Crawfishing 101: 3 Easy Methods for Catching Crawfish

Does anyone here love munching on crawfish? I’m talking about the fresh ones cooked and seasoned right from from the lake.

It’s one of the heartiest meals I’ve ever had especially when I know that it took effort to get a bucketful of them. If you love crawfish, then you should know how to catch crawfish...

Don’t they look good?

Crawfishes are small ten-legged crustaceans that can be found in almost all water bodies especially in freshwater rivers and lakes. They’re called many names - crawdads, crayfishes, and mudbugs.

These tasty little lobsters are best steamed with Cajun seasoning. Aside from the great taste crawfishes have, they’re also fun to catch. In fact, there are many crawfishing methods (which we’ll tell you in detail later) which are quite exciting because I’m getting bored of sitting in the open waters and luring bass.

Kidding! In essence, crawfishes taste great, and they’re fun to catch – both reasons are enough to get you up and about and start catching a bucket of crayfishes!

With no further ado, I present to you the insert number here) of catching crawfish.

Crawfishing Methods

Method #1. Lift and catch​

Crawfish can easily be caught by hand

If you’re fishing in a shallow stream or river and decided to find some crawfish for a full seafood dinner, you can easily use your hand to catch crawfish manually.

Crawfish population inhabits the bottom of rocks and plants in shallow water bodies. To catch crawfish by hand, follow the steps below.

Step 1. Wade into the water and start on the downstream side of the rock.

Step 2. Gently lift the rock. No rush here! You might startle the crawfish if you raise quickly. Also, mud might stir up upon lifting the rock aggressively which might obstruct the water and let the crawfish scurry away.​

Step 3. You should see a crawfish sitting peacefully underneath the rock if you lifted it correctly. Now you can catch the crawfish in two ways:

1) by picking it behind the head with your thumb and forefinger (for bigger crawfish) or cupping it with your palms (for smaller crawfish) and

2) by wading the crawfish with a stick towards a small bucket behind them (about 5-6 inches behind). Crawfish tend to swim backward so they’ll directly swim towards the bucket.​

Here’s a live action of catching crawfish by hand.​

Voila! Now you have your fresh catch.

This method is by far the quickest way to catch a crawfish. Of course, you can’t catch crawfish this way when you’re in deeper water bodies.


Method #2. Use traps and bait

Traps works best for crawfishing

Using traps to catch crawfish is perhaps the easiest way of catching large quantities of crawfish. By “easy”, I mean that you just have to leave it submerged underwater for hours or sometimes, overnight then come back and take your harvest out of the water.

During the prime season, you can catch at least 20 to 30 pounds of crawfish with the right trap.

Basically, crawfish traps are of two kinds – the open trap and the closed trap. Open traps are simply collapsible nets that are entirely open on one end like the ones you use for catching butterflies and insects, but of course, they have smaller grids.

In contrast, closed traps have a cylinder-like shape made of chicken wire of other materials that can form a malleable grid. They are funneled on one end and closed on the other. Both traps allow crawfish to enter while preventing escape.

Also, closed traps are best used left overnight to catch more crawfish while open traps are meant for day-use.

Step 1. Choose a bait for the trap. Without a bait, the crawfish won’t be attracted to your trap. A good bait makes all the difference between catching 5 pounds/trap to getting at least 20 to 30 pounds/trap.

Crawfish are attracted to fresh meat. You can use salmon heads, fish gills, cod heads, and roe herring - anything fresh and fish-based. Also, crawfish are big eaters so make sure to put lots of baits.

Step 2. Put the bait inside the trap.

Step 3. Tie strings on the sides of your traps to hook them on rocks while they are suspended in the water.

Step 4. Lower the trap into the water and tie the strings on solid rocks or other objects that will surely hold them in place.

Step 5. For open traps, leave it for 4 to 6 hours. For closed traps, leave it overnight.

Step 6. Finally, retrieve your traps and be glad with the outcome.

Watch the video below to see how crawfish are caught with a bait and a trap.

Is the whole family ready for the crawfish feast? Now, all you need is to cook the whole thing.

Yes, catching fish by trapping and baiting them is an easy peasy job.


Method #3. Use a line and bait

Are you a fan of catching sea creatures with a fishing rod and line all the time? Well, this method is made for you. This method is the way to go if you plan to catch crawfish on deeper waterbodies.

Step 1. Attach the same bait you used on Method #2 to your string’s hook.

Step 2. Lower the bait into the water and wait until you feel a tug at the end of the line.

Step 3. Slowly bring the still submerged bait as close as possible to the shore before pulling it out of the water. If you’re too far from the coast, just lift the line, set the catch aside and put a new bait then lower it into the water once more.

Step 4. Place the crawfish in a bucket.

Here’s an actual catching of crawfish using a fishing line and a bait.

Some tips for a successful crawfishing

  • Contrary to popular belief, livestock meat such as chicken and pork as bait don’t work as well as fish-based baits. Stick with fish-based baits.
  • In shallow waters, look for concealed places such as those covered with grass, mud, and rocks. Crawfish usually reside in the places mentioned. Also, algae are abundant in areas like that which means that crawfish frequenting the area are bigger and healthier.
  • A general rule of thumb when it comes to the best time to catch crawfish is during nighttime. Crawfish are nocturnal, and they usually burrow out from their habitats at night to hunt for prey. Thus, the best way to catch crawfish at night is through closed traps.
  • April and October are the best months for crawfishing. Crawfish thrive mostly during warmer months.

NEVER thrust your hand blindly into the water looking for crawfish. Crawfish have pretty sharp claws you see. Unless, you have a target in sight, do not attempt to take your chances by wading through the water.

Best served steaming hot with sweet corn!

Ah, the mere photo of cooked crawfish makes me want to go to the nearest lake and set my closed trap. Oh, it’s just March, maybe I’d have to wait a little.

I’m sure you’ll be successful with your crawfishing with either of the methods above. Crawfishing really isn’t that hard as fishing bigger fisher. You just got to have a lot of patience, really put in some effort, and apply the methods correctly.

Hey there! Are you fond of crawfishing? How do you catch crawfish? What’s your go-to method? Teach us master!

Do you think you’ll have a bountiful catch next time using the methods above? If so, let’s teach others too by sharing this article. Cheers!

John Morris
 

Hi, I’m John Morris. I’m an avid outdoorsman and fisherman, blessed with an awesome wife and 2 kids. Fishing is not my passion, it is my lifestyle. I fished before I knew how to walk! I’m obsessed with all things related to fishing, even the fishy smell, and I’m always willing to extend a hand to novice anglers looking for fishing tips and tricks thus I created this blog. This blog is a collection of my experiences, knowledge, and also researches from other blogs.

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