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Dungeness Crab Country: Drop a pot & catch your own

Dungeness crab

Catch your own Dungeness crab from shore on the Columbia River, Willapa Bay or Port of Ilwaco.

Mention “crabbing” and most people conjure “The Deadliest Catch”. Well, allow us to introduce you to “the friendliest catch”, the family friendly Dungeness crabbing experience onWashington’s Long Beach Peninsula.

Willapa Bay, the Port of Ilwaco and Cape Disappointment State Park all offer land-based crabbing, Whether dropping a crab pot or tossing a ring net, shoreline crabbing is a fun way to score a crab dinner straight from the source.

Area waters support both Dungeness and red rock crab.

Willapa Bay

Willapa Bay oysters are world renowned, but its crab flies – or crawls – a bit below the radar. Drop a pot or cast a line to pull your crab dinner from the shallows of Willapa Bay, the second-largest estuary on the U.S.’s west coast. Crabbing on Willapa Bay is open year round – drop pots between Dec. 1 and Sept. 15 or use other crab gear all twelve months. The most accessible crabbing area on Willapa Bay is the Port of Peninsula, accessed via 275th Street in Nahcotta on the Long Beach Peninsula. On-site parking is available, but camping is not allowed. The Nahcotta Tidelands encompass about 40 acres of intertidal land.

Columbia River

Crabbing from the jetty in Cape Disappointment State Park requires a bit more fortitude, as the waves routinely pound the rocks and send sea spray high into the air. Exercise caution if crabbing from the Jetty. Crab pots and other methods can be used year round in the Columbia River.

Port of Ilwaco

Dungeness crab

Find crabbing gear at Dennis Company, Jack’s Country Store and Englund Marine.

Crabbing from the Port of Ilwaco follows the same rules as the Port of Peninsula – crab pots can be used Dec. 1 to Sept. 15, while other methods can be used year round.

Popular bait includes herring, rockfish carcasses, salmon heads or clams.

Regardless of where you choose to crab, you’ll need to come prepared. Buy a shellfish license and keep it on you at all times. Bring a crab pot or a ring net, or bring a pair of waders and short-handled dip net if you want to head into the bay at low tide.

Fishing and shellfish licenses can be bought at the Mobile Station in Seaview or Dennis Company in Long Beach or Raymond. Crabbing supplies can be found at Englund Marine Supply at the Port of Ilwaco or Dennis Company, which also carries all-weather gear like waterproof gloves, rubber boots and coveralls.

Get the gear

Dennis Company: Long Beach & Raymond, 360.642.3166

Englund Marine Supply: Ilwaco, 360.642.2308

Jack’s Country Store: Ocean Park, 360.665.4989

Upcoming events:

Black Lake Fishing Derby – April 22

Astoria-Warrenton Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival – April 28-30

Community Beach Cleanup – April 29

Razor Clam Festival – April 29-30

Savings & coupons:

Peninsula specials & coupons

The Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau facilitates, coordinates and implements the promotion of our communities as a tourist destination. Contact us at (360) 642-2400 or ask@funbeach.com.

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