Information on Alaskan Crab Fishing
Crab Fishing Methods
- You can use crab pots, dip nets, ring nets, diving gear, and hooked or hookless handlines to harvest crab for personal use. According to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, dungeness crabs can sometimes be picked up by hand when they get washed ashore by minus tides. Catch dungeness crabs by using circular pots with baits like with squid, herring or clams. For king crabs, many anglers use pots with steel frames covered with nylon webbing along with chopped herring as bait.
Types of Crabs
- The main species of crabs you can find in Alaska are king crab, dungeness crab and tanner crab. You can distinguish the king crab by its prominent spines on the mid-dorsal plate while the tanner crab has a much narrower abdominal flap and much longer legs. Comparatively, the dungeness crab has wider abdominal flaps and shorter legs. The four kinds of king crab are red, blue, golden or brown.
Peak Season and Location
- Crab fishing season varies depending on the region in Alaska, however the peak time to go crabbing is during spring, when the crabs are mating. Bristol Bay and the Kodiak Archipelago serve as the centers of crab fishing in Alaska, according to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game.
- Fishing regulations in Alaska are divided into 5 regions: Bristol Bay, Southcentral, Interior-AYK, Kodiak and Southeast. For Bristol Bay, the open season for king crab is June 1-January 31 with a daily limit possession of 6 (males only) and a minimum size of 6.5 inches. For Dungeness crab, the season is open year-round with a daily limit possession of 12 (males only) and a minimum size of 6.5 inches. For tanner crab, the season is open all year with a daily possession limit of 12 (males only) and a minimum size of 5.5 inches. Check your local region's crab fishing regulations at the Alaska Department of Fish & Game website for the most current information.
- You need a valid Alaska sport fishing license to fish for crab in the state. All anglers age 16 and above must have a sport fishing license to fish in the state's fresh and salt waters. Anglers under 16 and Alaska residents age 60 or older are not required to purchase sport fishing licenses.