How to Catch a Crayfish

One of childhood's joys is dropping a piece of bacon attached to a string into a muddy pond to catch a crayfish, also known as crawfish. If you're still interested in catching crayfish into adulthood, you probably want to make a meal of them, and need to use a trap to catch enough of these freshwater shellfish.

Get a crayfish trap. You can also find them marketed as crawfish or crawdad traps. You can make your own or for under $20, buy one from a manufacturer or a big sporting goods store like Bass Pro.

Talk to other people in your area who fish for crayfish as to the best kind of trap to get. Sometimes the differences are regional, but everyone has their own preferences: barrel, rectangular, pyramid, pillow or rooster tail traps. A North Carolina extension center tested traps and found that black plastic or plastic-coated wire traps work best, preferably with two or three funnels.

Choose the best time to fish a pond, lake or stream. The water temperature should reach at least 65 degrees. Nighttime is the best time to catch crayfish because this is when crayfish go looking for their own fish dinners.

Find a good place populated by crayfish. Almost any lake, river, pond or stream works. What matters more is exactly where in the body of water you drop your trap. Look for grassy areas near rocks that provide cover for crayfish against bigger predators.

Add bait to the trap. Bait is another highly debated topic in catching crayfish. You can buy crayfish bait at any store where you buy your fishing supplies. Others swear by cat food, hot dogs or raw bacon. Experienced crayfish catchers say to use chopped up fresh fish. Frozen fish also works as long as it comes from fresh fish. Oilier fish like shad, cod, herring or salmon work well in attracting crawfish.

Things You'll Need

  • Crayfish trap
  • Bait
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