Tag Archives: Puget Sound


Jeff Head Chinook July 27

We worked hard all morning at Point No Point, worked our gear along the outside of the moochers right at the Point and westbound towards Skunk Bay, but didn’t really see much happening. We tagged a beautiful Wild Chinook and released it, but nothing for the fish box.

On the way back in we spotted a really fishy looking tide rip. There were birds diving on bait so it appeared to be a good spot to stop for a bit. Five minutes into the troll, we hooked a really hefty Chinook that bit a Cookies & Cream Spoon at 125′. What a way to wrap up the morning trip!


Kingston & President Point Salmon Report July 17

We had a decent morning bite along the shoreline between the Kingston Ferry Dock and President Point this morning. The tide was outgoing until the 9am tide change, we trolled in 125′ of water with our gear spread out at 60′, 75′, 90′ and 110′.

We ended up with two nice Chinook and two Coho before the morning tide change, then moved up into the Kingston Bowl and lost our third Chinook. Fishing for most was a little challenging, but we were marking plenty of bait and fish, so we rode it out through the early afternoon. With a blue sky and plenty of summer sunshine illuminating the water column, we ran gear that was low profile and conducive to the conditions. We ran clear UV flashers (Jelly Crush and Moon Jelly), and behind for the lure we ran small Kingfisher Spoons or Ace Hi Flies or small while herring rigged to spin.

Fishing reports for the area weren’t that hot, so we felt very fortunate to get the salmon opportunities that we encountered.

We also ended up with a haul of Dungeness Crab to top off our day!



Seattle Chinook Salmon Fishing

Puget Sound Chinook Fishing Report July 16

Today was the first day to catch and keep Chinook Salmon in Puget Sound, what an exciting day! We had a pretty thrilling day on the water, we moved around to a few of my favorite spots and found a little action. There was an incoming tide in the morning with the tide change happening right at 8am. We cruised up to the lighthouse at Point No Point and made the southbound troll to Pilot Point. My expectations were high for opening day, but I saw very little action among the boats in the area. We did hook up to a healthy Chinook. The rod started to shake violently in the holder, Mitch popped the line out of the downrigger release clip, handed it to a guest, but it shook the hook mid-fight. Hooked up on a Cookies & Cream 3.5″ Kingfisher Spoon behind a Jelly Crush Flasher. We didn’t give the area much time before heading over to Possession’s West Bar.

We started fishing south of the Scatchet Buoy, hooked another Chinook but just as the first one, it didn’t make it to the boat. Reports from a few friendly faces in nearby boats were dismal, so dismal that not only did I feel lucky to get a hookup there, but also gave me the inclination that if we stayed, we probably wouldn’t put too many fish into the net. So we made our final move.

After the tide change, we moved south to Kingston to finish up our day. There were quite a few boats working the area between the ferry route and Apple Cove Point, and we joined the fray to try our luck. We deployed our gear and instantly hooked a Chinook! With a little coaching, a patient angler on the rod, and a good net job, we had our first Chinook in the boat for the Puget Sound summer season! We altered our gear a little, and had a spread of four lines with flashers and whole-rigged herring, Kingfisher Spoons and Ace-Hi Flies. We found a flurry of activity for the next hour. The tide change to outgoing really made the fish in the Kingston area turn on, and we saw numerous salmon get caught on the troll and by those mooching. When it was all said and done we had hooked a total of five Chinook at Kingston and landed three. After dropping off the morning crew and returning to Kingston with our afternoon group, we picked up on the tail end of the bite and hooked another three, of those two went in the net, one was a Wild Chinook that was carefully released, the other was a Hatchery Chinook that was kept.

The final count for our boat during the Puget Sound Chinook opener was ten confirmed Chinook hooked & fought, four Hatchery Chinook kept, one Wild Chinook released… a stellar day for our crew!




Seattle Salmon Fishing Report July 14

Although the large returns of ocean Chinook and Coho wait until mid-summer to return to the Puget Sound, there is a healthy number of resident Coho and Chinook swimming around Possession Bar, Kingston and Jeff Head. There are always a few mature Chinook that return from their open-ocean feeding frenzy a little early and will be caught and released. Puget Sound’s tidal flows push the herring up into the tide rips, and that is exactly where the salmon stack up to feed.

