Living Center Oregon

Sustainable Living Center Oregon

Everything you wanted to know about Crabbing, and you were afraid to ask?

The following is information about the Bays in the local area.

Do you need a Crab License?

What kind of Crab to catch?

Which Bay to Crab?

Where to find Crabs in the Bay?

Do I need a Boat?

Time of day to Crab?

What type of Crab trap to use?                                                        

Can kids use Crab Traps?

What is the cost to purchase Crab traps?

What bait to use?

What is a Crab Dinner Guarantee?

How do I get my Crab Cleaned and Cooked for Dinner?

Hands-on Crab Clinics Demonstrations?

Do you need a License?

Yes, if you are 12 or older.  It is called a Shellfish license.  For Oregon residences, $10 for the year 2021, and Out of State residence $19 for three days.

What kind of Crab to catch?

The most common Crab on the Oregon Coast are the Red Rock and Dungeness crabs. Here are some ways to tell them apart:  

 The Red Rock Crab

It looks like a red rock. These species are native to the North American west coast ranging from Alaska to California. While they are small, they will pinch when approached.  

The size of the red rock crab makes it less common to buy. Smaller bodies mean more difficulty extracting meat from these animals. The female crabs grow an average of 4-6 inches around the shell while the males push out to 7inches.  Since they are not as popular, there is a limit of 24/day of any size or sex.  

The Dungeness Crab is red but with more white patches. Since they are more popular, there is a limit of 12/day of males only large than 5 3/4 inches

Much heavier than the red rock crab, the Dungeness weighs up to 2 pounds on average. Most of this Crab’s weight is mostly meat, which makes it the most sought after and is also luckily abundant in numbers. 

Dungeness Crab can be found in the Bays with the sandy and muddy area, where Red Rock Crab are found in Bays with rocky bottoms.

Which Bay to Crab?

Depoe Bay has a rocky bottom, and 80% of the Crab caught are Rock Crab. There is only one (1) dock to Crab and no Boat Rentals ……. Crabbing in Depoe Bay …. CLICK HERE

Newport Bay has both a rocky and sandy bottom, with 50% of each caught.  There are three (3) docks to Crab from … Crabbing in NEWPORT …. CLICK HERE

Siletz Bay has a sandy bottom with 98% of the Crab caught are Dungeness.  There is no dock to Crab from … Crabbing in LINCOLN CITY …. CLICK HERE

Where to find Crabs in the Bay?

Stick to the edge of eelgrass beds. Just look for stems of eelgrass and other debris floating on the water’s surface and drop there. The crabs hang out in the grass, so that’s where you should be crabbing.

Eelgrass, specifically the native Zostera marina, or common eelgrass, and the exotic Zostera japonica were accidentally introduced on non-native oysters’ shells. A combination of nutrient-rich substrate, pancake-flat shoreline, and the mild winter weather allows the eelgrasses to flourish in the bays.

Do I need a Boat?

No, you can crab from the dock, pier, or beach, but usually, the number caught is less than using a boat.  The reason is that everybody on the dock, pier, or beach is competing for the same Carb.  With a boat, you can go where nobody else is crabbing.

If you are looking to have a fun-filled afternoon with the family, the dock, pier, or beach is perfect.  You will catch Crab of all sizes.  The kids will enjoy it; they will have room to run and play.  You will catch a few “Keepers” for Dinner, and it cost about $100 less than renting a boat.

If you are looking to catch your limit.  Then a boat is best, but no guarantee.  Sometimes the Crabbers on the beach will catch more than the ones in the boat.

Depoe Bay has a rocky bottom, and 80% of the Crab caught are Rock Crab. There is only one (1) dock to Crab from and no Boat Rentals.

Newport Bay has both a rocky and sandy bottom, with 50% of each caught.  There are three (3) docks to Crab from, and CLICK HERE for Boat Rentals.

