Dungeness Crab is the most common crab found in supermarkets on the west coat. To some they resemble the taste and texture of a Lobster. They are widely sought after by both land and boat anglers on their quest to fill their crab nets, pots, and traps.
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Dungeness Crab Fishing Habitat
Dungeness Crabs are most commonly found at depths from twenty to three hundred feet deep, and in rare instances as deep as seven hundred feet deep. They are most commonly found on sandy and mud bottoms. They like to live in eelgrass beds in bays. Estuaries, which are the area where the ocean meets the mouth of a river, are an important part of their life cycle and they inhabit all of these areas between Morro Bay and Puget Sound, Washington. They also like sandy shore beaches, and will go up into the bay. Dungeness are a type of scavenger that will eat almost anything, but their food of choice is clams, other crustaceans and small fish.
Dungeness Crab Habitat
•20 to 300 Feet Deep Sandy and Mud Bottoms•Live in Eelgrass Beds in Bays •Inhabit Areas Where the Ocean Meets the Mouth of a River •Sandy Shore Beaches •Bays and Jetty’s
Fishing for Dungeness Crabs
Dungeness crabs are typically taken with hoop nets, crab traps, and a method that is getting more popular is the use of crab snares.
Methods for Dungeness Crab Fishing
•Hoop Nets •Crab Traps •Crab Snares
Dungeness Crab Snare Traps
Dungeness Crab Pots and Traps
Best Dungeness Crab Fishing Bait
Dungeness Crabs are scavengers, so they will eat just about anything. If you hit the fish markets along the coast, and some bait shops, you may get lucky and they will sell you a large salmon carcass fairly cheap. Another thing you can do is throughout the months, keep the raw parts of chicken that you cut off during your normal meal preparation and freeze it to be used later for crab fishing. You can buy chicken parts like necks, in the bargain bin at the grocery store when it’s on the verge of expiring at a really good price. When you clean your fish throughout the year you can also save the heads, tails, and even the carcass to use as really great crab bait as well. Be sure to check the most updated version of the fishing regulations for your area to make sure you can use the type of bait you are wanting to use.
Best Dungeness Crab Bait
•Chicken necks, legs, and other chicken parts •Fish heads, fish carcass, fish tails, and other fish parts•Artificial crab attractant scents •Squid
Rock Crab Fishing
Rock crabs are another great crab found along the west coast. The rock crab pinchers are very large, providing a great amount of crab meat. The meat is very sweet in flavor. They are widely sought after by shore crab fisherman to fill their crab nets, pots, and traps. Snare traps can also be used for catching rock crabs along the rocky areas of the coast.
What Is A Rock Crab?
Rock crab is plentiful along the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States. The rock crab, because it is smaller than the Dungeness crab, and a little more difficult to pull its meat from its shell, they are a little less popular than the dungeness crab. The red rock crabs are typically from four to six inches across, but they can grow up to 10 inches across. The female rock crabs are a little smaller than the male rock crabs, but are equally as delicious. The tast of the rock crab is sweeter, and to me taste better, than other crabs.
Rock Crab Habitat
Rock Crabs live in rock, gravel or kelp beds in bays, estuaries and rocky areas of the ocean from the shallow shoreline up to about twenty feet deep, with some occurrences of Rock Crab being found up to three hundred feet deep or more. Red rock crabs will shelter in the rocks or bury themselves in the sand to hide from other predators such as river otters, sea otters, large fish, and other crabs. •1 to 20 Feet Deep and Deeper •Rocky Bottoms •Gravel Bottoms of Sandy Shore •Beaches Near Rocks •Kelp Beds •Inhabit Areas Where the Ocean Meets the Mouth of a River •Bays and Jetty’s
Fishing for Rock Crabs
Rock crabs are typically taken with hoop nets, crab traps, and a method that is getting more popular is the use of crab snares. They are very easy to catch, and fun to catch as well. If you want to target some rock crabs, all you really have to do is find a spot along the coast, if it has rocks out in the water that you can catch a crab snare to or throw a crab net over to, chances are that you will catch some great numbers of rock crabs.
