You’ll need a crab catch license as well.
If you’re new to crabbing here are a few tips:
When: The time around high or low tide is the best time to crab. During slack water, crabs are generally walking around and foraging for food since they are not getting pushed around by tidal exchange. The best days for catching your limit of Dungeness crab are when there is a relatively small difference between high tide and low tide. Check your tide book for days when that difference is 5 feet or less.
What you need: Shellfish license, crab measuring tool, pots, sinking line, buoys properly marked, cooler, gloves, and bait. Bait: Turkey, chicken, fish carcass, herring, fish-based canned cat food, clams, etc. Fresh bait is best. To keep seals from eating your bait make sure the bait isn’t accessible to them, or use something they don’t like to eat, like turkey or chicken.
Harvesting: Female crabs must be returned to the water. A female crab’s abdomen or tail flap, which is folded closely against its underside, is much broader and rounder than the male’s. To legally keep a Dungeness crab, its shell (carapace) must be at least 6 and a quarter inches wide. The shell of a red rock crab must measure at least 5 inches across. Any crab you don’t keep should be gently returned to the water to protect their delicate internal body parts.
Storing and transporting: Crab should be kept alive and cooked as soon as possible. It’s essential to keep crab cool and damp until you are ready to cook them. Place the crabs into an ice chest and cover them with burlap or a towel soaked in salt water. Place ice over the burlap or towel to keep them cool. Don’t store crabs in water because they may not get enough oxygen.
Cooking: Use about one quarter cup of salt per gallon of fresh water and bring to a boil. Immerse the whole crab and again bring the water to boiling. Boil for about 18-20 minutes. Remove the crab from the pot and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking process and cool the shell for handling. Remove the abdomen with your fingers (also called the apron, it is the flap of shell on the underside of the crab). Remove the outer shell (the back of the crab, also called the carapace) by sticking your thumb into the hole left from removing the abdomen and lifting up firmly. The shell will detach from the body with some guts attached. Remove and discard the leaf-like, spongy gills from either side of the body. Rinse out the greenish-brown guts. Break off and discard the mandibles, which are the mouthparts at the front of the crab.Turn the crab upside down, grip it on either side and p ace your thumbs underneath near the midline on the back (where the shell used to be). Push up with your thumbs and pull down with your hands; the crab will crack easily along its center line.
For more information go to: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/