The first two week’s worth of fishing for Resident Coho has been a little challenging in the Central Puget Sound. Small tidal exchanges during the first week really made searching for a concentration of bait and salmon difficult. We focused on catching Coho for our guests, but did spend a little time scouting for Chinook, which we found with regularity around Jeff Head and Kingston (some large mature Chinook and plenty of smaller blackmouth). Most of the charters that fished the early weeks of July spent their time working the shipping lanes for shallow Coho. We fished the south side of Jeff Head most days, trolling with herring or lures behind chrome dodgers. Size 0 dodgers, 20”-22” 30 pound leader, trailed by 2”-3” Silver Horde Kingfisher Spoons, Ace Hi Needlefish Flies, Gold Star Mini Squid, or small firecracker herring rigged in an anchovy helmet. Most of the Coho that we came across were three to six pounds. It seemed to be an early morning bite for most, but we also picked up a few salmon later in the day as well. I received several really good reports from friends that were focusing on Catch & Release Chinook fishing, catching a few nice fish at Mid Channel, Posession Bar and Kingston. We came across a few nice Chinook at Kingston and Jeff Head, even though we spent very little time overall targeting them.

During our last few days of Coho fishing, the tidal exchange was great enough to really build some nice tide rips around the south side of Jeff Head. One morning I cruised up to find several charter boats working a line, so I scooted over to find a textbook rip, the tide rip that I had been searching for all week! All the grass and debris was pushed into a tight line in the flat water. On the outer edge was a wide stretch of choppy water clear of eelgrass. Small herring were jumping everywhere and the gulls were actively circling and diving. Like I said, textbook. We started our troll and quickly picked up a few fish. Two younger guys in a small Boston Whaler quickly limited on Coho; they were mooching herring tight to the rip. We worked the rip and were rewarded with six fish on and three fish to the boat. Fishing for a few days was consistently good, and we caught fish during every trip. Really enjoyed the early season, but I am looking forward to keeping a few Chinook once the Sound opens for retention on July 16. Best of luck out there everyone!

We are just wrapping up the first two weeks of our Seattle salmon fishing season, so I figured that it was high time for a quick fishing report. Marine Area 10 has been open for Coho Salmon fishing since the first of July, and even though our Chinook fishing season begins on July 16, we have been finding a few big ones to battle and release. The early season (July 1 thru 15) is an interesting time to fish the Puget Sound near Seattle, and it has its highlights and its challenges. Here is a quick shakedown.


Seattle Crabbing Report July 5

As the locals say, our Seattle summer always officially begins on July 5, because it always rains on the Fourth. For us Puget Sounders, its our way of poking fun at the misfortune we all have when it comes to the weather; April showers brings May…. Showers, then we enjoy a little June gloom, but the day after we get rained out during our Independence Day celebrations… Then summer unofficially begins.

I, on the contrary, consider the opening day of crabbing on the Puget Sound to be the official kick off to MY Seattle summer. Thursday was the day!

We have set and pulled four pots just outside the Shilshole Bay Marina breakwater on Thursday and Friday. Results were mixed. My go to zone is 65′ to 80′ around the Ballard zone, that is where I have always done well and that is where we focused this week. I found a keeper or two per pot on the northern breakwater, and two or three keepers per pot on the southern end near the ship canal channel markers, which I was happy with.

Plenty of folks in all manner of watercraft were pulling pots in the area as well, many were doing poorly but I think almost everyone found at least a couple.

We moved over to Bainbridge today and found the mother load! It was common to find three to five keepers per pot, so we reached our boat limit quickly. The eastern side of Bainbridge doesn’t get fished as hard as the areas
close to Ballard due to the close proximity to the marina and boat launch. We alternated baiting with raw chicken, salmon carcasses and flounder. It didn’t seem to matter, all baits produced about the same. On average we kept about eight or ten crab per mornin g or afternoon outing! Lots of happy faces on our boat these past few days!




