...is very popular on Whidbey Island. By boat and by dock, crab is plentiful during the season.
Crabbing is regulated by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Be sure to have all applicable licenses, which are available at hardware and major retailers on Whidbey and Camano. Need equipment? No problem. Most hardware and major retailers are stocked year-round.
Licensing and reporting requirements
To fish for crab in Washington state:
•All sport crabbers 15 years or older must carry a current Washington fishing license. Options range from an annual shellfish/seaweed license to combination fishing licenses, valid for a single day or up to a year.
•All sport crabbers, regardless of age, must obtain and carry a crab licensing endorsement to fish for crab in Puget Sound. The endorsement costs $3 for crabbers 15 years and older, but is free for those 14 years and younger.
•All sport crabbers, regardless of age, who fish for crab in Puget Sound must carry and complete catch record cards to account for all Dungeness crab they catch. They also must complete their catch record cards even if they did not go crabbing or catch any crab.
•Information from catch record cards must be returned to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at the end of both the summer and fall/winter seasons. Crabbers have several options for reporting their catch information. They can report online, drop the cards off at a WDFW regional office, or mail them to:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Fish Program Catch Record Card Office
600 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501-1091
On Whidbey Island, the following beaches are open for crabbing during the season:
Our Front Yard at Possession Beach!
In Langley, located along the beach on First Street.
Located nine miles north of Oak Harbor and is part of Deception Pass State Park.
Deception Pass State Park
Located nine miles north of Oak Harbor. A popular outdoor activity spot.
Joseph Whidbey State Park
Located three miles northwest of Oak Harbor at Swantown and Crosby.
South Whidbey State Park
Located seven miles northwest of Freeland on Smuggler's Cove Road.
Double Bluff Beach
Located west at end of Double Bluff Road off of Hwy 525 about one mile south of Freeland.
Puget Sound Sport Crabbing
Crabbing is one of Puget Sound’s most popular recreational fisheries. Each year, sport fishers catch more than a million pounds of Dungeness crab, using pots, ring nets and – in the case of wade and dive fishers – their bare hands.
In addition to meeting licensing requirements, everyone who fishes for crab in Puget Sound must carry and complete catch record cards to account for all Dungeness crab they catch. Recent changes in the reporting system now in effect:
•Two-card reporting system: All sport crabbers fishing in Puget Sound are required to report their Dungeness crab catch on separate summer and fall/winter catch record cards at the end of each season. The new cards are separate from the multi-species card used for recording catches of salmon, halibut and other fish. People of all ages who have a crab endorsement and received a catch record card are required to make a report even if they did not go crabbing or catch any crab.
•On-line reporting: Sport crabbers can either report their information on the WDFW crab reporting website or mail in their catch cards. The website address for reporting crab catches is printed on the catch record card along with reporting deadlines.
•No coastal reporting: Catch record cards are required for those fishing for Dungeness crab along the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, which includes marine area 4 (east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line) and marine areas 5-13. They are not required along the coast, which includes marine areas 1-3 and marine area 4 (west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line).
Fishery managers rely on individual catch record card reports to estimate recreational harvest and to set future crabbing opportunities. By completing catch record cards, fishers play a vital role in maintaining sustainable harvest opportunities.