Time to gear up for summer Puget Sound Dungeness crab season beginning on June 30, and Straits open next week 2
Dungeness crab seekers have reason to make the upcoming Father’s Day weekend very special as the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Neah Bay to Sekiu opens June 16 for Dungeness crab fishing.
That will be followed by some Puget Sound areas opening on June 30 in what fisheries managers say could be a good summer season.
“It is fair to say that north of Area 10 (central Puget Sound) should see a decent Dungeness crab season this summer,” said Don Velasquez, a WDFW Puget Sound shellfish manager.
Fishing in open areas is allowed Thursdays to Mondays of each week (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays). The crab fishery will be closed on the Fourth of July so plan to hit the waters and load up beforehand.
The eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca (Marine Catch Area 6), Deception Pass (8-1), Port Susan/Everett (8-2), northern Puget Sound/Admiralty Inlet (9), central Puget Sound (10) and Hood Canal (12) opens June 30 through Sept. 3.
The western Strait of Juan de Fuca from Neah Bay to Sekiu (4 and 5) opens June 16 through Sept. 3.
The San Juan Islands/Bellingham (7 South) will be open July 14 through Sept. 30 followed by the San Juan Islands “Gulf of Georgia” (7 North) opening from Aug. 16 through Sept. 30.
Velasquez noted that due to poor Dungeness crab abundance south-central and southern Puget Sound (Marine Catch Areas 11 and 13) are closed this summer.
Central Puget Sound south of the Apple Tree-Edmonds boundary line is also facing a downtrend of Dungeness crab although there’s still a good number of red rock crab.
Last season, the total Dungeness crab harvested in Puget Sound was 9,285,912 pounds in all fisheries compared to 10,645,000 in 2016.
The all-time record catch occurred in 2015 when state and tribal Puget Sound Dungeness crab fisheries caught 11.8 million pounds, exceeding the previous 2014 record by 1.2 million pounds.
If you can’t wait for June 16 to roll around then head to the coast where Dungeness crab fishing is open daily from Ilwaco north to Neah Bay west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh Island boundary.
In Puget Sound, crab pots cannot set or pulled from a vessel from one hour after official sunset to one hour before official sunrise. All shellfish gear must be removed from the water on closed days.
Crabbers must write their catch on record catch cards immediately after retaining Dungeness crab.
Catch record cards are not required to fish for Dungeness crab in the Columbia River or on the Washington coast.
The daily limit in Puget Sound is five male Dungeness crab in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. Fishermen may also keep six red rock crab of either sex daily, and each must measure at least 5 inches.
For details, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/.