Crabbing Info & Resources

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Special Disclaimer

Finding CURRENT regs is difficult on CDFW. The sources/links provided here may not be current due to regulations constantly being changed. It is up to you the viewer to do your own diligence and ensure you have educated yourself on the regulations and not rely on this website as a sole source. Our website staff does it's best to keep info updated. If you find info outdated please use the "Contact Us" page to report out dated info and if possible provide what info or resources you have to support the claim and we will be happy to update it.

Special Notes

  • CDFW has multiple documents and pages that may appear to be the primary rules for one species or topic. I have found that there can be even more than 1 or 2 sources that contain different info. The link below contains regulations for many species, so please locate "CRUSTACEANS" on this page and pay close attention to all of the related info under this species that covers the category of Crabs. You will note how some of the info is also in the links above, but presented in a different format and look. This info is current as of 11/8/22 for the 2022-2023 season. The link is in the next bullet point that seems to have the most detail on crabbing regs.

  • https://wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Sport-Fishing/Invertebrate-Fishing-Regs#crustaceans

  • I have discovered a regulation that is new for me and felt it worthwhile to share. The regulation stipulates that ANYONE (Even under 16) who fishes for crab using a trap device MUST be in possession of a "VALIDATION STAMP". Also needed for anyone using a trap on days where fishing is "Free". See the caption from CDFW website below. I found this on their Q&A page under the question: "Who needs a validation stamp". Link is directly below for that Q&A page and then under that the caption.

  • https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Invertebrates/Crabs#569763303-who-needs-a-validation-stamp

Who needs a validation stamp?

Anyone who wishes to use a crab trap needs a crab trap validation stamp, even if under 16, on free fishing days, or when fishing from shore, a pier, or manmade structure. A validation is also required for passengers onboard commercial passenger fishing vessels (CPFVs) when using crab traps to harvest crab. It is not required for take using any other method. 

This was confirmed by CDFW. It also includes Lobster, Sturgeon, Steel head, ect. in the same manner. I was able to set up my son with a GO ID and when it came to selecting available options a list populated for me to select from. Now we will be legal come using traps! We would have potentially gotten ticketed with him not having the trap validation!!!

This is a perfect example how hard it is to find ALL pertinent information that is required for any angler to be aware of and is liable for if not aware of despite how hard it can be to find on the CDFW website. This is a buried regulation that is not stated in their "detailed" page of regulations and could result in huge fines if not followed. I have reached out to CDFW for clarity since I do have a minor who will be taking limits of crab using crab traps once the restriction is removed.