Crabbing season kicks off Oct. 13

Grab your crab pots and best bait concoction, recreational crabbing is returning to Whidbey Island next weekend.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the starting dates in a news release on Tuesday, with waters off Whidbey open for crabbing starting Saturday, Oct. 15. Recreational crabbing will be permitted seven days a week through Dec. 31.

Winter crab openings were approved by fishery managers after the department’s summer catch assessments showed more crab are available for harvest, Rich Childers, shellfish manager for the department said.

The daily catch limit for crabbers is five male Dungeness crab, with hard-shell intact and a minimum carapace width of six and a quarter inches. Anglers may also catch six red rock crab of either sex per day as long as they are five inches across.

All Dungeness crab caught once the season opens must be recorded on winter catch cards. Catch cards are free to those with crab endorsements, and are available at license vendors. They are due to the department of fish and wildlife by Feb. 1, 2017.

For more information about catch requirements, visit the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/.