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Many Puget Sound Marine Areas Reopening To Recreational Crab Fishing

Most areas of Puget Sound reopening for winter crab fishing

OLYMPIA – Most areas of Puget Sound will reopen for recreational crab fishing in October, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

Winter crab openings were approved by fishery managers after summer catch assessments by WDFW indicated more crab are available for harvest, said Rich Childers, shellfish manager for the department.

Areas opening to sport crabbing on Oct. 7 include Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) and the portion of Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) north of the Hood Canal Bridge to a line from Foulweather Bluff to Olele point.

Eight more areas will open to sport crabbing Oct. 15, including marine areas 4 (Neah Bay east of the Tatoosh-Bonilla line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner), the remainder of 9 (Admiralty Inlet), and 10 (Seattle, Bremerton). In each area, recreational crabbing will be allowed seven days a week through Dec. 31.

Maps and descriptions of the two portions of marine area 9 are on the WDFW website at

WDFW managers are still evaluating summer harvest information for marine areas 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island) and 13 (South Puget Sound). Winter sport opportunity in these areas may be announced at a later date. 

The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. In addition, fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across. Additional information is available on WDFW's website at

All Dungeness crab caught in the late-season fishery must be recorded on winter catch cards, which are valid through Dec. 31. Winter cards – free to those with crab endorsements – are available at license vendors across the state.

Winter catch reports are due to WDFW by Feb. 1, 2017. For more information on catch record cards, visit WDFW's website at

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