Oregon Coast Crabbing for Dungeness Crab

You can catch your own gourmet dinner of succulent Dungeness Crab on the Oregon Coast. If you have never done it before, it is easy to learn and you don't even have to have a boat.

The season is open the full length of the Oregon Coast all year in estuaries, bays, and tide pools. You can fish for crab from piers and jetties. Crabbing is closed in the ocean itself from August 15 to November 30. The best time for crabbing are in the months that end in "R" but other times can also be good.

live crab

During the commercial season you can charter a boat to crab in the ocean. The charter will supply you with the necessary equipment, bait, and expertise. To go crabbing on your own in the bays and estuaries you can rent equipment from marinas or bait shops up and down the coast.

The best places to go Oregon Coast Crabbing are:

  • Seaside bridges - particularly the 12th Avenue Bridge
  • Yaquina Bay at Newport
  • Alsea Bay at Waldport
  • Nehalem Bay at Nehalem
  • Winchester Bay at Reedsport
  • Coos Bay
  • Siletz Bay at Lincoln City

The Best Places to go Oregon Coast Crabbing are:




The 12th Avenue Bridge is the place to crab in Seaside.

 You can rent crab rings and buy bait at

1921 Hwy. 101 South
Seaside, Oregon 98138

Coos Bay - Charleston

The community of Charleston is south of Coos Bay.  Crabbing can be good from the docks at the Charleston Boat Basin Marina for both Dungeness and Red Rock crabs. There is a fish cleaning station.

Inquire at these tackle shops about renting crabbing equipment:

Basin Tackle
63510 Kingfisher Road, Charleston Boat Basin - PO Box 5508 Charleston, OR  97420
 (541) 888-3811

CrabShack                                                    63840 Crossline Road, Charleston, OR 97420
 (541) 888-3433  The CrabShack will clean and cook your catch for you.

Davey Jones Locker

Cape Arago Highway & Boat Basin Road Charleston, OR 97420
 (541) 888-3941

Depoe Bay

Crabbing and bottom fishing charters can be arranged through Tacklebuster in Depoe Bay. Phone: 541-270-1223.


Crabbing is popular at:

Port of Newport public dock or Bay Street Pier. It is on the south end of the bridge behind Rogue Ales.

Abbey Pier off of SW Bay Blvd. near Mo's Annex, E Marine Science Drive.

Embarcadero Crabbing Dock at the Embarcadero Marina

Boat Rentals:

Sawyer's Landing Boat Rentals
4098 Yaquina Bay Rd, Newport, OR 97365

Nehalem Bay

You can rent crab rings from Jetty Fishery Marina and RV Park in Rockaway Beach and they will clean and cook your crabs for you. Call before before planning a crabbing trip on Nehalem Bay to get the most up-to-date crabbing conditions.

Phone: 1 800 821 7697 or 503 368 5746.

Kelly's Brighton Marina, 29200 Hwy 101 N, Rockaway Beach, Oregon  - You can crab on their dock for $10 a day. You can rent their rings and they will cook the crab for you.  They also rent boats. Call 503-368-5745 for current information and conditions.

Oregon Coast Crabbing Regulations

Crabbing at Garibaldi
Justin Hawthorne

You will need a Shellfish License for each person that is crabbing that is over the age of 14. This license as of the time of writing is $6.50 for Oregon residents. The fee for out-of-state residents is $9.00 for a three-day license. The license entitles you to use three crab pots or rings at a time with a catch limit of 12 crabs. You are only allowed to keep the male crabs which measure 5 3/4 inches across the back just in front of the last points. All the females and undersized crabs must be thrown back unharmed.

It is a good idea to check for updates to regulations before you go on your trip. You can do so by calling the Oregon Department of Agriculture, 800-448-2474.

Equipment for Oregon Coast Crabbing

Crab Pots

Equipment you will need:

  • heavy gloves
  • crab rings or crab pots
  • a measuring caliper
  • a bucket for holding your catch

You can rent the crab pots or rings all along the coast at bait shops, tackle shops, and marinas. These come with the required ropes and buoys and you are usually given a measuring device as well. You can also usually get your Shellfish License at these places.

In addition to the above list you will also need bait. People who go crabbing regularly often have their own very secret bait recipe and they are not about to tell you what it is. So you will have to do your own experimenting to see what works best for you. Think smelly! Crabs are attracted to the bait by the smell. You can use fish carcasses, chicken, or turkey. A lot of people use cans of cat food--the fishy kind. If you do this, leave the cat food in the can but punch holes in it.

You will have to secure your bait in the trap and most crabbers wrap it in wire mesh as well. Your bait makes a tasty meal for any seals or sea lions lurking about and if they eat it, well, no crabs will be attracted to your trap.

Planning Your Oregon Coast Crabbing Trip

There are several factors to consider when you are planning to go crabbing. Along with the time of year is the weather and the tides to consider. During periods when there has been heavy rain, the crabs move towards the ocean to get away from the fresh water in the bays and estuaries. So you don't want to go during or after a lot of rainy weather. You also want to choose a time when there is the least water movement. This is just before the tide changes from coming in or going out. Most experienced crabbers look at the tide tables and choose a time when there is the least difference between high tide and low tide.

For a printable tide table for the Oregon Coast visit Tidesonline

How to Crab

Crab Fishing

Okay, so you have your license, your pots or rings, and you have found a place where you can throw them into the water. Well, that's what you do. Lower your traps which are loaded with bait into the water until they hit the bottom. The little buoy attached to the rope tells you where your pot is located. Wait a few minutes--15 to 20--and raise the pot to see what you have caught. Check over the crabs and throw the undersized and the females back into the water. Put the keepers into your holding bucket. Then lower your pot again and again until you have your limit of legal crabs.

Beginning crabbers usually prefer the crab rings over crab pots. The rings are lighter and easier to handle but you cannot leave them in the water very long because the crabs can crawl out of them. The crab pots are very heavy but once the crab is inside, he is there to stay. This means you do not have to haul the pot up every 15 to 20 minutes.

How do you tell the difference between male and female crabs? You have to look on the underside. There is a difference in the undershell piece. The male piece is about 2 1/2 times longer than its width. The female piece is very large and broad. The place where you rent your traps will be able to show you the difference and also show you how to properly measure your crabs.

Handling Crabs

Don't feel the pinch. Crabs can pinch very hard with their claws and they are fast. They can have ahold of you before you know what happened. To avoid this, handle the crab towards the tail and be quick about it. Grab it and let it go--wear gloves.

Cooking Your Catch

Most marinas have public cooking pots where you can have your crabs cooked. You want to do this as soon as you can after you catch them. You can scout these places out before you go crabbing. Local bait shops are in the know and will tell you where to go.

Enjoy your Oregon Dungeness Crab--a feast for a king.

Oregon Coast Crabbing