Lobster Season: What is the Best Time of Year To Buy Lobster

Lobstering is done year-round off the coast of Maine by the 6000-plus lobstermen, mostly working out of small coastal communities. But is there a lobster season? Is there a best time of year to buy Maine lobster? 

What is the best time to buy lobster?
In Maine, lobster season is all year long.

In general, the best lobsters can be caught before Memorial Day or after Labor Day than at any time in between. But this does not always hold true. Mother Nature does not always cooperate. As any New Englander knows, the weather is highly unpredictable. Live lobsters are subject to seasonal changes and government regulations affecting supply and demand.

What is the Best Time of Year To Buy Lobster?

Lobster fishing is most active in the Gulf of Maine, Bay of Fundy, Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, and coastal Nova Scotia. Maritime Canada has their own lobster seasons designed to manage and conserve the lobster catch for future generations.

Learn More About Lobster Conservation Practices and Laws

Lobster Seasons

Canada accounts for more than 60% of lobster landings in North America and provides more than half of the world’s supply of Lobster. In Canada, the lobster season typically peaks twice a year, once in the spring (April-June) and another in December.

Canadian provinces have been split into 41 individual Lobster Fishing Areas (LFAs). Each area is subject to its own season, ranging from eight weeks to eight months in length. The breaks in fishing times are timed with the molting period of the lobsters.

The largest Canadian lobster catches are in areas 33 and 34, with the biggest haul generally coming in November.

January, February, and March

Lobsters are scarce, and the prices are at their highest. During the winter months, lobsters move further offshore, requiring lobster boats to travel greater distances, and the harsh weather makes it more difficult for fishermen to work.

April, May, and June

Prices will peak in early spring, but as the weather warms, lobster fishing picks up, and prices drop in May and June. May is typically one of the best months of the year to buy live lobsters. The supplies are very good as the demand from summer resorts has yet to kick in. The lobsters are generally at their firmest and meatiest after the cold weather months.

Is Summertime Lobster the Best?

Summer is synonymous with lobster. Some of the highest lobster landings are in the summer months. Lobsterman works around the clock to meet the demand of the tourists on the coast.

You’ll find more lobsters in the summer since they migrate inshore to warmer waters, many shedding their shells. After lobsters molt, they need to feed. Hungry, active lobsters are easier to trap! A soft shell characterizes much of the product between July and late September.

These soft-shell lobsters are not as strong and are more difficult to transport live. What’s more, soft-shell lobsters have less meat per pound than hard-shell lobsters. In the summer, you’ll see a couple of price levels: with a low price for soft-shell lobsters and higher prices for the limited number of hard-shell lobsters. In the New England summer months you should pick up extra soft-shell lobsters since they will have less meat than firm shell lobsters.

Live lobster has historically been a summer food in New England, but the increased world demand, especially from Asia, is starting to change that. That means demand can be higher in the colder months, once considered the lobster “off season.”

October, November, and December

Next to late spring, fall is one of the best times of year to buy good, hard-shell lobsters. After Labor Day, all the tourists have gone home, and the lobster landings are at their highest. Lobster prices stay reasonable, rising a bit at Christmas time. The price heads up again sharply as winter weather sets in. When water temperatures are very cold (January through March), the harvest of new caught lobsters is down and pounded lobster may be the only product available.

Can We Eat Lobster in the Winter?

From mid-September to late November, lobster fishing is in full swing. The haul is great, especially for hard-shell, live lobsters. Much of the lobster inventory will be used to meet the demand for Christmas dinners and New Year’s celebrations.

A bulk of the hard-shell lobsters are shipped overseas to Europe and Asia, where they fetch top dollar. In anticipation of seasonal changes and when harvest exceeds demand, the excess is stored, or pounded to be made available when the catch is slower.

Lobsters are less active as water temperature drops. When water temperatures are very cold (January through March), there is not much lobster fishing. Cold weather, wind, and rough seas make lobstering difficult. There are a few brave souls braving the elements.

The quality of lobsters picks up again in May and June, just before molting when the lobsters have more meat.

Catching Maine Lobster Online

Lobster Maine

Good quality lobsters are available year round and LobsterAnywhere.com is in the best position to ship them to your home. Our live lobsters come from the cold North Atlantic waters of Maine and Canada and are packed with sweet, white meat from claw to tail. And it’s the very best of these live lobsters we ship to you.

When you buy lobster from Lobsteranywhere.com, you’re getting fresh lobsters, always hard-shell lobsters. LobsterAnywhere has built its reputation by shipping only premium hard-shell Maine lobsters.

Conclusion: The Best Time Of Year To Buy Lobster

When it comes to buying lobster, the quality is seasonal, but good quality lobster can be purchased year round from Lobsteranywhere. Water temperature affects the life cycle of this crustracean, causing many to shed their shells in early summer. The result is that much of the product between July and October is characterized by a soft shell.

It is always possible to buy hardshell product (from offshore, deepwater boats), but it becomes realtively more expensive during the summer and ealry fall months.

However, lobsters from cold waters, particularly those caught during their peak seasons, are known for their exceptional flavor and quality. It’s important to take into account sustainability and choose lobsters that are responsibly sourced to protect the future of this beloved seafood.

So whether you’re enjoying lobster under the sun in the summertime or indulging in a warm bowl of lobster bisque during the winter months, understanding lobster seasons will ensure that you get to savor this delicacy at its finest.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Month Is Lobster Cheapest?