Methods for Rock Crab Fishing
•Hoop Nets •Crab Traps •Crab Snares
Rock Crab Bait
Rock Crabs are scavengers, and they will eat pretty much anything. One of the best baits for catching rock crabs would be a large salmon carcass which you can pick up from a bait shop, or a coastal fish market. You can also use chicken parts that you collect throughout the year, or buy in the bargain bin of your local grocery store. Another good rock crab bait is fish party you can buy or save throughout the year when you clean your fish like the fish heads, tails, and even the fish carcass. Make sure to check the most updated version of the fishing regulations for your area to make sure you can use the type of bait you are wanting to use. •Chicken necks, legs, and other chicken parts •Fish heads, fish carcass, fish tails, and other fish parts •Artificial crab attractant scents •Squid
Where To Catch Rock Crabs
The best place to target is the rocky bottoms, and the areas between rocks popping out from the water, along the rock edges, because they are hiding on the bottom in these areas. You can also target them from a boat looking for similar areas with rocks protruding from the bottom if you are in deeper water, or up along rocks coming up out of the water in more shallow areas.
Keep Crab Meat Cold
It’s important to take good care of the crab meat as quickly as possible, and not let your crabs sit in the sun, on the bank, or in a bucket of water too long on warm days. I bring a five gallon bucket with me, and fill it partially with sea water, and put them in the bucket. I don’t let them stay there too long before I throw them in boiling water when they are still alive, they die immediately when you do this, and I cook them, and if I am not going to eat them right away I will throw them in the ice chest. Dungeness crabs and rock crabs, during certain times of the year, will have a poisonous part of their head, so be sure to follow the regulations on when it’s safe to catch, keep, and eat them. You should also clean the heads well if you eat the meat in the heads. The crab pinchers and legs are the easiest part to clean and eat. Both Dungeness Crab and Rock Crab meat is very delicious. They are both great plain, or dipped in butter. Yum!
My Son Alex Catches His First Rock Crab
This is a picture of one of my five little fishing buddy’s from a trip to Bodega Bay. We were rock fishing, and also fishing for Rock Crab on this day. My son Alex caught his very first rock crab on this trip using a crab snare trap that you cast out on your fishing pole. These are the memories that make the heart grow strong. Nice Job Alex!
How To Cook A Rock Crab
Most of the rock crab meat is found within its two large crusher claws, I don’t waste my time with the head of the crab. There is just not enough meat in the Rock Crabs head to worry about, and during certain times of year there could be a dangerous toxin that you want to stay away from inside the head. I pull the meat out of the crab claws and legs, and that’s it. The Rock Crab claws are typically steamed or boiled, and served with drawn butter. The delicious and sweet meat of the rock crab is so delicious that you really don’t need to do anything to it. The rock crab claws can also be grilled on a pellet grill if you would like to add a little delicious smoky flavor to the meat as well.
Rock Crab Recipe
Because I do catch my crabs fresh from the ocean, I do boil them up at camp and put them in the ice chest to cook on my pellet grill at home. I boil the crabs for about ten minutes depending on their size and cook up some melted butter and lemon, and have at it. These rock crabs are delicious and simple. To cook rock crab on the pellet grill, I kick it up a notch.
Grilled Rock Crab Recipe
6 Large Live Rock Crabs ¼ Cup White Wine Vinegar 2 Tablespoon Granulated Garlic 4 Tablespoons Sugar 1/2 Cup Olive Oil 1 Tablespoon Minced Ginger 1 Tablespoon Diced Pickled Jalapenos 1 Tablespoon Diced Cilantro Lemon wedges, for serving Melted Butter for Serving•Drop the rock crabs in boiling water and boil for five minutes. •Preheat the pellet grill to 250 degrees. •Pull crabs off and cool for a few minutes so they aren’t too hot to touch. •Pull the pinchers and the legs, and put them in a foil tub or cast iron pan. •Mix up the vinegar, garlic, sugar, oil, ginger, jalapenos, and cilantro in a bowl. •Add the ingredients mixed from above and pour over the pinchers and legs. •Place on the pellet grill and grill for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice to keep the ingredients mixed up. •The rock crab is done when the meat is opaque. •Serve with lemon wedges, and melted butter for dipping.About The Author Mike Mendenhall is the the founder of Mendenhall Outdoors. This website is an extension of the Mendenhall family’s lifestyle and passion for the great outdoors. Everything that they learn, and experience, along the way that they find may be valuable to our website visitors is on the site for you to enjoy. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive free products from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase. The Best Crab Fishing Experience Awaits!