This week, we visit the coast on an adventure that may leave you feeling a little “crabby” but that’s a good thing because he takes us to “Crabbing Class 101.”
When you try something new, it pays to go with the pros! That’s what more than thirty newcomers recently discovered when they signed up for the ODFW’S “Crab Class,” a course from the agency’s menu of adventures called Outdoor Skills.
Instructors, biologists and volunteers teach and assist students in the varied Outdoor Skills courses. Crabbing is a popular recreation that requires some skill and knowledge, so the agency developed the daylong course to encourage participation. ODFW spokesperson and instructor, Mark Newell, said that the students get all of the gear and assistance that they might need for a day of fun and excitement at Yaquina Bay in Newport.
The students kick off the affair at the South Beach State Park Activity Center, just south of Newport.. The session was followed by a short drive to Yaquina Bay Marina where the hands on action began. The first order of business was how to place the bait inside the crab trap or rings. The bait of choice for the day’s adventure: chicken! Once the students were comfortable with the gear, it was time to toss the traps from atop Yaquina Bay Pier that juts hundreds of yards into the bay. The pier is open to fishing and crabbing anytime.
Students learned how to measure a crab to make certain it’s legal (only 12 male Dungeness crabs are allowed and they must be 5 ¾ inches across the back) and how to tell the difference between the two species of crab that are present in Yaquina Bay: Dungeness Crabs and Red Rock Crabs. The traps are checked, the crabs were counted and then it was time to cook. It was a fine way to round out the day’s adventure.
Each student in the class must purchase an Oregon Shellfish License. The course costs $40 for adults, $10 for kids under 18. Students are provided with instruction, plus all of the gear including bait, traps and PFDs.
Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Thursdays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network.
About the Author: Grant McOmie
Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.