Crabbing in the Swan River, Canning River & Mandurah + Crabbing Rules in WA

Crabbing in the Swan River and Canning River 

The best time to catch blue swimmer crabs in Perth is during late spring right through to the end of autumn.  Most people looking to catch crabs head to Mandurah to scoop up these local delicacies but the Swan and Canning River is also a fantastic option.  Drop nets are best in the river. Perth river crabs are completely different to Mandurah crabs and in my opinion they are larger and tastiest. 

Handy Tips and Hints on how to catch Perth River Crabs:

Catching crabs from a boat using drop nets is the best option for the Swan and Canning River. 

You can catch crabs in shallow waters in Peth but to catch the best and larger Perth river crabs the more rope on your drop nets the better as you can go deeper.  I suggest a minimum of eight metres, but 20+ metres of rope will bring better results. Another tip is to use bait baskets in your nets to protect your bait from pesky fish. You can try scooping for crabs in the river but using drop nets will always be more successful.  The Perth rivers are full of crabs you just have to go deep enough to catch them.

You can also drop crab nets off the jetties along the rivers although you are open to poachers this way if you leave them, sad but true.  Free diving and scuba diving for crabs is also an option.

Crab Bait - Fish frames, fish heads, lamb on the bone,

Crabbing in Mandurah - Perth, Western Australia

Handy Tips and Hints on how to catch Mandurah Crabs:

Early morning down on the estuary is the best place to catch Mandurah crabs.  Buy a scoop net bag, a bucket, a size gauge, wear sensible enclosed shoes that you don’t mind getting wet and off you go, just scoop up these little crustaceans. There is a bag limit of ten so do the right thing and leave enough for everyone who wants to enjoy these yummy crabs.  You can go crabbing at night too (or dusk) in Mandurah.  Sometimes the crabs are buried so if you see a small mound of mud/sand there is probably a crab under it, give it a little poke and out comes Mr.Crab.  One last tip, crabs LOVE mud so you will always have more luck in muddier areas.  Just remember… MUD = CRAB and throw back the little ones as the legal size for a crab in WA is 127mm.

Extra crabbing information:

  • Check your nets every 15 minutes or so for boat drop nets
  • The best time to go crabbing is early morning or dusk

Crabbing Rules in Perth, Western Australia 

What can I use to catch crabs in Perth?

You can legally catch crabs by hand; wire hook or you can use a hand-held wire hook. Your hooks cannot be able to pierce the crab. You can also use a drop net no wider than 1.5 m in diameter. The maximum limit of drop nets per person is ten or ten drop nets per boat, regardless of how many people are on the boat.  The tool of choice in Mandurah is a scoop net which is a hand held plastic or wire bowl shaped scoop.  Scoops must have an internal diameter no bigger than 375 mm, and a depth of no more than 210 mm.  Diving for crabs is also permitted.  

What’s the size limit of crabs in Perth, Western Australia?

Statewide - 127 mm width

What’s the bag limit of crabs in Perth, Western Australia?

West Coast Bioregion (from near Augusta to north of Kalbarri) – 10 Crabs per person per day
All other bioregions – 20 Crabs per person per day

Closed season for blue swimmer crabs:

Cockburn Sound – 1 Sept to 14 Dec (inclusive)
Peel-Harvey Estuary – 1 Sept to 31 Oct (inclusive)

For the most up to date information on crabbing in WA and all the rules and regulations click here for the Department of Fisheries page. 

Comment posted by SilverStories
09 March 2017 - Hi SukuJohn. Regarding crabbing seasons in Mandurah I just looked it up and closed seasons in Peel Harvey Estuary are from 1 September to 31 October so I think you are fine to go crabbing at the moment. Good luck.
Comment posted by Sukujohn
09 March 2017 - Hi any one can help me to know about crab hunting season. From the website I am not getting exact period for crab hunting in swan river and mandurah. 18th and 19th March is crab festival in mandurah. Can we really catch crab after 19th march 2017. Thanks
Comment posted by SilverStories
28 November 2016 - Hi Brenda. From what I can see on the govt website the daily boat limit is 40, so if three are in the boat you can get 30, if four are in the boat you can get 40, if five are in the boat you are still limited by 40. According to the govt website there is no crabbing allowed in Cockburn Sound at the moment so Mandurah is your best bet. I hope this helps.
Comment posted by brenda
27 November 2016 - is Cockburn sound open yet for crabs and if yu have 3 people on the boat is that 10 crabs per person or only 20 per boat thanks brenda
Comment posted by SilverStories
12 September 2016 - See link above for most up to date information. Closed season for blue swimmer crabs in the Peel Harvey Estuary is 1 Sept to 31 Oct
Comment posted by panha lach
08 September 2016 - Hi there just wondering if swanriver crabbing has season? If it does,when to when? Many thanks

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