The Best Dungeness Crabbing Baits

When it comes to crabbing baits, I am a scientist! I love going out to the Oregon Coast and just trying different crab baits to see what works, what doesn’t work, and how the crabs react to some crazy baits. But I always have a few particular baits I use on a regular basis that catch Dungeness crabs on a consistent basis season over season, no matter what the weather or water conditions.

Bait #1 – Chicken. A tride and true bait on any crabbing bay. Chicken works because it’s meaty, the crab love it, and sea lions will leave it alone. I never go crabbing without chicken in the boat!

Bait #2 – Salmon Heads & Carcus. I always save my coho and chinook salmon carcus for crab bait. The oily meat from the carcus and head will attract crabs from a far distance. 

Bait #3 – Whole Shad. A smelly fish that crab never resist! In the Northwest, we have a huge run of shad on the Columbia River and anglers can fill freezers with this stinky fish to last a year or more.

Bait #4 – Duck or Pheasant Legs. An underrated crabbing bait, but if you or someone you know harvests duck or pheasant, have them save the legs for crab bait. Each leg is a small amount of meat, but the more legs you have, you will be able to fill a bait trap easily. And just like chicken, sea lions won’t go after duck or pheasant.

Bait #5 – Tuna Belly & Carcus. Be warned, if this bait gets all over your boat, it will stink! And the stink will attract the crab. One of my biggest traps in the summer time had 8 keepers with tuna belly in the bait box.

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