Coos Bay Dungeness Crabbing

Crabs are caught in circular steel traps commonly called

pots. The pots weigh between 60 and 125 lbs . The pots are marked with a buoy

attached to a length of rope so that they can be retrieved The

pots are usually baited with herring, squid or razor clams to

attract the crabs.

Dungeness crabs mature at the age of a year-and-a-half, and at this time they measure about 4 inches. Males reach the minimum sport size at the age of 3 to 4 years old. Mating season for the crabs generally happens between April and September. The females carry the eggs – some carry nearly two and one half million eggs at the same time. The eggs are carried from October until December. They hatch between January and March. Some male crabs may live ten years and be well over 10 inches in size.

How to catch dungeness crabs and where to fish in Coos Bay
Many local residents have their own boats and pots and during

the local crab season are often seen out in Coos Bay checking

their pots. Should you not be lucky enough to own your own boat,

crabbing is still very good off of the local docks in Charleston

or the docks in Empire. I strongly

recommend that anyone crabbing in an area that is a frequented by

SEALS to put their bait in a bait holder. The seals just love a

free meal and will steal your bait if you only have it

pinned to your cage or ring. My personal preference

is chicken, but many baits work equally well. The best time to go

crabbing is during slack tide. You can check the which

is generally about an hour before and after high tide. The

Crabbing can be good at other times, but the slack tide seems to

be the best.

crabbing from the docks
Crabbing docks

You can find the best time to go crabbing in Coos

Bay by following the link to my current tide table page.

Depending upon where you are along the coast you will have to

adjust the tide times either up or down. Crabbing in this area

for the non-professional like myself seems to be best from about

September to March. It can, however, sometimes get quite slow during the winter

months, largely in part to the amount of fresh water entering the

bay from our very frequent rains. Remember to measure your crabs

and make sure they are legal.