California is a paradise for crabbing due to several reasons. In this article, we will explain when crab season is in California and what you should know about it.

When is crab season in California?

The crab season usually starts in mid-November and is available until the end of June on normal occasions. When it comes to 2022, that has been up to Mid-December (16th of December) and will be conducted up to July next year.

If you are looking for the highest Crab Yield in California, we recommend you go for November and December. Since December is the only month on the list, according to the official, we suggest you get into crabbing this December.

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Why has crab season been delayed this year?

When-Is-Crab-SeasonWe inquired the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and they told us that the Crab season had been delayed until the 16th of December. The reason why they took this decision was Whales being entangled in fishing gear.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife did this for the second time as they had happened to face several incidents in the California beach belt. According to resources, 14 whales have been entangled during this Winter due to fishing equipment. 

Also, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife mentioned that they would launch another inspection in December, and the review will be conducted on the 4th of December. If there are more Whale casualties, the thing will be difficult for crabbing even if they allowed crabbing. 

Crabbing Will be allowed, but..

Even if they allow crabbing, that will be conducted under extreme supervision by the authorities. However, there will not be any limitations yet. After reviewing, there will be more news for sure. As soon as we know, we will let you know about them. 

If you are a crabber, then crabbing season will not b the only thing you must know, but there are several more things you should know. In this article, we will explain where you should go crabbing in California, the rules and regulations you should follow, the types of crabs you may find, the equipment you must take, and some tips that you can follow.

Which crab species can I catch in California?

There are a few crab species that you can catch in the California crabbing season.

Dungeness Crab


The Dungeness crab is the most loved crab species in California. The most important thing is Crabbing season in California has been named after Dungeness crabs as it is also known as California Dungeness crabbing season. According to stats, more than 75% of crabbers get into crabbing in California due to the Dungeness crab. Since the Dungeness crabs have a higher market value and nutritional value along with their sweet taste, crabbers love catching them.

Dungeness crabs are available near sandy beaches. We inquired about several crabbers in California, and they mentioned that the carbs are vastly available on sandy-shore beaches. It makes them more available in Half Moon Bay and Tomales Bay north.

If you are looking at a busy schedule, then these two beaches will be just fine as it is filled with Dungeness crabs any time since the beach will also be good for swimming. 

If the boat is what you prefer, I saw that crabbers had preferred Half Moon Bay north for having Dungeness carbs. Since Rockfish and other fish species are viable, you will have a higher yield with seafood. 

Do you know how to keep Dungeness crabs alive? This article will help you

How to do crabbing with equipment in Californian crabbing season?

The most used equipment for crabbing is the crab snares. You will be able to purchase them from local stores. If you are specific for crabbing, then you will be able to use a hoop net. 

How to keep a Dungeness crab alive after crabbing in California?

The most used method to keep a crab is to keep them in a freshwater bucket. You will be able to keep a few in a 20l water bucket. Also, you must make sure they are oxygenated throughout the whole time. Wet towels, cool boxes, and a pool of salt water will be other choices you may take. 

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Graceful rock crab

You will find another name for this crab Metacarcinus gracilis. It is a slender crab that you may find in California. The thin and oval-shaped body are the main characteristics that you may find it. There are two types of carbs that have whitened claw tips, and they are the Dungeness crab and the Graceful Rock crab.

Their Look

Although they look like juvenile Dungeness carbs, they are not. If you have a look at the body shape, you will see it. One of their main characteristics is not being harmful. Although they have aggressive behavior, they don’t have claws as sharp as Dungeness crabs. 


We found that these carbs are found as deep as 150m in the deep ocean. Their slender body has adapted to such conditions. When it comes to crab season in California, you will find them in a shallow sea. The sandy and muddy places are their natural habitat. Although the Graceful Rick carbs are found in bays, they will be only in Season.

If you intend to use a boat to find the crabs, you will not have a good chance of catching them. The reason is they can easily escape and not be trapped by the snares. Hoop nets are the most used way to catch these Rock crabs. But, you will be able to use crab snares in shallow water.

Note: We inquired about the idea of some professional crabbers to get an idea about catching these Rock crabs. They mentioned that it is best to release these cards if you catch them. Since the flesh percentage is less than other carbs and they have low market demand, you will not get from the rock crabs.

Yellow Crab


Among the most common crabs in California, the yellow crab or the Yellow rock crab is a crucial one. Just like the Rick crab, they have an oval-shaped body. What makes them unique is their body color, which is yellow. Also, they have harder shells which own a higher amount of the body weight. I saw that your carbs are less yellowish and darker than adult crabs.

The taste is the most specific factor about the Yellow crabs. We experienced a sweeter and milkier taste in their flesh. Even if you have legs and small flesh, they will be enough to deliver the tattoo. We found their bodies tend to break easily, which means you must catch them carefully.

Habitat of Yellow Crab

When it comes to the habitat, they used to be in 150ft of water. Also, the sand water bodies are their favorite habitat. If you are a marvel in California, you must know that the areas are rocky and the Yellow crabs find friends for their habitat. We found more Yellow crabs in the bay areas in California. Also, we heard from Crabbers that the yellow crabs are sloughs and estuaries as well. If you want the yellow cabs, you must look for them in Northern California, which asks you to drive to Bahía Magdelena, Humboldt Bay, and Baja California to get more yellow crabs. 

