Crabbing on Vancouver Island (Guide)

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Crabbing on Vancouver Island can make for a great trip with family or friends, and is well worth the drive.

It is no secret that crabbing on Vancouver Island is one of the best things you can do when visiting this beautiful destination.

It is not only a great way to spend time with friends and family, but also provides an opportunity for fresh seafood to be brought home. 

In this blog post, we will discuss everything there is to know about crabbing on Vancouver Island!

Vancouver Island Crabbing Locations Regulations and Season Blog Post Feature Image

4 Good Locations for Crabbing on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island has tons of great locations to catch crabs from, with limitless coastline and protected waters crabs are bountiful.

To help point you in the right direction of some great crabbing locations our team has listed the top 4 locations to catch crab on Vancouver island.

1. Fanny Bay Pier

Fanny Bay is easily accessible from Vancouver. Taking approximately 3 hours to reach the Vancouver ferry terminal after the boat trip and drive is complete. Once you get to Fanny Bay you will want to head for the Fanny Bay Piers.

Anywhere off the pier is great for crabbing, whether you are using a handline, nets, or traps. Just be warned this is a popular spot so if you intended to go catch crab their it’s best to get a spot early in the morning.

2. Port McNeil – Clam Cove Beach Trail

If you’re are willing to make the drive Port McNeil can be well worth the wait. It’s approximately 6 hours from the Vancouver Ferry Terminals but is bountiful in both crabs, clams and a range of other shellfish.

The Clam Cove Beach trail is a highly recommended spot by locals just make sure to not trespass on the Native land surrounding the area.

3. James Island Pier Near Sidney

The most popular location on this list for crabbers primarily due to it being 2.5 hours from the ferry ramp in Vancouver, while also being close to Victoria and Saanich.

Due to its popularity, the docks can fill up fast and it can be busy all day so make sure you get there early if you’re looking to get your full legal catch.

The Piers are right near Sidney in the direction of James Island.

4. Port Renfrew Docks

4 hours away from Vancouver and a couple of hours away from Victoria, Port Renfrew is a great location to catch a range of different crab. Just head to the Port Renfrew Docks and you’ll be able to find a spot on the surrounding piers to cast your traps or lines. 

Invasive Crabs & Advisories

Be aware there are at times advisories put in place on the catching of crabs within specific regions to help keep you safe from toxic dioxins and furans that concentrate in the hepatopancreas.

Additionally, there are invasive species such as the European green crab that you will want to watch out for. 

To learn more about the European Green Crab and how to spot it read below.

European Green Crab

The European green crab is one of the top ten most invasive species in the world (1). These crabs act as predators in any area they are located and are able to withstand a range of conditions.

These crabs can be identified by their size, colour, claws and attitude. The European green crab will be green, red or yellow colour; it will typically have claws of varying size, it will be up to 10 cm in size, and can be more aggressive than your typical crab.

If you think you’ve spotted one of these crabs while you are out crabbing make sure to take a photo, note your GPS location, note features, and file a report with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I go crabbing on Vancouver Island?

There are many areas you can go crabbing on Vancouver Island including Fanny Bay, Port McNeil, Port Renfrew and, the coasts near James Island. Each one of these locations will have numerous docks, piers and spots you will be able to catch a range of crab from.

Popular crabs in BC include Dungeness crab and red crab.

Where can I go crabbing in Victoria BC?

There are a number of locations you can go crabbing in Victoria BC including the James Island Piers, as well as the Sooke public docks, and if you’re after Dungeness crab James Bay can also be promising.

Do you need a license to catch crab in BC?

To be able to catch crabs and other shellfish in saltwater you must have a tidal waters sports fishing license. This includes fishing and crabbing in tidal water boundary areas surrounding river heads.


While you can catch amazing crabs just about everywhere on the coast of Vancouver Island The West Coast of the Island contains many of the best areas in which you can go crabbing.

Consisting of 5 main sounds, Clayoquot, Nootka, Kyuquot, Barkley and Quatsino the region makes up one of the most diverse and untouched marine zones in North America.

The quality of crab to be caught in the waters is exceptional, with Dungeness Crab being the prevalent catch.

We hope you found this guide helpful. If you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comment section below.


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Ryan W

Ryan is the owner of Fisherman First and manages the team of expert writers on the site. He's fished his entire life and has been to locations across North America to catch a range of fish and crustacean from crabs and prawns to minnow and trout.