Please remember that Oregon requires licenses for crab hunting. You can find more information about what you need for the license, regulations on size, times you may catch crab, and where to obtain a permit at the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) website.
While crabbing is often done by boat, visitors can also crab from the public docks in Alsea Bay. Bring your own equipment, or pick some up at a local outdoors or hardware store.
Generally, crabbing requires little equipment. You’ll need a cooler filled with ice, crab traps and bait. Experienced crabbers know that the best bait for bringing in a big catch is hot dogs. Crabs will eat any meat but have a particular affinity for hot dogs. You can also use chicken, fish carcasses, or clams.
When you have your equipment, be prepared to spend at least a few hours outside while you wait for the traps to fill. If you’re using pots, ODFW recommends leaving them underwater for 45 minutes. For rings, you can pull them out after 20 minutes. For the best chances of catching crabs, find a spot that has deep water close to shore and avoid crabbing during heavy rain.
Day to day crabbing harvests along with current regulations are updated on the Dock of the Bay Marina website. Only male Dungeness crabs that are 5 and ¾ inches wide may be harvested. There are also limits to how many a person can catch and bring home each day.
Pro Tip: If a crab pinches you, grab the back of the crab and pull it until the claw breaks off. Keep the crabs on ice until you can clean and cook them. If the crab dies before it is cleaned, do not eat it. When a crab dies, a poison is released through the crab’s body that will ruin the meat.