May 6, 2011
I recently obtained a position at a fishing and hunting store. After hearing a lot of the other employees talk about all the fun they have fishing, and the slew of fishing licenses I've been selling, I'm become quite interested in trying something similar.

However, I'm a vegan, and while I'm not the biggest animal rights activist, I don't really see the justice or appeal in a lot of catch and release fishing with hooks and lures. Therefore, netting and pots really grab my interest, but it's not quite the same experience as you typically need to leave the traps over night.

There aren't any volunteer opportunities in the area for tagging or anything of the like, so it generally seemed like I'd need to do my own project if I was going to engage in any kind of purposeful catch and release.

Oh, did I mention I live in Seattle? And how little of information we have on our current octopus populations? No? Yeah, no one mentioned that to me either, until I realized you can fish for octopus under the proper general license.

My research into this idea has been rather... fruitless. Most fishermen find the octopus to be rather a nuisance than anything worth interest (Though you can generally find some that are willing to take them back to shore to sell/cook/use as bait).

We have a largish diver community up here, and reportedly the easiest way to catch octopus in the puget sound is with a bag and your hands. Diving lessons are incredibly expensive though, as opposed to baiting some home made pots and checking them at night.

The local scientific community has a lot of interest in the population, but most is reserved away from hobbyists, besides divers.

I digress.

Though this interest is only recent, I have discovered the appeal of octopus domestication. I'm trying to do more research as I go, but my wife seems fairly supportive of the idea, which is rare for her.

I see most people tend to gravitate towards only a handful of the smallish (obviously) warmer water breeds, so I'm hesitant to think many of you will have any experience with what I'm thinking.

O. Rubescens is native to the puget sound, and with enough persistence, I'm sure I could acquire one if not more fairly quickly (Not that I'm planning anything for probably around a year).

I'm finding they're comparable to a large mantled A. Aculeatus in size, but I've read they're nocturnal, shy, and their venom is particularly ferocious (Though not a serious health risk to humans).

They're also cold water Octopus (the area's I'm looking at are between 40-50 degrees). So my tank would require a chiller for those days the land in Seattle gets to 51 (2 days in July).

Anyone have any advice on octopus fishing? I was thinking of assembling a DYI pot with a larger beer or wine bottle with some live bait from my work, then netting/caging the bottle, buoying them in intertidal zones, and checking back later in the evening hoping to catch the little guys feeding.

I want to try this method out a few times (catch and release) before I start to prepare a tank environment, or potentially branch out into husbandry.

More importantly, anyone have any experience with O. Rubescens?


Staff member
May 30, 2000
Welcome! Puget sound is a great place for ceph-heads. There actually has been a fair amount of research conducted by the Seattle Aquarium, and friends of them. Every year they hold "Octopus Week" and I know in the past it has included octopus dives and some form of population count.

Interesting project you want to pursue - very interested in hearing how it develops!


Colossal Squid
Staff member
Jul 9, 2009
:welcome: to TONMO

Trapping them has proven to be quite difficult for me. I am a commercial stone crabber. I caught my first octopus by accident and I have been trying with no luck since to gt another. Many of the octopuses that end up in fish stores come from commercial crab traps, because the octos favorite food is crab. of the several hundred crabbers in my area only a handful of octos are caught each season.

For O.Rub I think your best bet is going to be wondering around the tide pools at low tide, this is how many people have caught theirs. Joe-Ceph lives in Cali and he regularly catches octos like this. perhaps he can chime in and talk about it. if not try sending him a PM.

I see most people tend to gravitate towards only a handful of the smallish (obviously) warmer water breeds, so I'm hesitant to think many of you will have any experience with what I'm thinking.

Lots of folks keep cold-water species. typically the Bimac is the target cold species. they are typically very social.

and their venom is particularly ferocious (Though not a serious health risk to humans).
The venom is nothing to worry about, unless your allergic,it is usually compared to a bee sting, but they are a species that is prone to biting, which can be quite painful.


Jan 27, 2011
i have asked about a fishing license to obtain an octopus. i called fish and wildlife and they said if you take any living animal off of any king county beaches it is against the law. i know that people see them from time to time in intertidal zones at alki beach. how is it legal to get them with a fishing license? does that mean you catch them with a hook? (i would NEVER do that!)
Oct 2, 2009
It is more than likely that you will kill the octopus if you use a hook, so I wouldnt recommend doing that.

I am not sure how they might catch them in your area (not familiar with Seattle). Joe-Ceph doesnt need anything other than a regular fishing license because that is the law in his area (he has researched this greatly). If you can stay away from O. Rubescens I would recommend another species... if at all possible. They bite more than any other species that we know of and while the poison wont hurt you very much, it is still painful and will make the experience a bit less fun for you, especially with it being your first octopus. If you can, find out if bimac's are available in your area. They are by far the most fun species I have ever kept. Joe-Ceph actually caught and mailed one to me and my husband got me the other one. They are a very good species for interaction and out during the day far more often than many other species.

Good luck with finding a legal way to catch them. I wish I could be more help.


Staff member
Sep 4, 2006
We have several people who have kept "rubys" in the lab and they give the species a huge thumbs up. Here is one of the threads I found discussing keeping them. It looks like you are fully on the right track with your reading and the only caveat I can think of is that they are often thought to be small GPO's. That is not an issue of course but I don't know how similar the two species look and if the GPO frequents the shallower waters when young. I suspect that they are actually quite easy to tell apart (guessing from the difficulty people have telling other species apart when there are distinct differences but low observation skills) though and viewing pictures of both will acquaint you with what to look for.

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