Puget Sound Dungeness Crab Season 2014

The sweet taste of freshly caught Dungeness Crab is one of the uniquely Northwest experiences that help define our region. And guess what? The Puget Sound Crab Season is going to open here on July 3. Puget Sound is Seattle’s summer playground, it is where thousands of us go to, or yearn to be, when we wish to escape the grind that is everyday life. And while our metropolitan fishery seems to be getting ever more popular each year, recent test fisheries show that the bounty of Dungeness Crab in Puget Sound is as healthy and plentiful as ever.

Crab Season Basics

All marine areas of the Puget Sound share some basic regulations.

  • Daily Limit for Dungeness Crab: 5 Males Only. Hardshell. Min. carapace 6.25″
  • Daily Limit for Red Rock Crab: 6 Male or Female. Hardshell. Min. carapace 5″
  • No Pulling or Setting Gear: 1 Hour after official sunset to 1 Hour before official sunrise.
  • Puget Sound Crab Catch Card required. Must fill out immediately after retaining crab.
  • 2 Pots/Rings per licensed person.

Puget Sound Crabbing 2014

The vast majority of crabbing effort occurs in Central Puget Sound, North Puget Sound and the Hood Canal. Catches close to Seattle, Everett and Tacoma can be excellent early in the season but limits of Dungeness can become a little more difficult to find later in the summer.
[table caption=”Puget Sound Dungeness Crab Season 2014″ width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
colalign=”left|center|center|center|center “]
Location,Marine Area,Season,Open,Closed
Sekiu,MA 5,July 3 thru Sept 1,Thurs – Mon,Tues & Wed
East Straits,MA 6,July 3 thru Sept 1,Thurs – Mon,Tues & Wed
Deception Pass,MA 8-1,July 3 thru Sept 1,Thurs – Mon,Tues & Wed
Port Gardner,MA 8-2,July 3 thru Sept 1,Thurs – Mon,Tues & Wed
Admiralty Inlet,MA 9,July 3 thru Sept 1,Thurs – Mon,Tues & Wed
Seattle,MA 10,July 3 thru Sept 1,Thurs – Mon,Tues & Wed
Tacoma,MA 11,July 3 thru Sept 1,Thurs – Mon,Tues & Wed
Hood Canal,MA 12,July 3 thru Sept 1,Thurs – Mon,Tues & Wed

San Juan Islands & Bellingham Crabbing 2014

The southern extent of Marine Area 7, including most of the San Juan Islands and the Bellingham area, is a popular area to plan a summer getaway. One of the main reasons that this area has a later opening date is due to the condition of the crab in the area. When Dungeness Crab start to molt, their shells are soft and the quality of the crab meat is lower. Typically, crabbing is only allowed after the majority of crab in the area molt and return to their hardshell condition, and the further north you go… the later in the summer that occurs.
[table caption=”San Juan Islands South Crab Season 2014″ width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
colalign=”left|center|center|center|center “]
Location,Marine Area,Season,Open,Closed
San Juans & Bellingham,MA 7S,July 17 thru Sept 29,Thurs – Mon,Tues & Wed

Strait of Georgia Crabbing 2014

This is one of Western Washington’s more remote areas, with scattered islands that are dotted with seasonal cabins and beach homes. Crabbing can be excellent in this area but the season is short.
[table caption=”San Juan Islands North Crab Season 2014″ width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
colalign=”left|center|center|center|center “]
Location,Marine Area,Season,Open,Closed
Gulf of Georgia,MA 7N,Aug 15 thru Sept 29,Thurs – Mon,Tues & Wed

South Puget Sound Crabbing 2014

Crabbers in Puget Sound’s southern extent get a season that is a month longer than other areas. Angler effort in the Deep South Sound isn’t that great, and since Dungeness Crab can be found in hardshell condition early on, crabbing opens on June 1. The Dungeness Crab may seem to be less abundant here than in other parts of the Sound, but local crabbers seem to do just fine.
[table caption=”South Puget Sound Crab Season 2014″ width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
colalign=”left|center|center|center|center “]
Location,Marine Area,Season,Open,Closed
Deep South Sound,MA 13,June 1 thru Sept 1,7 Days a Week,-


Possession Bar Lingcod Report May 22

Today I helped out Captain Randy with Northwest Fishing Charters on a Lingcod trip. We had phenomenal weather and great fishing at Possession Bar. I have never fished with Randy before, and was excited to finally get the opportunity. He has been running a charter business on Puget Sound longer than I have been fishing, so I was very interested in getting to fish with a veteran Lingcod angler. We had a great group on the boat, a family from Maryland that wanted to experience what local Seattle area fishing has to offer.

