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?

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

Canada accounts for more than 60% of lobsters landings in North American 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 the month of November.

Lobster Seasons

Is Summertime Lobster the Best?

Summer is synonymous with lobster. Some of the highest lobster landings are in the summer months. Lobsterman work around the clock to meet the demand of the tourists on the coast. You’ll find more lobsters in the summer since they migrate in shore to warmer waters, many shedding their shells. After lobsters molt they need to feed. And hungry, active lobsters are easier to trap! Much of the product between July and late September is characterized by a soft-shell. 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. You’ll see a couple price levels in the summer; a cheap price for soft-shell lobsters, and higher prices for the limited hard-shell lobsters.

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

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 Years 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 temperature are very cold (January through March), there is not too much lobster fishing going on. 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.

Best Months to Buy Lobster

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 month 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.

October, November, 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.

Catching Maine Lobster Online

Lobster Maine

Good quality lobsters are available year round from LobsterAnywhere.com. Our live lobsters come from the cold north Atlantic waters of Maine & 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 their reputation by shipping only premium hard-shell Maine lobsters.

1. http://www.tastelobster.ca/eng_home.php
2. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/index-eng.htm
3. http://www.maine.gov/dmr/rm/lobster/
5. White, Jasper Lobster At Home. Simon and Schuster, 1998 New York


  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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