In general, crabbing
season is open all year in the Lower Mainland for both Dungeness
rock crabs. However, certain locations may have special restrictions in
regards to what dates and what times during the day one can go crabbings, so it's always
a good idea to check and know the good times before departing on a crabbing trip.
Although crabbing season is open all year, most crab fisherman go crabbing during late summer to early fall. If you have read the Types of Crabs section of this website, you know that both species of crabs mate during late summer and early fall. Mating season makes the crabs active, and therefore easier to catch. Another, perhaps more important, reason that people go during that period of time is because the Lower Mainland has the best weather during those times. Not many people want to catch crabs in the soaking rain. However, during those nice months there are also commercial crabbing operations in some areas such as the outer Burrard Inlet (affects both Ambleside and Belcarra), which will impact what you'll be able to catch from shore.
best time to catch crabs if you catch them from shore is when
the tide is rising. The crabs will come near shore, following
the tides. You will have the best chances during that time. This
is even more important if you catch crabs from a pier because
the water level around the pier must be deep enough for the crabs
to be near. If you plan to use a boat or dive for the crabs, it
doesn't really matter what time of day you go crabbing. However,
there are some time restrictions for certain areas which prohibit
crabbing during night time. It's always a good idea to look at the
closure notices before going crabbing.
If you want to know when high tide will take place, read the Vancouver Sun. The times for tides are near the weather map. Another more accurate place you can find the time for tides is the DFO's tide query. You will need to follow the instructions on the page to find out the time for high tide at a specific point.