2011 Puget Sound Crabbing

Salmon Addict

Newbie
Feb 5, 2011
378
23
18
Area 7 San Juans
Name
Matt
Boat
20' Alumaweld Blackhawk
Well its nice to see we all can go crabbing on Sunday again! Thursday through Monday a lot better than it used to be. Now the average working person can get out a little more often. Hats off to our fishing advocates.

Well I'm still ticked about the late opening AGAIN for sport crabbing on July 15 for area 7 south. And the late August 15 start area 7 North & East. It would be nice to have some crabs for dinner on the 4th of July like everyone else. At least we can keep a native Chinook then I guess I can't bitch to much right!
Anyways how do all you folks feel?
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BugeaterInWa

Fear the Corn
Aug 10, 2008
4,469
1,567
113
Kitsap WA
Name
Matt
Boat
Boulton
Glad ya like that... have ya submitted the new voter voice for the latest issue? See the main Washington board for info. LOTS of us submitted the voter voice for the crab and looky what happened!
 

Pete1313

Newbie
Apr 8, 2010
489
1
18
Bellingham, WA
Name
Pete
Boat
"Tiburon" Osprey Pilothouse 30'
I'm happy we get more days, that's for sure. However, I am a bit miffed on a couple fronts. I can't believe they didn't open 7S and 7E for the 4th of July. That is just stupid.

The crab policy everyone fought for so hard was not fully adopted in the formal rule making process as far as I can tell. From what I read, the crab policy adopted was to have a mandatory winter season, especially up north. The WAC (washington administrative code) that was adopted doesn't comment on the winter season at all, and the news release from WDFW on the issue says the winter season will be evaluated as it always has been-- after catch numbers are counted.

My guess is with the extra day every week through the season, WDFW estimates and crab counts will magically reach quota, and wipe out a winter season in MA7 like in the past.

BUT....I won't bitch too much because I'm happy about sunday crabbing...big time!!!
 

Fish_kid

The Right Angler
Aug 23, 2010
1,142
378
83
Kirkland/WA
Name
Tom
Boat
Parker 2120 "F-14"
The late openers in MA7 are due to the crabs still being more soft shells up there until later in the year... According to the numbers I saw from the Department, MA7 has the highest crab population and allowable harvest.
 

Quan

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 21, 2009
1,348
616
113
Bellingham, WA
Name
Quan
Boat
Defiance Admiral 220 EX "Hawksbeard"
The late openers in MA7 are due to the crabs still being more soft shells up there until later in the year... According to the numbers I saw from the Department, MA7 has the highest crab population and allowable harvest.
I have heard the same. I remember a few years (4 or 5?) back when we did have a July 4th opener, I think I recall them saying they were "opening early" because they tested enough hard shell crab.

I know when I crab in the middle of July up here, I sure am throwing back a lot of softies and later in the season, hardly any... so it makes sense to me.
 

Pete1313

Newbie
Apr 8, 2010
489
1
18
Bellingham, WA
Name
Pete
Boat
"Tiburon" Osprey Pilothouse 30'
IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION....since I posted earlier on this, I re-read the WDFW press release, which has scared the shit out of me, since I'm in Bellingham (read: 7E). Here's what the press release says:

"The exception is Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands), where crab seasons will open later in the season to protect soft-shell crab. Sport crab fisheries in the southern portion of Marine Area 7 will run from July 15 through Sept. 30. In the northern and eastern portions of Marine Area 7 the sport crab fishery will be open from Aug. 15 through Sept. 30."

Here's the whole thing: Commission approves new fishing seasons for Lake Sutherland game fish, Puget Sound crab | WDFW News Release

SO - this says that 7N AND 7E (bellingham bay) are not open until August 15th. WTF:2gunsfiring_v1::2gunsfiring_v1:?????? 7N has always had a late opening but 7E has routelinely opened on July 15th.....

SO...after some investigation, I believe the press release is wrong. The actual WAC that was adopted gets rid of 7E, and only splits 7 into 2 areas...basically north and south. Here is a link to the agenda packet for the meeting, which includes a strikethrough of the new rule.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2011/02/feb0511_08_ps_crab.pdf

Now, I wasn't at this meeting. I think it is legally possible that at the meeting/public hearing, the Commission changed the language of the proposed WAC. However, from what I have learned, I don't think that happened (but if anyone was there, please speak up).

I called the numbers on the WDFW press release and spoke with some folks who were very confused about the situation. They told me that the press release did not reflect what they thought was supposed to have happened. The guy said to me, "we're trying to figure that out. Give us another day."

So, I tried to make some other calls, but have just ended up with voicemails or no answer at all.

Anyhow - this affects me, since I do most my crabbing in 7E and crabbing in July is something my family and I really look forward to. I sure as hell hope that the August 15th opener for 7E is wrong.....

I'll post any update I learn.
 

Salmon Addict

Newbie
Feb 5, 2011
378
23
18
Area 7 San Juans
Name
Matt
Boat
20' Alumaweld Blackhawk
You got to be kidding me! Soft shelled crab July 1st? Did anyone fish the Bellingham PSE derby the second week in July? Did you remember all of those crabpots the commercials had out when it was closed for the sporty's. Bellingham Bay ,Eliza island all the way to point Migley was carpet bombed those first two weeks when it was closed. Do you think they would let the commercials crab if the majority were soft. I'm not buying the soft crab reason when it opened last year on a Wed. after work I went out with a friend with four pots and had two limit in the first two pots in about an hour. Nice big hard shelled crab.