Randy operates a Uniflite Salty Dog named the Dom Perignon which is moored at the Everett Marina. We met a little early to rig rods and get a game plan together. While we each consider ourselves decent fishermen, we hashed out our strategy for the day. Steve, Lauren, Ben and Sam met us at the dock at 7am and we were off.

We issued fishing licenses and headed over to Hat Island to catch a day’s worth of live bait. Randy had a really efficient way to fill the live-well. He rigged up a double dropper setup with small barbless baitholder hooks and tipped them with a small chunk of Octopus (which was great bait, it caught fish and was extremely durable). We set up a drift in about seventy five feet off the Southeast edge of the island. It didn’t take long before we had a dozen small Sand Dabs in the livewell and were off to find our guests some Lingcod.

We cruised south to Possession Bar under bluebird skies, everyone soaked in the beautiful view. Mount Baker was visible to the north, Rainier loomed over Seattle to the south. A perfect day to show off our neighborhood to visitors. We had an incoming tide throughout the morning with a very small exchange of about 4 feet. When drift fishing for Lingcod, a small exchange is nice because it allows the captain to easily back the boat up to keep the lines at a vertical angle but still cover ground, so to speak.

Our first few drifts at Possession weren’t anything to write home about, in fact they were downright disappointing. We hooked a couple anenomes and even one that was affixed to a beer bottle. As of the first hour, our guests would’ve had a great we didn’t catch anything except a beer bottle! story to share… and those don’t look too good on Yelp! We kept at it. Our drifts were perfect, and we had the boat positioned over some great bottom structure. Our sonar screen image showed off small rockpiles and depressions, even a few fish hunkered on the bottom. We knew we would eventually get em!

As the saying goes, when it rains it pours, and soon our luck would drastically change. As we drifted over some fishy-looking structure, one of our rods doubled over. It was a classic live-bait takedown. A few short throbs, then a steady load of the rod. Fish on! Steve grabbed the rod to battle our first fish of the day and wham! The rod on the other side of the boat doubled over in the rod holder! We fought both and landed one, a nice 27 inch keeper. We made quite a few more drifts and hooked one after another. Steve had his keeper in the fish box and I had just netted Sam’s first Lingcod, both were nice fish, but what happened next was the highlight of our day.

Ben was up next. As his rod folded over, I grabbed it and reeled down on a hefty fish before the handoff. A true monster was on the end of Ben’s line! Line ripped off the reel as the fish headed straight back to the bottom. He battled it for a while, and all the while keeping his composure. Not once did he offer the fish any slack, nor did he horse it in. He fought the good fight. And as I dipped the net underneath the biggest Lingcod I have ever seen in Puget Sound, we all cheered! We boated it to get a quick measurement; the beast taped out at 45 inches long. I have released a big 42 inch fish at Foulweather once, but this one appeared as if it could’ve eaten that dink! We snapped two quick photos of it before reviving and releasing it. It is my belief that these large fish deserve the protection that they are given, and I always tail them in the water until they are ready to swim away on their own, this one took a minute to revive but swam away to live another day. What a thrilling experience!

As the day came to a close, we battled and lost a few other Lingcod. Those buggers can come unlatched pretty easily when fishing with live bait. Just as Randy gave the call to reel up the gear for the return to port, Lauren grabbed her rod and got hammered by a fish!

“I think there’s something big down there!”

