Crabbing on Vancouver Island

Are you interested in shellfish harvesting? Crab fishing is catching crab using your own equipment and traps fresh from the water. Crabbing is popular on the mainland in Vancouver, but you can also try Vancouver Island crabbing for a more genuine experience.

What Kind of Crab Is on Vancouver Island?

Dungeness Crab

The Dungeness crab is one of the most popular dishes on BC seafood menus. The shell is purple-tinged on the front, grey or brown on the back, and the claw tips are usually white. The back of a Dungeness crab may measure up to 10 inches wide. The Dungeness crab loves sandy or muddy soils and is commonly linked with eelgrass beds. To know more about Dungeness crabbing, please check out our article in this regard.

Redrock Crab

Red Rock crabs are bright red in colour, with powerful black-tipped claws, and may grow to be 16 cm long. Red rock crab flesh is equally tasty as Dungeness crab meat, but the red rock crab's body meat is more difficult to remove. This is most likely why red rock is less common, despite its abundance in the waters of the US's Northwestern coast. To know more about Red Rock crabbing, check out our article.


The Crayfish has a united head and thorax, or middle, as well as a segmented body that is sandy yellow, green, white, pink, or dark brown, which is typical of most shrimp-like crustaceans. The majority of them have brief lives, generally less than two years. They're delicious and easy to find in our rivers and lakes. They have a rigid skeleton on the outside. To know more about Crayfish trips, please read our article.

Types of Crab Traps Used for Crabbing on Vancouver Island

The Best Crab Trap to Use for Crabbing on Vancouver Island

Crab Pot Cages

Most individuals who crab from a boat use pot traps, which are large cages with doors that trap the crab inside. These crab traps are ideal for boating since you can put them in and leave them for a few hours, then return to the boat and retrieve them. Though there are some merits and drawbacks to this crab trapping. You can leave them for hours and catch lots of crab per trap, which is good. However, they are expensive and easily get lost as they snag on the bottom. For a better experience, please read BC crabbing regulations we have prepared in the following sections.

Folding Crab Trap Nets:

The folding net traps are best used from a pier. These are little, light traps that you put into the water, wait 15 minutes, and then pick out to inspect! The quick turnaround makes crabbing more thrilling and dramatic, and they're really more effective than large pots. Though there are some merits and drawbacks to this crab trapping. They're not heavy, and therefore you can easily carry them around. These crabbing nets are cheap, and they make your crab fishing easier and faster. On the other hand, crabs go out as quickly as they walk in, so keep an eye on them and pluck them out on a frequent basis. If a seal or otter gets after your bait, these traps may also be ruined. For a better experience, please read BC crabbing regulations we have prepared in the following sections.

Crabbing Season on Vancouver Island

Crabbing season is when the crabs are most plentiful and meatiest, so you may do it any time of year; however, this is when you should capture them to optimize your catch. However, the best time for crabbing on Vancouver Island is October to January, when they are frequently at their biggest and numbers are at their peak following spawning. The commercial crabbing season begins on July 1st; therefore, crab fishing during this period is not recommended because most crabs will be small. What time of day Is best for crabbing on Vancouver Island? The optimum time to go crab harvesting is when there is slack water (also known as slack tide), which is the interval between high and low tide. Crabs won't be driven around by strong currents or waves during this period, so they'll be out foraging on the beach.

Where Is the Best Place for Crabbing on Vancouver Island?

If you're already asking, "Where are the best crab fishing spots near me," the good news is that Vanisle Fishers are here to answer that question. Now you know that crabbing is a year-round activity on Vancouver Island, meaning you can catch some crabs whenever you come to the island. The best places for crabbing on Vancouver Island are:

Fanny Bay Pier

Port McNeil and Clam Cove Beach Trail

James Island Pier Near Sidney

Port Renfrew Docks

Nanaimo Swy-a-lagoon Pier (Shore crabbing)

Victoria Sidney Pier (Shore crabbing)

Sooke (Shore crabbing)

The Best Crab Bait for Crabbing on Vancouver Island

Quality foods sell chicken backs and necks for $3 each. In each trap, place one back and neck. This method is the ideal crabbing bait since it does not attract seals or otters, ensuring that your carb traps are not destroyed! This bait is quite popular with crabs for two reasons: one, it was the first thing that showed up online as a decent bait, and two, I had something to feed the kids if they became hungry while we were out crabbing.
Fish heads or herring can be used, although they're more likely to attract a seal, otter, or Sunstar to your trap.
In a pinch, canned cat food will suffice, although it isn't as effective as the more effective crab bait.

Crabbing Regulations on Vancouver Island


Know Before You Go Crabbing

Necessary Gear for Crabbing on Vancouver Island

Crab fishing on Vancouver Island is definitely something you would have to prepare in advance. Crabbing will let you catch these crustaceans freshly from the water. The good news is that gear for ocean crabbing, sea crabbing, or even river crabbing is different. The basics for joyful crab fishing on Vancouver Island are: Crab Trap: You may throw the net or the cage into the water. Spool: A wire that connects your crab trap to a boat or dock (Some just use a stick or piece of wood, or you can wrap the line around your folding crab trap instead) Bait Bag: This bait bag is a favourite among crabbing professionals. On the other hand, others swear by dollarama's bird suit cages. The bait bag that comes with the traps is OK, but it tears open with time, and you can't fit as much bait in it. Zap Straps, Scissors, and Pliers: If needed, bring them for mending your catch. Crab Bucket: To keep your catch safe! The best option is to use a bucket from a hardware shop. Just enough water to cover the crab in the bucket. This enables them to lift their faces to obtain more air. Crab Measuring Tool: To know how big your catch is. Wagon or Cart: to transport your catch and equipment (it becomes heavy if you catch your limit!) Gloves: When it comes to crabbing, you'll need gloves that adequately protect your hands, fingers, and wrists. Crab's pinchers may easily break your hands' skin. This is not only unpleasant, but it also has the potential to get infected if not treated promptly. Note that the last two gears mentioned above are entirely optional for your crab harvesting on Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island Fish Species

If you are interested in fishing we have good news for you; Vancouver Island offers some of the best fishing destinations and spectacular fish species.
Click here to check all you need to know about Vancouver Island fish species before fishing on this stunning island!

Licences for Crabbing on Vancouver Island 

 In British Columbia, all fishermen must obtain a licence to fish in tidal (salt) waterways. Because many fishing spots lack an Independent Access Provider that offers fishing licences, it is preferable to acquire your licence online before heading out. Annual licences are available and are valid from April 1 to March 31. To know more about fishing and crabbing licences on Vancouver Island, read our complete guide in this regard.

Common Questions About Crabbing on Vancouver Island

Yes, crabbing may be done at night. Crabs are nocturnal species that become more active when the sun sets, making them simpler to catch than during the day. The one thing you should double-check before going crabbing when the sun sets is your local restrictions.
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