Siletz Bay has a sandy bottom with 98% of the Crab caught are Dungeness.  There is no dock to Crab from, and CLICK HERE for Boat Rentals.    

Time of day to Crab?

Dungeness Crab season in Oregon is year-round in the bays. Still, Mitch Vance, a shellfish biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said timing your crabbing trip in the fall is more important to get the limit than figuring out which Bay to try. While Crab can be caught virtually any month of the year, Most bays will be primed with crabs in the latter part of the calendar year with newly molted Crab. Late September through November often produces Crab that molted in the Summer and fills up with fresh meat.

How many Crabs you catch depends on the Rain, Tides, and Time of day.

The Crab is a saltwater creature—the more fresh water in the Bay. The closer the Crabs are to the ocean. During the Summer, the Bays lack their freshwater influence may be the best to catch the legal limit of Crab.  During the Summer, it is best to Crab at low tide.

In September, the Crabs will tend to be more “filled out,” meaning there is a higher percentage of quality meat. You can tell meat quality by the condition of the shell. Hard-shelled crabs will contain 20-30 percent meat by weight, compared to soft-shelled crabs, which can be as low as 12 percent meat.

The best time of day to catch Crab is Slack Tide.    CLICK HERE for Crab Tide Tables


“Slack water,” also called “Slack Tide” (the times of peak high or low tide), are the best times to Crab.

Crab often bury themselves during swift tidal exchanges, but at slack tides, more crabs are walking around foraging since they are less affected by tidal currents. Slack-tide is a favorite time to harvest Crabs. One-hour time slot on each side of the high and low tides for the day (one hour on each side equals a two-hour time slot).

At this time, the tide is moving the slowest, allowing scavengers, like crabs, to roam around and look for food without needing to fight the current. This is only a general rule, though; crabs can be caught anytime.

What type of Crab trap to use?

Danielson Crab Trap….. is a “SOAKER” type of Crab Trap. Meaning you pull the Trap after it has soaked for an hour or so.  It is 2 ft by 2 ft by 1 ft.  Danielson works by using the Crab’s instincts to trap itself. It lures the Crab with bait bag into the large cage through strategically placed openings that they can enter but cannot escape.

This type of Trap is best used from a dock, pier, or boat.

Ring Crab Trap … The concept is straightforward: bait the crabs into the ring and “pull” the Trap up when you think the crabs are inside of it. The absolute most straightforward crab ring is a two-ring crab net. You should pull the Crab Ring up quickly as the outer ring forms a wall so the Crab cannot escape. You will pull a Crab Ring up every 5 -10 minutes, depending on the crab activity.

This type of Trap is best used from a dock, pier, or boat.

Warning…  Since there are a limited number of docks and piers at Newport and Depoe Bay and with many Crabbers, the Crab caught are thrown back only for the next Crabber on the dock to capture the same Crab.

You can easily crab from a dock or pier in Newport or Depoe Bays, but a boat will give you access to more Bay areas. The number of Crab in the Bay depends on the water’s salinity. When rivers are running high – as they do after heavy rain – so much freshwater can pour into a bay, the Crab will move farther out toward the ocean, looking for saltier water.

Since Siletz Bay does not have a dock or pier extending into the water; therefore,  a new kind of Crab trap was developed. It’s called the “Crab Trapper©.” It works like a Ring Trap, except it is spring-loaded.  When it is deployed, it “springs” open and acts as a Ring Trap.  When you pull on it, it closes like a giant Clamshell, meaning it does not make a difference whether you are pulling it straight up or sidewise.  

Crab Trapper consists of two metal netted 24-inch sides. When lying flat, it takes the shape of a sort of a circle 24 inches across. It is the only Crab trap that can be used on either the beach, dock, pier, or boat.

It is the smallest of the three traps.  It is a perfect size for smaller people and children to use. It can be used from a kayak or boat that has limited space.