She had a little bit of a tough time with the rod, so I gripped the butt of the rod to give it a little stability while she cranked. She was excited but calm and steadily cranked it all the way to the surface… Lift, Scoop, Net in the boat, our third keeper taped out at 34”. Randy and I were pretty darned excited that everyone on the boat was able to battle a Ling to the net.

All in all we had about a dozen opportunities, of which we experienced three double-headers (which really goes to show that when you find the structure that Lingcod like, you can find quite a few fish in a small area). We ended up with three very nice keeper Lingcod: 27”, 28” and a 34”. The monster Ling that we released really capped off the day and made it special for all of us.



Washington Halibut Seasons 2014

Here in Washington, there are few fish that draw more attention than the Pacific Halibut. Even as I try and stumble through writing this synopsis of the 2014 Washington Season, memories of the Barndoor Halibut we’ve landed, memories of incredibly fast-paced fishing, memories of almost getting pulled in by a just-harpooned-trophy, all those memories of great fishing days and the tonnage of fillets we brought back gets me too excited to focus. There is always a huge amount of excitement and anticipation geared around the upcoming Halibut seasons. This year we should see a great season, both on the Washington Coast and inside the Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Here is a basic rundown on this year’s seasons and quotas, as always please refer to the Washington Fishing Regulation Pamphlet along with the Official Halibut Season Press Release and the Washington Halibut Reports for every detail.

[table caption=”Coastal Halibut Season 2014″ width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
colalign=”left|left|left “]
Marine Area,Season,Days
MA1 Columbia River (all depths),May 1 until quota (or Sept 30),Thursdays-Sundays Only
MA1 Columbia River (nearshore),May 5 until quota (or Sept 30),Mondays-Wednesdays Only
MA2: Westport (all depths),May 4 until quota,Sundays & Tuesdays Only (Except closed May 25 & 27). Might re-open June 1/3 if quota remains
MA2: Westport (north inside 30 fathoms),May 4 until sub-quota, 7 days a week
MA3: La Push,May 15 until quota,Thursdays & Sundays Only thru May 24 (or quota). Closed May 29-31. Might re-open June 5/7 if quota remains
MA4: Neah Bay,May 15 until quota,Thursdays & Sundays Only thru May 24 (or quota). Closed May 29-31. Might re-open June 5/7 if quota remains.

[table caption=”Puget Sound Halibut Season 2014″ width=”500″ colwidth=”100”
colalign=”left|left|left “]
Marine Area,Season,Days
MA5: Sekiu,May 22-June7,May 22-May 25 Thursday-Saturday Only; May 29-31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only*
MA6: East Straits,May 9-June 7,May 9-May 10 Friday & Saturday Only; May 17 Saturday Only; May 22-May 25 Thursday-Sunday Only; May 29-May 31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only
MA7: San Juan Islands,May 9-June 7,May 9-May 10 Friday & Saturday Only; May 17 Saturday Only; May 22-May 25 Thursday-Sunday Only; May 29-May 31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only
MA8-1: Skagit Bay,May 9-June 7,May 9-May 10 Friday & Saturday Only; May 17 Saturday Only; May 22-May 25 Thursday-Sunday Only; May 29-May 31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only
MA8-2: Everett,May 9-June 7,May 9-May 10 Friday & Saturday Only; May 17 Saturday Only; May 22-May 25 Thursday-Sunday Only; May 29-May 31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only
MA9: Admiralty Inlet,May 9-June 7,May 9-May 10 Friday & Saturday Only; May 17 Saturday Only; May 22-May 25 Thursday-Sunday Only; May 29-May 31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only
MA10: Seattle,May 9-June 7,May 9-May 10 Friday & Saturday Only; May 17 Saturday Only; May 22-May 25 Thursday-Sunday Only; May 29-May 31 Thursday-Saturday Only; June 7 Saturday Only


Ilwaco Halibut Season

Halibut anglers fishing from Ilwaco will have the longest halibut season in the state. The Marine Area 1 halibut quota isn’t usually reached, meaning that a season could potentially run through September 30. There is a clause in the quota arrangement that if 80% of the quota is reached early in the season, there will be a break to allow some dates later on in the season. At the very least, there is 20% of the quota saved for later in the season! There is also a nearshore halibut fishery at the mouth of the Columbia River that is available.

