Skip to main content

Washington

Fishing

Crab Rules

Crab

When harvesting Dungeness Crab in Puget Sound only, a catch record card (CRC) and a crab endorsement are required. Any harvest after Labor Day must be recorded on a winter CRC. Refer to CRC rules on Catch Records & Codes. A $10.00 penalty will be added to the cost of your next Puget Sound crab endorsement if you fail to either return your cards by mail or report your catch information on the Internet (fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov) by the deadline printed on each card. Even if you did not catch any crab, report by the deadline. Must release all softshell crab (underside of shell flexes with finger pressure — see below). Fishing instruments must not penetrate the shell. It is unlawful to possess crab in the field without retaining the back shell. May not retain any species of crab other than Dungeness, Red Rock, and Tanner. See rules below.

Dungeness, Red Rock, and Tanner Crab Daily Limits and Rules:

Puget Sound has a daily limit of 5 Dungeness crab, 6¼" minimum size, males only, and in hardshell condition.

Puget Sound has a daily limit of 6 Tanner Crab, 4½" minimum size, of either sex, and in hardshell condition. Measure at the widest portion of the shell.

Columbia River has a daily limit of 12 Dungeness Crab, 5¾" minimum size, males only, and in hardshell condition.

Pacific Ocean has a daily limit of 6 Dungeness Crab, 6" minimum size, males only, and in hardshell condition.

All Areas have a daily limit of 6 Red Rock Crab, 5" minimum size, of either sex.

Prior to harvesting, see additional crab gear rules on Statewide Gear Rules, check the Shellfish Rule Change toll-free Hotline, (866) 880-5431, or visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/crab for season openings, closures, and restrictions. See also closures on Marine Preserves, Conservation Areas, and Shellfish Protection Zones.

Area

Species

Season / Opening Days And Times / Additional Rules

Puget Sound

Marine Areas 4 (east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5, 6, 7 South, 7 North, 8-1, 8-2, 9, 10, 11 and 12 (North of Ayock Point) Marine Areas 7 North and 7 South (See map for 7 North and 7 South below)

Dungeness, Red Rock, and Tanner Crab

For seasons go to: https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/crab or refer to the toll-free shellfish rule change hotline (866) 880-5431. The dates for the season will be available in late May or early June to accommodate co-management obligations and complete preseason test fishing and quota setting.

All Dungeness crab kept must be immediately recorded on a catch record card in ink (see Catch Records & Codes).

Marine Areas 12 (south of Ayock Point), and 13

Dungeness, Red Rock, and Tanner Crab

Closed to crab harvest in 2021.

Columbia River

East of a line from exposed end of north and south jetty upstream to a line between Tongue Point and Rocky Point

Dungeness and Red Rock Crab

Open year-round to all gear.

Crab fishers may fish for crab in Oregon waters under Oregon rules and land into Washington ports of the Columbia River. A resident license from either state is required.

Pacific Ocean

Grays Harbor, and Marine Areas 1-3 and 4 (west of Bonilla-Tatoosh line)

Dungeness and Red Rock Crab

Open December 1 to September 15 for Pot Gear. Open year-round to other gear.

Willapa Bay

Dungeness and Red Rock Crab

November 15 to September 15 for Pot Gear. Open year-round to other gear.

Marine Area 7 Crab and Shrimp Maps

Please refer to marine preserve closure areas on Marine Preserves, Conservation Areas, and Shellfish Protection Zones.

Crab Map

1

Padilla Bay - crab fishing within 25 yards of the Burlington-Northern railroad trestles (located at the north end of the Swinomish Slough) is only allowed from one hour before official sunrise to one hour after official sunset.

Shrimp Map

Stop the Spread of Invasive European Green Crab

How To Identify European Green Crabs

  • 5 spines (marginal teeth) on the outside of each eye
  • 3 rounded lobes between eyes
  • Oval shaped carapace can reach up to 4 inches
  • Not always green, can be mottled dark brown to dark green with small yellow patches
  • Underside ranges from yellow/green to bright red

If caught RELEASE

European green crabs are classified as prohibited species and it is illegal to retain/harvest them. If you suspect you have found a green crab or molt, please leave the crab where you found it (you may keep a molt) and report a sighting.

How To Report

Take detailed photos of the topside and underside of the crab and record the location.

Phone: 1.888.WDFW.AIS (1.888.933.9247)

Online: invasivespecies.wa.gov

Email: crabteam@uw.edu

App: WA invasives

For more information on European green crab in Washington State visit: https://wsg.washington.edu/crabteam/greencrab/

Washington