Crabbing in Oregon Is a Fun Roadtrip for Many Families

Oregon is home to a wide variety of outdoor activities.  Yet, a favorite adventure for tourists and families alike is crabbing on the Oregon Coast.  Our state has over 360 miles of coastline with ideal locations to drop a crab pot. If catching the ingredients for your next seafood dinner sounds appealing, here are a few things to know before heading for the ocean and crabbing in Oregon.

Crabbing in OregonFive tips for crabbing in Oregon:

  1. Make sure it’s safe to crab in a specific location.  Unfortunately, natural waters can be subjected to hazardous conditions like domoic acid and biotoxins.  It’s important to know that the animals you catch are safe to eat.  A good first step is to check the Oregon Health Authority website before heading out on your trip. 
  2. Know the difference between male and female crabs.  According to Oregon law, you can only keep male crabs.  Females need to be returned to the sea.  There are many websites to help you identify them correctly.
  3. Bring a crab measuring guide (specialized ruler).  Again, Oregon laws come into play regarding the size of the crab.  You are only allowed to keep crabs that are at least 5 ¾ inches across the back of the shell.
  4. Collect your gear.  Depending on where you plan to crab, you may be able to rent all the equipment you need from a source near the site.  You’ll need crab pots (you can use up to three at one time) and a cooler filled with ice.  You’ll probably also want to bring gloves and possibly wear a pair of waiters.
  5. Select your bait.  There are many choices for bait, and everyone has their own preference.  Popular choices are fish carcasses, shad, herring, clams, and raw chicken scraps.  You may be able to get scraps from your local butcher before you leave town.

When’s the best time for crabbing in Oregon?

The good news is that crabbing in Oregon is a year-round activity; however, the State closes the ocean to all crabbing activities from October 16 to November 30.  However, some people feel crabs are more prevalent during the Fall and early Winter:  September through December.  

It’s more important to consider the time of day for crabbing.  Crabs are more active during the slack tide.  As they walk around to forage for food, they will be more likely to find your bait.  Slack tide is when the tide shifts from ingoing to outgoing or vice versa.  Check the tide tables to determine to plan your activities for the day.

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