Westport Halibut Season

Westport hosts dozens of fishing charters that hit the offshore halibut grounds and are joined by many private boaters. Typically the majority of Westport’s fishing fleet heads out to fish along the Quinault, Grays and Guides Canyons way offshore where the halibut are plentiful. There is a nearshore halibut fishery in Marine Area 2 north of the entrance to Grays Harbor and inside of the 30 fathom mark (this inside fishery is mainly designed around allowing folks fishing for bottomfish to keep a halibut if they incidentally catch one). Don’t be surprised if the South Coast Quota is harvested within 5 to 6 days of fishing.

La Push & Neah Bay Halibut Season

Both Neah Bay and La Push are quiet coastal hamlets that become a hive of activity during the halibut seasons. Both harbors fill with boats, every hotel will be at capacity, and the fillet tables will be packed. While the North Coast is allotted 108,030 pounds for the recreational catch, this quota will usually be filled within 4 to 5 days of fishing.

Sekiu & Puget Sound Halibut Season

It seems that every year the Puget Sound halibut fishery becomes even more popular. An on-the-water survey of the angler effort on any day open to fishing will stun the Average Joe. While the Halibut seem to be spread out because there are just so many great fishing areas in the Eastern Straits and Admiraly Inlet, anglers find their fish. Once the annual quota is announced, it allows the state to create a set season which will stay open through June 7.

[table caption=”Washington Halibut Quotas 2014″ width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
colalign=”left|left|left “]
Marine Area,Season,Days
MA1: Columbia River (Early), 9516 pounds
MA1: Columbia River (Late), 2379 pounds
MA1: Columbia River (Nearshore), 2000 pounds
MA2: Westport (Total),42739 pounds
MA2: Westport (Primary),40739 pounds
MA2: Westport (Nearshore),2000 pounds
MA3-4: Neah Bay & La Push,108030 pounds
MA5-10: Puget Sound, 57393 pounds



Puget Sound Spot Shrimp Season 2014

Harvesting your own food is one of the great benefits of living in the Pacific Northwest. And for all of the seafood aficionados reading this, one of our region’s true delicacies is about to open for harvest. Fishing season for Spot Shrimp opens at the beginning of May. Here are the details.

Spot Shrimp in our inland marine areas are regulated on a quota system. The season is determined based on the health of the shrimp population and is split between tribal, non-tribal commercial and recreational users. Once the quota is set, potential user interest in the season is used to decide the number of days that we can fish in each marine area. Being such a sought-after shellfish, and being in such a heavily populated area where many folks enjoy boating and fishing, the seasons near Seattle, Tacoma and Everett are a mere few days.

Fish & Wildlife managers will assess the catch from the listed dates and decide whether to offer us an extended season. Get prepared early, take the day off of work, and go shrimping for a couple days!

For the full skinny from WDFW check out the OFFICIAL WDFW NEWS RELEASE

We will be launching a series of posts in the next month with tons of great information, tips & strategies that will help you catch more Spot Shrimp in Puget Sound this year!

