If you are looking for fresh crab, stop by one of our local fish markets or enjoy it prepared fresh right here at THE DEPOT.
The only way to get fresh crab, er, fresher, is to experience crabbing first-hand! Drop a crab pot off the docks at the Port of Peninsula in Nahcotta or the North Jetty in Cape Disappointment State Park.
If you choose to go crabbing yourself, be sure to check Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife‘s rules and season information online, as well as get a license. The Peninsula is in Marine Zone 1. This article details the equipment you might use, and Fish & Wildlife also has an excellent FAQ on crab fishing. Our local Visitors Bureau has an excellent article detailing recreational crabbing locally.
The best time to catch crab is on the incoming tide, because it is easier for the crab to walk into the traps. Plus, the increase in salinity at this time makes it more comfortable for them. Provided the season is open, you can crab year-round here on the Peninsula, but there are certainly times of year when you’re more likely to be successful. Crabbing is best from July through December.
Dungeness Crab spawn during spring and early summer months. During the spawn season, the female’s shell will be very soft, but the males shell will be hard. Hard shelled crab are also know as “full crab” because they are full of meat; these are the crab you can harvest.
Timing of the spawn is everything when it comes to crab size and quality. Right after the males have molted, they put all their body weight into making a new shell, making them not worth keeping. This is why the quality of the crab and their numbers get progressively better as the season progresses.
As summer progresses into fall and early winter, the crabbing just gets better and better! The best month is generally December before the inshore water temperature gets too cold and the freshwater arrives from heavy rains or snow melt. The commercial season typically begins in late December.