It’s the most wonderful time of the year… because crab season has officially kicked off in Oregon’s south coast, Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston! The season will offer the tastiest bounty of the sea for crab connoisseurs, and this year promises to be the best yet!
Oregon topped 13.8 million pounds of crab caught in the 2015-16 season, way up from 2014-15’s 8.2 million. At this rate, 2016-17 will be our biggest year yet. Luckily, the Coos Bay/North-Bend/Charleston area offers many avenues to acquire (and devour) the freshest, meatiest Oregon Dungeness Crab.
If you’d like to purchase fresh crab without having to go through the catching process, we recommend stopping by one of our local seafood markets for the very best in seafood:
Chuck’s Seafood is famous for their Salmon, Albacore Tuna, Crab, Oysters and other fine seafood these water have to offer. All of their seafood selections are freshly prepared, hand packed, and processed to keep their natural flavor. www.chucksseafood.com
Floating market located just off “D” Dock in the Charleston boat basin. Pick your own Dungeness Crab from their live tank or one of their pre-cooked iced crab – done daily. They will cook and clean your catch. Purchase canned and smoked Albacore and Salmon year round. www.fishermenswharforegon.com
Fishermen’s Seafood Market
This floating fish market, famous for their made-from-scratch clam chowder, can be found off the Coos Bay City Docks. Their fish case is filled with fresh seafood they caught themselves or purchased directly from local fishing boats. This is also a great spot for a tasty seafood meal! www.fishermensseafoodmarket.com
Of course, perhaps you’re looking for a little more adventure and want to hit the water and catch a crab or two yourself! This is something you won’t want to miss, not only is it a one of a kind experience but it’s also a lot of fun! Here are a couple of tips and suggestions to keep in mind before heading out on the water:
- Make sure you have your shellfish license (14 and older requires a shellfish license), crab measuring tool, pots or rings, cooler, gloves, bait holders and bait supply. 3-day licenses are available at local ODFW offices and at many sporting goods or hardware stores.
- Slack water (the time around high or low tide) are the best times to crab. During slack water, crabs are generally walking around and foraging since they are not getting pushed around by tidal exchange.
- Check all lines on crab pots or rings for kinks or knots to ensure they are durable and will allow gear to work correctly.
- Fresh bait is best. Many different types of bait are used for crabbing: turkey, chicken, mink, fish carcass, shad, herring, clams, etc.
- Tie the end of your crab line to the dock or pier from where you are crabbing. Throw your crab pot or ring in the water and start crabbing.
- Check with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website for the most current shellfish regulations and harvest notices.
Whether you catch it or buy it, keep your cooked crab refrigerated until ready to eat and follow these easy steps we found on the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission’s website.
- To remove the back, hold base of crab with one hand, place thumb under shell at mid-point, and pull off the shell.
- The leaf-like gills are now exposed. Gently scrape them away with thumb or spoon edge.
- Wash away the “crab butter” (viscera) under a heavy stream of cold water.
Then again, you may just want to avoid the extra work altogether and just head down to one of the area’s many incomparable seafood restaurants. Nobody would blame you; their crab is just as tasty!
When it comes to crab season, it doesn’t matter how you choose to enjoy it; just make sure you eat some of the freshest, juiciest crab around — we know we will!