Marine Area 8-1 Deception Pass, Saratoga Passage

Saturday May 3: 7am-3pm

Wednesday May 7: 7am-3pm

Marine Area 8-2 Port Susan, Everett, Mukilteo

Saturday May 3: 7am-3pm
Wednesday May 7: 7am-3pm

Marine Area 9 Admiralty Inlet, Possession Bar

Saturday May 3: 7am-3pm

Wednesday May 7: 7am-3pm

Marine Area 10 Seattle & Bremerton

Saturday May 3: 7am-3pm
Wednesday May 7: 7am-3pm

Marine Area 11 Tacoma & Vashon Island

Saturday May 3: 7am-3pm
Wednesday May 7: 7am-3pm
Saturday May 10: 7am-3pm
[table caption=”Everett Tides” width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
May 3,2:41am 6.1’L,7:37am 9.2’H,2:20pm -0.6’L,9:42pm 10.8’H
May 7,12:11am 10.2’H,7:06am 5.2’L,11:42am 7.1’H,5:41pm 2.6L
[table caption=”Seattle Tides” width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
May 3,2:42am 6.2’L,7:36am 9.5’H,2:21pm -0.6’L,9:41pm 11.1’H
May 7,12:10am 10.5’H,7:07am 5.2’L,11:41am 7.3’H,5:42pm 2.6L
[table caption=”Tacoma Tides” width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
May 3,2:45am 6.2’L,7:44am 10.0’H,2:27pm -0.7’L,9:43pm 11.6’H
May 7,12:14am 11.0’H,7:03am 5.4’L,11:48am 7.8’H,5:51pm 2.6’L
May 10,2:22am 11.1’H,9:11am 2.7’L,3:21pm 9.0’H,8:48pm 4.4’L


Puget Sound Crab Season 2013

Puget Sound’s 2013 summer crabbing season has just kicked off! Get in on some great summertime fun out on the Sound. Early reports are rolling in and crabbing in all areas of Puget Sound has been great! Here is a rough outline of the 2013 Puget Sound Crab Season, always consult the Washington Fishing Rules Pamphlet before heading out on the water… Good Luck out there folks!


Puget Sound Crab License

Anyone 15 years or older is required to possess a Washington State Shellfish License or Combination Fishing License. In addition, anyone fishing for Crab in Puget Sound is required to get a Puget Sound Crab Endorsement (regardless of age). All Dungeness Crab that are kept must be recorded on a Catch Record Card.

Crab Limits & Size in Puget Sound

The daily limit for crab in Puget Sound…

  • 5 Dungeness Crab (males only, hardshell condition only); Minimum Size is 6 ¼”
  • 6 Red Rock Crab (either males or females); Minimum Size is 5”

Puget Sound Crabbing Areas & Seasons

Marine Areas in Puget Sound (Marine Areas 8-1, 8-2, 9, 10, 11, 13) and Hood Canal (Marine Area 12) will be open for crabbing from July 1 (7am) through September 2.
San Juan Islands will open at a later date. Marine Area 7 South opens July 15 (7am); Marine Area 7 North opens August 15 (7am). San Juan Islands will remain open for crabbing until September 30.

When is Puget Sound Open for Crabbing?

Puget Sound crabbing is opened for crabbing Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays only.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

  • There are strict rules and guidelines for crabbing in Puget Sound, please use this page as a rough guide. Consult the official Washington Fishing Rules Pamphlet for all regulations & seasons.
  • There are strict rules on crab pot/trap/ring construction: please consult the Washington Fishing Rules Pamphlet
  • All crab gear must be removed from the water at the end of the weekly open days.
  • Crab gear can be left overnight only when the following day is open.
  • Crab Catch Record Card must be returned to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife at the end of the crabbing season.

Puget Sound Spot Shrimp

Catching Spot Shrimp in Puget Sound

Our Northwest waters provide us with arguably one of the most delectably succulent shellfish found anywhere. The Spot Shrimp thrive in our protected Sound, our expansive Straits, our San Juan Archipelago, and in the Pacific near the edge of the continental shelf. These large shrimp abound in the heavy tidal currents of our main waterways, and they are prized for their flavor. This coldwater species is called by many names: Alaska Spot Prawn, Sitka Spot Prawn, Puget Sound Spot Shrimp. They are even referred to as Puget Sound Lobster and while we must remember they are technically a shrimp, their larger size and sweet robust flavor makes the comparison understandable. Spot Shrimp average 3 to 6 inches, and with a generous limit of 80 Spot Shrimp per person here in Washington the time, effort and cost of becoming a shrimper is well worth it.

About Puget Sound Spot Shrimp

Spot Shrimp thrive in the depths of Puget Sound. While many shrimp species are found in shallow waters, Spot Shrimp live in deeper water. Most Puget Sound shrimpers will target Spot Shrimp at 200-350 feet. Spot Shrimp are the largest shrimp species in Puget Sound, with an average body length of three to five inches.