Lobster prices vary based on supply, demand, fishing regulations, and availability. Summer months like July and August are peak season, offering competitive prices due to significant catches. Reduced fishing activity in colder months causes higher prices.

When Can you Buy Femaile Lobsters?

Female lobsters are not harvested during molting in late spring and early summer, reducing supply and increasing prices slightly. While specific months may offer better deals, market dynamics like sudden demand or supply shortages can cause temporary price hikes regardless of the month.

What State Has the Cheapest Lobster?

Maine is known as the lobster capital of the world and offers relatively cheaper lobster prices.
Its proximity to prime lobster habitats, strict fishing regulations, robust local market demand, and efficient transportation and distribution channels make it a top contender for finding affordable and delicious lobster.

Although market prices can fluctuate throughout the year due to various factors, Maine provides seafood enthusiasts with an opportunity to indulge without breaking the bank.

What are Pounded Lobsters?

During times when harvest exceeds demand, the excess is stored, or pounded, to be sold duting succeeding periods whe demand will exceed harvest. Pounded lobsters can be of lesser quality due to stresses to the lobster in storage.

What are Shedder or New Shell Lobsters?

In the early summer months warm water causes many lobsters to shed their shells. These shedders or new shells are charaterized by paper thin shells making them difficult to transport alive. While the new shell lobster is less full of meat, some feel the meat is sweeter.

Why Is Maine Lobster So Cheap Right Now?

Maine lobster is known for being relatively affordable in comparison to other types of lobster, particularly during specific times of the year. There are several reasons why Maine lobster might be cheaper at certain times:

  1. Abundance of Supply: Maine lobster prices are lower when there is an abundant supply, usually between June and December. During these months, lobsters migrate closer to the shore, making it easier for fishermen to catch more, leading to lower prices.
  2. Increased Competition: Peak lobster season generates intense competition among suppliers and dealers, leading to more competitive pricing strategies and better deals for consumers.
  3. Market Demand: Maine lobster prices are influenced by market demand, which can vary seasonally due to holidays and events. When demand decreases, sellers may adjust their prices to attract buyers.
  4. Seasonal Culinary Preferences: Culinary preferences can impact the cost of Maine lobster. Depending on the region or season, other seafood options may become more popular than lobster, resulting in reduced demand and lower prices for this specific crustacean.
  5. Export Opportunities: The demand for live or processed Maine lobsters in international markets can affect domestic pricing due to limited availability for local consumption. 

It’s important to note that although these factors contribute to the lower prices of Maine lobster during specific periods, pricing can still vary depending on market conditions and individual sellers.

Consumers should stay informed and be aware of the current lobster market trends to ensure they get the best value for their money when purchasing this delectable seafood delicacy.

Is It Better to Buy Fresh or Frozen Lobster?

When it comes to choosing between fresh and frozen lobster, there are some factors to consider. Fresh lobster is considered the best due to its tender meat and sweet flavor, but it is more expensive and has limited availability outside of peak season.

Frozen lobster is more affordable and available year-round, but it may compromise on taste and texture. Sustainability is also important, and fresh and frozen options can be sustainably sourced.


  1. We are planning a trip to Maine last of November, where can we go to purchase hard shell lobsters to carry back on plane with us. We would want between 75 and 100 lobsters.

    1. You would have to check with the airline you are flying to bring lobsters with you (carry on). Some airlines will allow one small box. For that many lobsters you would need at least three 30 lb. boxes. That’s a lot to lug to the airport. Might be cheaper and easier if we shipped your lobsters for you.

  2. Planning on driving up from Virginia either next week or the following week. We plan to do some sightseeing, but want to try some of the local food to include lobster. We also would like to know the best place with the best prices to buy some lobster to take home with us.

  3. I am having a party in early August and i am looking to purchase around 200 lobsters what would the price be for them let me know total price for shipping too maple hts Ohio thank you

  4. I am looking to bring my daughter to the east coast for Christmas. She has a bucket list and Christmas in New England is on it as we currently live in Arizona. With that being said…I am looking for a place that gets LOTS of snow and also a place I can purchase lobster in December. Please help.

  5. I’m from TN, I’m a cancer patient an my bucket list is I want to visit Maine an eat lobsters an tour the lighthouses we are thinking about this fall, where is the best place to eat lobster, the best lighthouse tour, an best place to stay with the best prices?

    1. Maine in the fall is a great time– the big draw are the leaf peepers, plus the lobster!

      They are some nice places for a drive. http://www.exploremaine.org/byways/

      For me I like to keep it simple and stay in town. Portland, ME is a real fun city. But beware, there are some high priced tourist spots. You can take day trips here.

      I really like these guys—Bite Into Maine. They started out with a lobster truck. For fine dining, Street and Co. is tough to beat.

      Also, checkout our Best Lobster Spots in New England.

      1. My daughter wants to go to Maine for lobster in November for her 26th birthday along with her aunt and I will be going on this trip as well. Can you suggest some sight seeing and lobster eating along with places to stay?
        Thank You,
        Linda Mitchell

  6. I ate fresh lobster the third week in July 2018 from Market Basket grocery store in New Hampshire and Maine. I bought the fresh live lobster for $4.99 a pound, and the grocery store steams it for free. They were hot and delicious!

  7. Hello Lobster Louie,

    What months do female lobsters have the most roe?
    I love the roe when the lobster is steamed and thought there might be a couple of months that they are caught when they have the most roe?


    The Lobster Surgeon- Pete

    1. In the summer months is when the females will usually carry eggs. A female lobster can mate only after it has just molted and this can happen every couple of years.

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