Since these yellow crabs are more available on shallow shores, you may use crab nets to catch them. Even if the crab snares may be effective, you will have to put in some effort. Also, you will have to take your oat to several places around. 

Will yellow crabs be available in the crab season?

You must be careful when it is crab season in California, as Yellow crabs are only available in crab season.

Red Crab

Red Crabs is also a part of the California crab couture. The reddish carbs that have stripes in white are available in shallow shares. We could find them in cereal places such as San Francisco Bay, Humboldt Bay, Tomales Bay, Bodega Bay, and other shallow beach areas. 

According to professional crabbers, we heard that the Red Crab has high demand due to its red color. Although they have a sweet taste and a pleasant smell, the flesh amount is less than other crab species.

Among the crab species, the Red crab is the most commonly found. Although they have a higher flesh price, you will have to capture a lot of crabs to get that price. That will be a disadvantage.

Even if you manage to capture a lot, they will not be worth it as you should have spent your time catching some Dungeness crabs, which are high in price. But, we must remind you that you must catch at least a few of them without releasing them as you get recognition by these crabs as a pro. The rich color and the sorcery look they deliver will be something you must not miss.

Spider Crab


Despite its speedy shape, having a large car caught can be your expectation. The spider crab is the best match you have got for that. If you bother when it is crab season in California, then we assure you that you have a higher chance of catching a spider crab this Season. The same crab is known as sheep crab due to its algae covering that is used to cover its body. As a part of the survey, you will not see them easily, even in shallow water.  

If you are fond of crabs, then, there are several things to know about the Spider carbs. Having camouflage ability is crucial. A sheep crab has the amazing ability to change its shape. As juveniles, they close themselves into Algae, barnacles, sponges, and hydroids creatures. Other than that, Spider carbs have small bumps all over their bodies. That makes it difficult to be signed as well. If you don’t know when crab season is in California, you will not find any Spider crab as a sure fact. That is not just because they stay in deep water, but the main carbs become inactive. 

Note: We found out that male sheep crabs are large, and they can grow up to 11 inches. But, the female carbs just grow into 4 inches. 

Despite the unsatisfying green color, they hide a pleasant taste in their flesh. We asked several restaurants, and they mentioned that Spider crabs have a higher demand. Although the cleaning consumes time, the delicate taste and the thickened texture made their demand. 

If you want to catch them, you will have to search for the spider crabs in Newport Pier, Balboa Pier, Redondo Beach Pier, Santa Monica Pier, Port Hueneme Pier, Stearns Wharf, and the Santa Cruz Wharf. 

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Night Crabbing


Even if the daytime produces pure light for you. that will be more beneficial for the carbs. They get the same light to get away from you and hide in their natural resources. If you spend your time at night time trying for crabs, you will get a higher yield for sure. We recommend you go for Crab Snares for this, as nets may be less effective. 

You can keep them alive

Even if you work extremely hard and find over 100 crabs, you may keep them alive until you return home. All you have to do is to take the necessary containers for them. If you keep them in plastic containers, they will be able to stay alive for up to 24 hours. If you want to keep the crabs longer, ice and specific equipment will be necessary. 


There are several Crab species

As we have explained, there are several crab species you can find in New York. You will be able to save time by catching the crabs without being limited to one species. Also, we saw that there are other carbs species in New York, such as Kelp Crab, Northern Kelp Crab, California King Crab, Southern Kelp Crab, Decorator Crab, and many more. Since we are talking about the Crab Season, you will find all of them. 

Look in the bay Area

We asked several crabbers who have been in California for more than 20 years, and they confirmed that Bay Areas produce more than 60% of crab yield every year. The shallow beaches, deep sea, and your other choices together will produce below 40% crabs. Therefore, we recommend that you go into Bay Sears to catch some crabs. 

We found the following Equipment for California crab season. You will be able to get rid of the equipment searching trouble easily. 

Keep Eye on Rules and Regulations

There are several rules and regulations you must follow when crabbing in New York. First, you are not allowed to keep Egg-bearing crabs in the procession. Similarly to this, there are plenty of rules and regulations you must follow. I found the below article from the internet, which you may find useful. 

Don’t Grab Dead Crabs

Dead carbs have the risk of carrying diseases. If you see a crab that sided earlier, it is not advised to keep it in your container. Even if you see it dies, you must not take it and consume it as food. The reason is there can be carbs that have contamination. Since they can’t tolerate specific conditions such as damaged shells, you can’t risk your lives on a weak crab.

Blue Crabbing is worthless if you are a family man

Blue crabs are available on Californian shorelines not only in the Season but off-season. However, it is not recommended to do blue crabbing if you wish to serve it for your family. Blue crabs are not recommended for women below 50 and kids below 15. The contamination is the reason.


We have explained what you should know about the carbs season in California. Crabs, fishermen, online sources, and books were referred to when composing this article. If you have more questions, just feel free to contact us.

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