Oregon Dungeness crab is an international favorite, highly sought-after for its sweet flavor. You can harvest your own crab with minimal gear in locations up-and-down the Oregon coast.
Features: Dungeness crab can sometimes be confused with rock or other crab species. However, it is easily identified by its white-tipped claws and reddish-brown to purple color.
Habitat: Adult Dungeness crab forage on a number of fish and invertebrate species. They can be found throughout the sandy and muddy areas in the shallowest parts of lower estuaries all the way to depths of almost 1,500 feet.
Techniques: There are many kinds of crab catchers – from crab pots and rings, to traps you can cast with a fishing rod. You can easily crab from a dock in many coastal bays, but a boat will give you access to more water. Boats and crab pots often can be rented at marinas and tackle shops. The relative number of crab in bays and estuaries depends on the water’s salinity. When rivers are running high – as they do after a heavy rain – so much fresh water can pour into a bay that crab will move farther out into the ocean looking for saltier water.
Only male crab 5-3/4” or larger may be kept, so be sure you know how to identify and measure the crab you catch.