Good news — Puget Sound crab season’s almost here!
Crabbers can begin dropping their pots in as little as a week and a half in three marine areas, with more openings in late June and the waters closest to major population centers fair game starting July 1. The two San Juans subareas are slated for midsummer openers.
WDFW posted the dates yesterday and a press release is due out soon.
According to manager Don Velasquez, this year’s recreational harvest might be a bit down from last year’s 2.062-million-pound catch, and the cold spring could have some crabs still in soft-shell condition early in the season, but there will be plenty of Dungies and red rockies for summer feasts.
“If you want Dungeness crab, stay north of Seattle,” tips Velasquez.
Though smaller, red rocks dominate in the South Sound.
“There are plenty there,” Velasquez adds.
That’s especially true in Area 13, where this year’s opener has been moved back from June 1 to July 1.
The other notable change is Hood Canal’s season begins a week later, June 24, compared to mid-June last year.
Other than that, 2017’s summer season will be similar to 2016, says Velasquez.
Crabbing is open Thursdays through Mondays, and the daily limit is five male Dungeness at least 6.25 inches across the carapace and they must be in hard-shell form.
For red rocks, either sex can be kept, and they must be 5 inches across the back.
For most waters, season will run through Sept. 4.
According to WDFW’s scheduled 2017 seasons, here are opener dates:
Area 4, western Strait of Juan de Fuca east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh Line
Area 5, Sekiu
Area 11, Tacoma
Area 9 — Port Gamble/Port Ludlow subarea
Area 12, Hood Canal
Area 6, Port Angeles, Sequim, Disco Bay
Area 8-1: Deception Pass, Skagit Bay, waters between Whidbey and Camano Islands
Area 8-2: Everett, Port Gardner
Area 9: Admiralty Inlet, Port Townsend, Edmonds
Area 10: Seattle, Bremerton, Bainbridge Island
Area 13: South Sound, Olympia
Area 7-South: San Juan Islands south of Patos and Lummi Islands
Area 7-North: Boundary Bay and waters north of Patos and Lummi Islands