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Crab Rules

Fishing Regulations Icon Washington Fishing

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 Record Cards & Codes (PDF). 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. 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 wdfw.wa.gov for season openings, closures, and restrictions. See also closures on Marine Preserves, Conservation Areas & 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 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 Record Cards & Codes (PDF)).

Marine Areas 12 (south of Ayock Point), and 13 Dungeness, Red Rock, and Tanner Crab Closed to crab harvest in 2020.

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

Please refer to marine preserve closure areas on  Marine Preserves, Conservation Areas & 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.