Community November 5, 2020

Winter Crabbing on Camano Island and Stanwood


Summer may be dwindling, but in the Stanwood Camano area, this just means it’s time for winter crabbing! There’s nothing like enjoying one of Puget Sound’s famously delicious Dungeness crabs, freshly caught in your own crab pots. In fact, crabbing is so popular that Washington sport fishers catch over 1.5 million pounds a year of Dungeness crab in the Sound.

Here’s what you need to get started with winter crabbing. 

Getting Started 

Washington state law requires sport fishers to have both a license and a current catch record card (CRC), along with a Dungeness crab endorsement. Youth under the age of 15 don’t need the license but do need the endorsement and CRC. You can obtain both from any licensed vendor and will find winter catch record cards available after Aug. 15th each year.

New to winter crabbing? You’ll want to pick up saltwater fishing gear and crabbing gear, such as crab pots, highly visible buoys, bait (and bait holders), a bucket, tools for measuring your crab, and more. Fall and winter are cold on the water, so don’t forget to dress in warm, waterproof clothing—you’ll definitely be grateful for gloves when handling live crab. 

Where to Go for Winter Crabbing

There are many spots to launch your boat in the Stanwood Camano area. Check out our blog post for more information on Camano Island’s public boat launches; in Stanwood, Kayak Point Regional Park also has a boat launch plus a 300-ft. dock some fishers use for crabbing.

Camano Island falls in two marine areas as defined by the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. Region 8-1 is between Whidbey Island and the mainland/Camano (Skagit Bay, Saratoga Passage), and Region 8-2 is between Camano and the mainland (East Point, Port Susan). Use these areas to track any changes or closures on the Fish and Wildlife Department’s website

Is Winter Crabbing Available Now?

Currently, the Fish and Wildlife department lists both Area 8-1 and 8-2 as open, with the winter season running from October 10, 2020, through December 31, 2020. 


Now that winter crabbing is open, take this time to grab your gear and prepare for a crab dinner. The beauty of Stanwood Camano is just how much there is to do in all seasons if you know where to look!