Catching Crabs


Catching Crabs With Rental Boats, Crab Pots, and Rings.

So you over slept and missed the clamming tide in Seaside; well you’re not the first to miss
Crabbing basket full of crab
Dungeness Crab
low tide! Thank goodness there are alternatives here at to save the day. The first being

catching crab

, fun for adults and kids alike!

Catching crab in Oregon has always been phenomenal and on top of that, the Oregon coast is home to the Dungeons Crab that is particularly good eating – very sweet and meaty. You are allowed 12 male crabs, minimum size of 5’’ ¾ (about the size of dollar bill, measured from the inside notch, not point to point). You might also run into some Red Rock crabs, which you can keep 24 of no matter the sex or size. They are not as good to eat though and a lot of people throw them back.

Crab rental boats at Kelley's Marina
Kelly’s Marina, Nehalem Bay
Their are lots o f great places for catching crab, just a few are off the shore, piers, bridges, and boats. There will usually be a sign on HWY 101 as you are driving down the road, designating a descent place to rent a boat and go crabbing. We also have a list of Marinas in Oregon we recommend listed here. There are also a number of photos so you can get a good idea on how these marinas are set up for catching crab.
Crab cookers are available in most bays.
Crab Boil Shed, Nehalem Bay

It is also best to go crabbing on the “slack” tide of an incoming tide (start 1 hour before and 1 hour after). Slack tide is when the ocean stops coming into the bay, or slows, as it changes direction and starts going out. Crabs tend to hunker down when the tide starts moving in/out too fast and they stop feeding. Crabbing is also the best when the slack tide is very little – when there is not a great difference in the amount of water coming in, and out, from low to high tide (if you have a change of water depth of 9′ in a few hours, well that is a lot of water and crab will hunker down more and stop feeding).
Crab Rental boats Tillamook Bay
Tillamook Bay, Garibaldi Marina

The crabbing also starts to pick up in the fall, when they start migrating into the Bays before the rains start. Both rains and melting snow from the mountains push fresh water into the bays, and if there is to much fresh water coming into the Bay crabs will start moving out to the Ocean because of the change in salinity. A lot people report better crabbing and fishing during a full moon (and we agree) but don’t let that discourage you from going out, it’s not that big of a difference considering other variables (ocean temperature is probably the biggest, then overall weather conditions, etc.).

Crab Rental boats at Jetty-fishery
Jetty Fishery, Nehalem Bay
If you are crabbing by boat, we recommend using crab “cages” or “pots” (traps) and what these do is allow the crab to come in through a one way opening (doors) on the side. These are great for when you want to “soak” the pot, which is important because crabs locate food by scent. Which we will get to bait in a minute.You can also use what is called a crab “ring”. These are easily transported, weigh less than crab pots and east to bait.
Crab Male and female
Male Female Crabs
Unlike the other crabs traps this is about timing because the moment you pull up on the ring the crabs are temporarily trapped, it is easy to lose some of those monster Dungeons crabs if you don’t pull up that ring fast enough. We recommend letting it sit though for 20 minutes, but if the crabbing is hot make it a little less. Also, sometimes those pesky seals start coming around and eating that bait, guess what, we got a trick for that. Bait the ring from the bottom of the ring and let it sit. Crabs will still come into the trap and the seals won’t know what to do and will leave your trap alone.

Crab caught in the ocean.
Newport, Oregon – Ocean Crabbing
A lot of people have preferences on what kind of bait to use for crabs and we have noticed that when it comes to bait crabs prefer what is found in their habitat. That means ocean fish carcases, clams (crabs go out of their minds over razor clams), etc.. Truth be told crabs are scavengers and will eat about anything, but people swear by mink, chicken or other baits found at bait shops. Buying fish heads and carcasses is a little more covenant though because they normally will come with some twine or wire that you can tie to your ring or trap.

Bay Boat Marinas I’ve Used and Recommend (photos below)

Marina City Phone Rent Boats Dock Crab RV Park Camp
Kelly’s Brighton Marina Rockaway 503-368-5745 Yes Yes Yes Yes
McKinley’s Marina & RV Park Waldport 541-563-4656 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wheeler Marina Wheeler 503-368-5780 Yes Yes
Silettz Moorage Lincoln City 541-996-3671 Yes Yes
Garibaldi Marina Garibaldi 503-322-3312 Yes Yes
Netarts Bay Marina RV Resort Netarts 503-842-7774 Yes Yes Yes
Jetty Fishery Marina & RV Park Rockaway 503-368-5746 Yes Yes Yes Cabins
Embarcadero Hotel & Marina Newport 541-265-8521 Yes Yes Hotel


Bay Boat Rental Marinas – Examples on How They Are Setup