I feel like the issue in marine 7 is still allocation . There are still a lot of fingers in the cookie jar. Hey commercial crabbing is a honest living I see those guys out all the time trying to make a living we got to respect that. But I still feel like we really didn't get a much bigger slice of crab pie. But its a start in the right direction and I'm happy to see this!


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Pete1313

Newbie
Apr 8, 2010
489
1
18
Bellingham, WA
Name
Pete
Boat
"Tiburon" Osprey Pilothouse 30'
I think the softie issue is a bit overstated by WDFW....although I've had a few softies in July come out of B'ham bay and Eliza...not alot though.

I"m not sure I buy the softie further north that much either, because Sucia is open as part of 7 South and didn't pull up one softie in July....
 

rkcarguy

Member
Dec 4, 2009
1,512
6
38
North Puget Sound
Name
Ryan
Boat
4' more baylitter than JohnVH
I crabbed 7N three times last year and had ONE softee, and it was marginal at that. Just like measuring a ling cod before you spear it it's not that easy to check like the rule book says!
Hope the August thing is a mistake that's a LATE opener if not.
 

Quan

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 21, 2009
1,348
616
113
Bellingham, WA
Name
Quan
Boat
Defiance Admiral 220 EX "Hawksbeard"
Huh, well, I crabbed MA7 an average of probably 2-3 times PER WEEK all season for the past 5 or 6 years, usually with 3-4 limits on the boat... so I have a much larger sample for investigative purposes.

Anyway, I notice often in the first couple opening weeks, there are much more "softer" shelled crab. I notice not only because I want to stay legal but also because I was taught as a kid that the harder the shell, the firmer and more "full" the meat is in the crab (Makes sense to me, they have a longer time post-molt to get their muscles strong again). So when I pull up a pot with 8+ keepers in it (My record is 18 keepers in one pot!), I make sure to keep the hardest shelled ones out of the bunch. You can also tell because their shells are usually more translucent too. Anyway, like I said earlier, I just notice more "softer" shelled crab, especially in the early season, so I could see some merit to the claim.

I also agree that I hate that the tribes are out there crabbing a few weeks before us often. That kind of nullifies everything I just said above.

And lastly, I, too, hope that the MA7E opener really doesn't get pushed to August. That would suck. I also have family/friend annual outings already planned for crabbing in the month of July.
 
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Pete1313

Newbie
Apr 8, 2010
489
1
18
Bellingham, WA
Name
Pete
Boat
"Tiburon" Osprey Pilothouse 30'
CONFIRMED: JULY 15 OPENER for the former 7E crab area. Press release was wrong.

Just got a call back from Susan Galloway, the contact person listed on the WDFW press release.

She confirmed that the press release is mistaken to include 7E (bellingham bay and south) in the August 15 opener, which only applies to 7N. She said that my reading of the new WAC was correct, in that there is no longer a "7 East" designation for the Bellingham Bay/SE area. MA7 is now split up into only 2 areas, with the same north/south boundary as before. 7E is part of the old 7S.

WDFW will be issuing a corrected release and post new maps and info on the web showing this change.
 

rkcarguy

Member
Dec 4, 2009
1,512
6
38
North Puget Sound
Name
Ryan
Boat
4' more baylitter than JohnVH
That's better. No MA7 crab until mid august would have sucked.
 

rkcarguy

Member
Dec 4, 2009
1,512
6
38
North Puget Sound
Name
Ryan
Boat
4' more baylitter than JohnVH
Huh, well, I crabbed MA7 an average of probably 2-3 times PER WEEK all season for the past 5 or 6 years, usually with 3-4 limits on the boat... so I have a much larger sample for investigative purposes.

Anyway, I notice often in the first couple opening weeks, there are much more "softer" shelled crab. I notice not only because I want to stay legal but also because I was taught as a kid that the harder the shell, the firmer and more "full" the meat is in the crab (Makes sense to me, they have a longer time post-molt to get their muscles strong again). So when I pull up a pot with 8+ keepers in it (My record is 18 keepers in one pot!), I make sure to keep the hardest shelled ones out of the bunch. You can also tell because their shells are usually more translucent too. Anyway, like I said earlier, I just notice more "softer" shelled crab, especially in the early season, so I could see some merit to the claim.

I also agree that I hate that the tribes are out there crabbing a few weeks before us often. That kind of nullifies everything I just said above.

And lastly, I, too, hope that the MA7E opener really doesn't get pushed to August. That would suck. I also have family/friend annual outings already planned for crabbing in the month of July.
7N didn't open until later last year, so that makes sense that we didn't run into many soft shell. Sadly many of our opportunities come after the commies and indians have gotten their share....I think crab is probably one of the least affected by this by comparison.
We noticed the softee was more bright white than the other keepers...maybe a little translucent like you noticed.
 
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Salmon Addict

Newbie
Feb 5, 2011
378
23
18
Area 7 San Juans
Name
Matt
Boat
20' Alumaweld Blackhawk
Yeah thanks pete1313 for the update and homework!
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