Siletz Bay has a sandy bottom; thus, you will catch mainly Dungeness from the Siletz Bay beach. The Crab Trapper is generally used in Siletz Bay but can also be used in Newport Bay or Depoe Bay. Siletz has a dock, but it silted in and does not extend in the Bay far enough to catch Crab.

The Crab Trapper is the only Crab trap that can be used for the beach.

Siletz Bay has another unique feature.  It has only one channel, which all the Crab come through to enter the Bay. This location is where the Local people Crab.

By standing on the beach and throwing your Crab Trapper out 50 ft into the channel, you will catch Dinner.  Crab caught this way are posted daily @ CLICK HERE @ CatchDinner.com

What is the cost to rent Crab traps?

Newport Bay …. Soaker Crab Trap Rental Fee: $50.00 with a $100 refundable deposit for 24 hours for each Crab Soaker Trap. Also available for rent @ $10/Bucket and a $5/Crab Gauge. Each Trap has to be returned to receive the full deposit.  CLICK HERE for information.

Depoe Bay….. No Crab Trap Rental

Siletz Bay … Pay by Credit or Debit Card Only    To use Cash call 541-765-2109 for special arrangements

Rent Three Trap Option … Set of (3) Crab Traps (Mix or Match Soaker, Ring, Crab Trapper), a bucket, and a crab gauge @$50/set with valid Credit/Debit Card  With Club Discount $40/set.

Rent One Trap Option Set of  (1) Crab Traps, (Choice of Soaker, Ring, Crab Trapper)  bucket, and a crab gauge @$30/set with valid Credit/Debit Card   With Club Discount $24/set.

Reservations do not require Deposit/Obligation. Online at CLICK HERE.

Crab Traps pick-up times … 8 AM – Dark with reservations.

Can kids use Crab Traps?

Kids will have the opportunity to learn how to catch, clean, cook, and eat Crab …….. We encourage Kids between the ages of 8 – 11 to catch Crabs.

The Kids caught these
  • Children under 12 are allowed Crab without a license all year long.  
  • An eight-year-old child should be able to handle our Crab Trapper Trap.

Our mission is to teach children how to catch, clean, and cook Crab so they can always have food………. The Sustainable Living Center of Oregon will furnish a Free Crab Trapper Set – consisting of one (1) Kid’s Crab Trapper Trap, Bucket, Crab Gauge, location, and instructions – for up to 24 hours when an adult rents three traps.  CLICK HERE to accept this offer.

What is the cost to purchase Crab traps?

Newport Bay …  Ace Hardware 2340 N Coast Hwy Newport, OR 97365 ….. Soaker, Ring, or Crab Max at different prices

Depoe Bay  

Three Trap Option  Set of Three (3) Crab Trappers, a bucket, and gauge @$125/set. With Club Discount $100

One Trap Option  Set of  One (1) Crab Trapper, a bucket, and a crab gauge @$50. With Club Discount $40. 

The office sales & reservation staff is only available from noon – 9 PM… 541-765-2109

Siletz Bay … Pay by Credit or Debit Card Only    To use Cash call 541-765-2109 for special arrangements

Three Trap Option  Set of Three (3) Crab Trappers, a bucket, and gauge @$125/set. With Club Discount $100

One Trap Option  Set of  One (1) Crab Trapper, a bucket, and a crab gauge @$50. With Club Discount $40. 

Reservations do not require Deposit/Obligation. Online at CLICK HERE.

Crab Traps pick-up times … 8 AM – Dark with reservations.

What bait to use? 

According to the experts, one needs to understand how Crab finds food and appeals to their sense of smell.   Experts believe that crabs have an excellent sense of smell – this is somewhat true, but not in this sense, you might think.

Crabs don’t smell through any organ-like a nose but instead use microscopic “smelling” organisms.  Therefore, anything that has a strong smell can attract a whole host of these creatures. They will go after anything that comes into their path.  Furthermore, crabs will use their claws to dig or scratch up food from the seafloor’s bottom.  

