If you know about the Opilio Crab, then you’re probably trying to catch one of them as part of your bucket list! It’s one of the coolest crabs to catch, and if you’ve seen fishermen do it on TV, you probably know that they go after them in the freezing darkness during Alaska’s winter.
However, there are certain times and conditions we have to follow when trying to catch the Opilio crab. This is under the responsibility of The North Pacific Fishery Management Council, NOAA, as well as the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
So, how long is Opilio Crab season in Alaska? Read on to find out!
What to Know About the Opilio Crab
Also known as the Opie, the Opilio Crab is found in Japan to Greenland, and even as far south down in Maine. These crabs weigh up to three pounds, a bit smaller compared to their more desirable and larger cousins, the red king crab.
You can find Opies in bottoms that are sandy or muddy and soft. They aren’t found anywhere below 650 feet, making them a bit easier to catch.
If you want to learn more about the Opilio Crab, check out this informative video:
How Long is Opilio Crab Season in Alaska?
There are different crab seasons to consider, depending on the species. Not only is it controlled by the Opie habitat, but the local departments. They are the ones who ensure the population is stable.
That’s why fishermen are only allowed to harvest male crabs, with fishery closed during the crabs’ mating and molting season.
With that in mind, it’s crucial to check your local area in the state to ensure you are allowed to catch Opilio crabs and the certain number of sizes of crabs you can catch. You should also be wary about which zone you are permitted to catch crabs in, as it is separated into northern and southern zones.
Once you’re familiar with the sizes and amounts of crabs to catch, when is the Opilio crab season and how long does it run for?
In Alaska, fishermen can go after the Opilio crab after October 15, which is when the king crab season begins. The season officially begins in the fall, continuing until the fishermen have reached the preset harvest quota.
The fishery managers set a certain total harvest quota, divided into individual quotas among various crab fishing boats, companies, and corporations. For instance, the quota was 54 million pounds during the 2013-2014 season.
Typically, it can last until May 15, but again, this depends on the fishermen’s quota. Sometimes, it can take as short as two weeks, other times, it can take longer, usually up to four weeks long if fishermen take their time rather than work 24/7.
While the season begins on October 15, most crews would wait until January, which is actually the traditional opening date of the season. This is because the commercial appeal of Opies caught earlier than January is lower compared to when it’s caught later on.
Wrapping It Up
When you’re catching the Opilio crab, you have to make sure you adhere to the rules and regulations your local government implements. There is a certain crab season to follow to regulate the crab population, and depending on the quota given, it can last for up to four weeks or more. I recommend you begin catching the crabs in January for more success and to sell them at better prices.
I hope that this article answered your question, “how long is Opilio crab season in Alaska?” Now that you know the answer, schedule your trip to Alaska for the Opilio crab season accordingly. Good luck!