Here’s something different – load up the car and head to Hood Canal. It’s time to get cosy with nature and catch dinner from the stability of – a kayak. Never mind fork to table – let’s talk paddle to pot! According to Christina Maloney, owner and guide at Kayak Brinnon, kayak crabbing is gaining popularity on the Canal.
Dungeness and Rock crab can be found in the Hood Canal at depths between 30 and 300 feet. “In our area we recommend kayak crabbing in depths of 30 to 75 feet and provide 100 feet of line for each crab pot,” adds Christina, “what you catch depends on a variety of factors such as location, bait, length of soak, and the health of the population.”
The amount of crabs you may keep is limited to five male Dungeness, and six Rock (of either sex) per day. Crabbers are required to purchase a WDFW shellfish license with a Dungeness crab endorsement and each harvester is expected to educate themselves on the WA Staterules and regulations before setting out for a crabbing experience. The crabbing season on Hood Canal and South Puget Sound runs Thursdays through Mondays each week from July through Labor Day. Visit WDFW for details.
Don’t have a kayak? Don’t worry. Many establishments on Hood Canal rent both kayaks and crab pots. Rent kayaks and crab pots by the hour or for multiple days to paddle the Hood Canal during the day and pull your pots full of Dungeness and Red Rock crab for dinner.
If you are feeling like you may prefer to be in the stability of a motorized vessel with a experience guide, Summertide Resort and Marina may have what your looking for. Check below or call them directly at (360) 275-9313 for options.
Yelvik’s Beach, Brinnon, WA | 360-301-6310
Kayaks, SUP's, guided tours with biologists
At Brinnon Kayak, in addition to kayaks and crab fishing equipment, they offer advice on crabbing in the Hood Canal. Brinnon Kayak was started by former Marine and Fisheries Biologist, Christina Maloney, in 2008. While working seasonally at the old Point Whitney Shellfish Laboratory in Brinnon between 1993 and 1995, Christina vowed to return to the Hood Canal someday to live full-time. After a twelve year career in California with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other biological agencies she was given an opportunity to leave the city and build this dream. As a child Christina grew up on the beach, “back then kids played outside all day long,” she smiled nostalgically, “I was either playing in the surf of the Pacific or catching pollywogs in the creeks. I knew that if I had to work eight hours a day that I wanted to around the water doing it.”
Kayak Brinnon’s tours take guests to estuaries to watch seals and eagles, to coves in search of marine invertebrates, and to beaches to swim and shuck oysters. “One of my favorite things about taking people out kayaking for the first time is watching their apprehension transform into pure joy and confidence,” replied Christina when asked what she loved about her job, “Most of our guests are new kayakers and they are nervous about it. Summer water conditions in the Hood Canal are, more often than not, very mild. It can feel more like kayaking on a still lake than on the big waters of other parts of the Puget Sound. “The kayaks we use,” adds Christina, “are stable. People learn to paddle confidently within minutes of leaving the beach. As we corner Wa Wa Point or paddle out of Pleasant Harbor, everyone is paddling like a pro and it’s time to talk about the marine and avian wildlife we see on Hood Canal and the estuaries we visit.”
Kayak Brinnon offers hourly, daily, and multi-day kayak and paddle board rentals from their beach and deliver kayaks to area homes and campgrounds. Life vests and safety equipment are included. They also offer kayak crab pot rentals during crabbing season and will help you plan your trip. Have guests visiting from out of town? For a day rental, a family of four can expect to pay about $80 to rent kayaks. Kayak tours run between $45 and $95 per person. Call Christina at 360-301-6310 for details or visit their website for great customer videos on what to expect.
Summertime Resort & Marina
15781 NE Northshore Road Tahuya, WA 98588 | (360) 275-9313
Lodging, RV hook-ups, kayaks, small vessels, crab pot rentals, and boat launch
Summertide, near Belfair, offers plenty of Hood Canal activities including boating, swimming, fishing, crabbing and shrimping (in season), as well as campfires and Friday night cookouts. They provide boat, kayak, and crab pot rentals as well as a boat launch and parking for boat trailers so you bring your own boat and launch it right at your cabin. Kayak rentals run around $15/hour with crab pots just $10/day. Crab is also available off their dock.
Alderbook Resort Waterfront Center
10 E Alderbrook Drive, Union, WA 98592 | (360) 898-2252
Lodging & waterfront dining, SUPs, kayaks, motorized vessels, crab pot rentals, fuel available at Union Marina
Travel publications consistently rank Alderbrook among the state’s top resorts, thanks to its sumptuous dining, day spa, and stunning Olympic views—a wealth of attractions just a few steps from your boat. Rentals available include kayaks (starting at $25/hour), SUPs, hydrobikes, pedal boats, and motorized boats.
Allyn House Inn | North Bay Kayaks & Cones
18350 SR 3 Allyn, WA | (360)535-2198
Lodging, SUP (paddle board) and kayak rentals, multi-day guided tours.
North Bay Kayaks and Cones offers access to the South Puget Sound region by kayak, SUP, or double kayak. Rates start at just $20/hour, with guided tours and week-long rentals also available. The four properties of Ally House are located on South Puget Sound waterways and can be connected by a multi-day kayaking adventure.
Mike's Beach Resort
38470 N US Highway 101, Lilliwaup, WA 98555 | (360) 877-5324
Lodging and rowboats, paddle boat, and a ocean kayak available for rent
Mike's Beach is one of the oldest resorts in Hood Canal with a unique blend of the rustic look of the Northwest and the relaxed, cozy, and charming chalet style clinging to the shores of the Canal. A dock and mooring buoys are available; rowboats, paddleboat, and a ocean kayak are available for rent. Pet friendly. Waterfront cabins and rooms. This is also a popular spot for scuba divers.
Brinnon, WA (360) 796-4518 | email@example.com
A range of boat rentals
Narwhal's boats range in size from 12 feet to 16 feet. Very experienced boaters may qualify for use of a 23, North Sea Coble, a replica of an Irish crabbing and lobstering boat. The boats rent for up to $160/day with the fuel provided, half day’s use is $80. Crab pots, lines, buoys, bait, are extra. Narwhal has two boats with pot pullers and two others set up to make hauling crab pot lines easy. They also know a few of the "secret" area crabbing spots!