Crabs rely on their sense of smell to find food. Crabs have chemoreceptors that allow them to detect chemicals in the water that are released by their prey. These chemoreceptors are on a crab’s antennae. These are long, segmented appendages near the Crab’s eyes that have both chemoreceptors and allow them to feel their surroundings.

Crabs also have antennules, shorter antenna-like appendages near the antennas that allow them to sense their environment. A crab can “taste” using hairs on its mouthparts, pincers, and even its feet.  Long story short? The stinker and smeller the bait, the better.

Foods that are natural to crabs seem to do better, such as fish carcasses, squid, clams, and the like. Natural baits also have a downside in that seals seem to love them as much as the Crab and Seals tear-up Crab Traps.

Recommended bait is dark meat chicken.  The Crab will consume about two (2) pieces of dark meat chicken/hour.

The Crab Trapper comes with a Smell/Bait Bag.

With a Smell/Bait Bag, a Crab can eat from the bag, but they have to pinch through the mesh to get to the chicken. Along with Smell Bait Bag’s side is a chicken spike with raw chicken and no bait bag protecting it.

One can inject chicken with Crab Attractant Bait Oil before placing it in the Smell/Bait Bag. The smell of the Attractant attracts Crab but eat the chicken from the chicken spike. The scent will last longer and keep attracting Crab long after the chicken on the spike was consumed.

The Crab will eat two (2) raw dark meat (drumsticks or thighs) from the Chicken Spike per hour per Trap.

What is a Crab Dinner Guarantee?

Join the Catch Dinner Club and with your first rental, be Guaranteed to catch a Crab for Dinner.

No one can Guarantee you catch a Crab every time you go Crabbing.  As a Club member, you are Guaranteed the unrestricted use of one Crab Trap, bucket, and gauge for 3 hours/day until you catch at least one male Dungeness “Keeper.”  A Dungeness “Keeper” measures five 3/4″ across the shell.

When you join the Catch Dinner Guarantee Club, you receive a Club Tee-Shirt.  Wear your Club Tee Shirt and make your FIRST Crab Trap rental or Purchase.  If you catch your “Keeper” as a result of that first try, you are a full-fledged member of the Club. If you do not, then you will be Guaranteed the unrestricted use of one Crab Trap, bucket, and gauge until you catch at least one male Dungeness “Keeper.”

Besides, you will be given a 20% Discount forever on any Crab Trap rental or Purchase of Crab Traps, so long as we are in business and someone in your group picking up the Crab equipment is wearing the Club shirt.

Cost $25 to join the Club

How do I get my Crab Cleaned and Cooked for Dinner?

Depoe Bay …. There is no place to get your Crab Cleaned and Cooked.

Newport Bay …. there is no fixed place to get your Crab Cleaned and Cooked, but during slack times the fishing boat’s personnel will clean and cook for a couple of dollars.  But you will have to search the fishing boat piers to find one.

Siletz Bay ….  Crab are cleaned and cooked at $2.50/Crab.  No limit to the number of Crab. Open 8 PM -Dark 7 days a week.   For the year 2020, 956 people were shown how to clean and cook Crab for their Dinner.

Hands-on Crab Clinic Demonstrations

Newport Bay …. Not offered

Depoe Bay…. Not offered

Siletz Bay ….  Free and Private Hands-on Crab Clinic offered

Private Crab Clinics are offered $25/per group.     Available by Appointment 7 days a week. You pick the date and time…. 8 AM – Dark.  To register for a Private Crab Clinic, CLICK HERE 

You will experience a beach location that does not require a dock, pier, or dock. It will be a hands-on demonstration to show you how to catch Crab. You will have the experience of doing it. It will explain the Oregon Crab laws and everything about Crabbing for $25 with no limit on the group’s size.

Free Weekly Crabbing Clinics starts in June. The weekly Free Crab Clinic  CLICK HERE for dates.  To register online to get the exact location, CLICK HERE 

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This entry was posted on December 25, 2020 by .