How to Catch Oysters

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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.

Items you will 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.


  • Sometimes areas are closed to oyster harvesting due to water pollution.


  • 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.
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