How to Catch Oysters


Oysters are mollusks that live in beds at the bottom of both shallow and deep waters. In shallow water, they can be gathered by using a basket rake. In deep water, a dredge is used. Oysters can be eaten raw on the half shell of cooked in a seafood dish.

Things You'll Need

  • Oyster license (issued by the state game and fish department)
  • Warm clothing
  • Work gloves
  • Waders
  • Basket rake
  • Bucket
  • Screwdriver
  • Shucking knife

How to Catch Oysters

  • Purchase a license. A recreational or commercial oyster license is sold through the state's department of fish and game. License fees vary from state to state.

  • Dress in warm clothing and wear heavy-duty work gloves in effort to protect your hands from the sharp oyster shells.

  • Wear a pair of waders and purchase or rent a basket rake. A five gallon bucket is commonly used for storing the oysters.

  • Walk slowly through the oyster bed to avoid stirring up mud as you walk.

  • Measure for legal size oysters by using a shellfish gauge.

  • Pry apart oyster clumps with a screwdriver and measure each one to make sure it is within the state-appointed legal size.

  • Dislodge any seed or baby oysters from legal-size oysters. It is illegal to keep seed oysters because they are not fully developed.

  • Pry the oyster shells open using a shucking knife to retrieve the mollusk that is inside.

Tips & Warnings

  • An age old oyster tip says to only catch oysters during the months that have an "r", meaning the cooler months of September through April.
  • Sometimes areas are closed to oyster harvesting due to water pollution.

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