This popular activity that is permitted in designated areas of Swan Cove and along Beach Road, as well as from the boardwalks near the entrance gates. The query? Blue crabs, which make a tasty meal. Plus, catching these feisty creatures only requires a few tools - a crab line, bait, net, and bucket. Chicken necks are great bait – the smellier, the better! When crabbing, remember to observe state limits on size and quantity. All regulations are enforced by refuge law enforcement.
- Each person is allowed one bushel of hard crabs per day.
- The launching of any vessel in a refuge impoundment is prohibited.
- You must attend minnow traps, crab traps, crab pots, and hand-lines at all times.
- The use of seine nets is prohibited (however, cast nets are allowed to catch bait fish for personal use).
- The minimum size limits are five inches for male hard crabs (jimmies) and immature female hard crabs.
- No size limits exist for adult female hard crabs (sooks).
- All other state regulations governing crabbing also apply, as described by Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
A fun activity for all ages, clamming is permitted in Toms Cove. All you need are a bucket or basket and a clam rake. Look for the tell-tale “key hole” in the mud, or just pick a spot and start digging. There are several different types of clams that can be found in the waters around the refuge, including hard-shell clams (also known as “quahogs”), soft-shell clams, and razor clams, which have a long and narrow shell. Clamming regulations are enforced by refuge law enforcement.
- Visitors may take a maximum of 250 clams in one day.
- There are multiple commercial and private clam beds in the waters around Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. These areas are prohibited for recreational clamming. Resale of clams taken from the refuge is prohibited.
- All other state regulations governing clamming also apply, as described by Virginia Marine Resources Commission.