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Jan 23, 2007 09:07 AM

Dungeness Crab Season

My wife and I LOVE Dungeness Crab, but here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, only frozen crab is readily available (at Wal-Mart of all places!). We're going to San Francisco in mid-March. Will fresh Dungeness still be available in local seafood shops and restaurants? We're thinking of having lunch at Swan's and can already taste that fresh crab! Thanks!

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  1. No, but there will be live crabs brought in from further north, like Washington.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      When specifically does the local season end?

      1. re: Ozumo

        I always understood crab season to end in SF/NorCal in May. Who knows now given warmer waters.

    2. Although the season lasts for eight months, many crabbers stop fishing after the second or third week, because most of the legal crabs have been taken. During the first week of the season crabbers may take as much as 25-pounds of legal crab in each pot. By the third or fourth week there is often no more than 3 or 4 pounds of legal crab per pot. By the first of next month there will be likely be very few crabbers working the pots. Don't count on high-quality fresh legal crabs from San Francisco much after the end of this month.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. Don't know if this is true but my mother always told us that fresh dungeness crabs were only available during months ending in -er which is basically from September to December. There's always fresh crab available in the Bay Area but not necessarily dungeness. So was this an old wive's tale or is my mom right - again?!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Dog Lover

            Sorry, Mom's got it wrong -- the California Dungeness season doesn't even start until mid-November. As explained above, although officially the season lasts until June, for all practical purposes, by the end of January the Dungeness you find in SF is from farther north (the season opens later and later the farther north on the Pacific Coast they're harvested). Dungeness is still the predominent crab available, it's just not local (nor necessarily fresh).

          2. There is a HUGE flavor difference between the crabs I ate in November/December and the ones I ate at crab feeds in the past few weeks. The crabs taken in the beginning of the season were so sweet and succulent. The crabs I ate recently at crab feeds -- probably frozen crab, definitely not fresh -- were stringy and tasteless. It's too bad -- most crab feeds are late in the season, but the best tasting crabs come in November/December.