Dungeness Crab Season

The Dungeness Crab Season, commercially, is an extensive year around haul. It extends in various areas along the Pacific Ocean. Basically, December is the month when the fisheries stress the big push on their commercial crabbers. The majority of the year's catch understandably comes within the first or second month into the crab season.

 With high supply comes low prices, making it the ideal time to stock up for crab feeds with family and friends. Through the spring and summer months, the fisheries slow down and the prices go way up until most of the commercial fisheries close down in around the months of August and September.

dungeness-crab-legs

We, like many others, can shrug our shoulders at the market prices and go catch Dungeness Crab for ourselves. All you need is a license and some bait and you can stock your freezer each season. In the photo above, we did that in just a couple of hours one day. That's a LOT of crab, probably worth a few hundred dollars according to the prices we see in our local food markets....

crab-pot-full-dungeness-crab

The crab season for recreational crabbers around the Puget Sound are seasonal and not always dependable. Depending on which area some are only open a month or two, so it's always a good rule of thumb to keep an eye on the charts. In our area of the Puget Sound, they used to open every year in the middle of July. This year they won't be open till the first of August.


Other areas, like, the Columbia River are open all year long for recreational Dungeness Crabbing. Some people get all the luck!


However, Alaska's Dungeness Crab season peaks during the summer months, but doesn't really impact the commercial prices for the Lower 48 states. Fall is when the larger crab's are molting and it takes longer for them to grow their shells.

With that said, fall is the annual low point season for Dungeness there. The start of the commercial season is December and only on the condition that the majority of the crabs having fully hardened shells. (No soft shell Dungies!) And, this is what the fisheries use to determine their opening dates for each season.

You can keep an eye on the season openings and closing, here, on WA Fish and Wildlife It will open into a new window, so you can bookmark it for future reference.
We credit Cynthia Nims, the author of Crab for helping us with this information. She shares a lot of wonderful recipes, too, especially with Dungeness crab

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