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Terrific Tides and Getting Crab Crazy!

Pulling a crab pot can require some muscle. Photo: Jeff Adams

Dust off the crab pots (both the one with holes and the one with boiling water), it’s crab season! The long awaited day has arrived (as of 7:00am today, 7/1), and many will feast on freshly caught crabs for the holiday. After all, Dungeness crabs are as Northwest’erican as espresso and apple pie. Don’t forget the red rock crab though. It’s tougher to crack, but abundant and mighty tasty.

Chris Dunagan shared a story on the recreational harvest this crab season, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has a one stop recreational crabbing website with a 4 minute video, regulatory, harvesting, cleaning and cooking tips and more. A few things to note…

– A fishing license and crab endorsement are required. (Don’t forget you need to pay to get into Washington State Parks now.)
– You can keep up to 11 crabs a day!

  • 5 hard-shelled, male Dungeness crabs and
  • 6 hard shelled red rock crabs (male or female).

– Use pots (with degradable cords to prevent ghost fishing) or collect by hand.
– Don’t forget to RECORD AND REPORT your catch! (Says the guy who’s committed to doing his part for the fishery… and to not paying the $10 penalty again this year.)

While your on your way to or from your favorite destination, check out some of these excellent holiday weekend beach walks and events. Have a crabby day! JEff

A barnacle encrusted red rock crab. If you get a crab like this, you might as well eat the barnacles too... taste a bit like shrimp. Photo: Jeff Adams

This week’s minus tides for the Central Puget Sound (remember you may need to add up to an hour or more for out of the way fingers like Dyes Inlet, and much of South Puget Sound)…

  • 7/1 Fri; -2.6 ~11:30am
  • 7/2 Sat; -2.7 ~12:15pm
  • 7/3 Sun; -2.4 ~1:00pm
  • 7/4 Mon; -1.8 ~1:40pm
  • 7/5 Tues; -0.7 ~2:15pm

Kitsap Beach Naturalists
– Silverdale Waterfront Park, one of my favorite urban Kitsap beaches, Saturday July 2nd from 12:30-2:30pm
– Scenic Beach State Park, Seabeck, WA, July 2, Noon-2:00pm
– Fay Bainbridge Park, Bainbridge Island, WA, July 3, Noon-2:00pm

Harbor WildWatch (Gig Harbor and the south of Kitsap Peninsula)
– Kopachuck and Penrose State Parks, July 1, 10:30am-2:30pm
– Penrose and Joemma State Parks, July 2, 11am-3pm
– Kopachuck and Penrose State Parks and Narrows Park, July 3, 11:30am-3:30pm
– Kopachuck and Penrose State Parks, July 4, 12:30pm-4:30pm

Celebrate Oakland Bay – Family Fun with the Stars (site with link to flyer)
– Walker County Park, Shelton, July 3, 11am-4pm

Vashon Low Tide Festival
– Point Robinson Light Station and Park, July 2, 10am-3pm

South Sound Beach Naturalists
– Priest Point Park, June 2, 12:15pm – 3:15pm.
– Burfoot and Tolmie State Parks, June 3, 12:30pm – 3:30pm

Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalists are on a variety of east Sound Beaches
– Richmond Beach, Carkeek Park, Golden Gardens, South Alki, Lincoln Park, Seahurst and Des Moines Beach Park, July 2, 11-2:30; July 3, 11:30-3; July 4, 12:30-3:30

I’m sure there’s more! Please share other opportunities through comments.

Jeff Adams is a Washington Sea Grant Marine Water Quality Specialist, affiliated with the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, and based in Bremerton. You can follow his Sea Life blog, SalishSeaLife tweets and videos, email to or call at 360-337-4619.