Shrimp Pots

There are numerous manufacturers of shrimp pots, from local garage operations to major importing companies. All recreational shrimp pots must meet WDFW shrimp gear requirements. I highly recommend purchasing a quality pot built by a local company, those that are based in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska or British Columbia will understand the unique challenges that we must face when we go shrimping. I would recommend pots made by Ladner, Beau Mac and McKay; all are located here and each offers a variety of great designs. Ladner offers a pot that has a rigid frame wrapped with a soft mesh net which can be loosened so that pots can be stacked one-inside-the-other like a stack of disposable coffee cups (Very convenient for storage on the boat). Due to the extreme depths that Spot Shrimp live at, weighing down pots so they aren’t swept away by the current is essential.

Many pots are lost each season due to being improperly rigged. It pays to understand the currents in your area. For example, while shrimpers in Edmonds or Mukilteo may be just fine with ten or fifteen pounds of weight, if you travel to shrimp in the heavy currents of the San Juan Islands, you will need at least double that to ensure your pots will not drift away. As the currents push at your lines, a pot can even slightly drag along the bottom, and shrimp will be less prone to enter. Pots should weigh 10 pounds to 30 pounds, depending on how severe the tidal movement and currents are in the area.


Most shrimpers use standard 1/4″ yellow poly rope (oyster rope). It is relatively inexpensive, and is available in 400 foot rolls. The disadvantage with yellow poly rope, it floats. In Puget Sound’s crowded shrimp fishery, floating slack line often ends up in boat propellers, or wrapped with other pots. It is important to use some form of line weight to limit these problems. As you tend the line as the pot drops into the deep, snap on a pound of lead to the poly line. While this will draw the excess line downward, the disadvantage is seen when using an electic winch, you will have to be vigilant and be prepared to remove the weight before it reaches your gavit block. Due to tidal fluctuations and currents, it is a good idea to have some excess rope, but 400′ of rope in 200′ of water is asking for trouble unless you use a leaded line.

A popular alternative to yellow poly rope is leaded line. Leaded line is more expensive but it is well worth the extra cost, it ensures that there isn’t any floating slack. Many Puget Sound veteran crabbers will take their leaded rope for crabbing, build loops at each end, and link it into longer stretches for shrimping.

Storing lines can be a challege, and keeping everything ship shape and organized is important. We use large laundry tubs (in pics) and designate someone to coil each line as the pot is pulled. A large garden hose reel can be a great way to store all of your lines. Just stap the top line to the first pot, and remember to snap in a buoy before throwing overboard! Multiple lines can be neatly wrapped on a reel if you can purchase one large enough.

Pot Pullers

Pulling shrimp pots by hand isn’t feasible by most people’s standards. With strict time constraints in Puget Sound and Hood Canal, managing one’s time leads to limits. There are many great electric and gas powered models on the market. Do a little research, find one that will mount easily to your boat, and you’re ready! If you cannot justify the cost of a power puller, at least look into purchasing a davit (a davit is an arched apparatus that you will see in several of these pictures, it is the metal arm that extends out past the gunnel and keeps the pot from scratching your boat, makes hand pulling easier as well)


Ask 10 veteran shrimper’s what their recipe for success is and likely you will get 10 veteran shrimpers who keep their hard-earned bait recipes a secret. But guaranteed they would all have something a little different soaking in their pots during opening day. The most common shrimp bait available is pellet baits, which resembles dog food. These baits leech out scent slowly, and would be great if we could soak our pots overnight, or for longer periods.

Since we in Puget Sound have only a few precious hours each day, creating a mixture that leeches out scent quickly is important. Blend up a mixture of pellet bait, mackerel, seafood flavored wet catfood to start…eventually every shrimper will have their own secret recipe.

Tending the Pots

Soak each pot for two or three hours, pull and repeat. Make sure not to crowd other pots, be respectful for your neighbors. Puget Sound and Hood Canal get extremely crowded on days when shrimping is open. Make sure your buoys are highly visible, and unique. Being able to recognize your buoys by special markings or flags will save time, and the potential for a lost pot. Each limit in Puget Sound must be kept in a separate container. It is easiest to sort as you go, this keeps the danger of overharvesting from being an issue.