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Crawfish, or crayfish, are great as friends AND food. Unlike the popular saying by Bruce the shark in the movie, Finding Nemo, these crawfish can be found to complete a delicious meal or be kept as pets. But in this case, we’ll just stick to how to find them and catch them to eat.

Crawfish can be found wherever there is shallow, slow-moving freshwater like lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams. They like to hang out at the bottom, covered by rocks and plants, and eat whatever ends up around them like little fish or nearby vegetation.

They also thrive in an environment with lots of rain and warm temperatures, which is probably why you may automatically associate it with the south – particularly Louisiana. Louisiana has the perfect climate for crawfish to grow, especially in the springtime. However, the south isn’t the only place you can find these shellfish. Washington has its own crawfish called “signal crayfish”.


Now that you have an idea of WHERE to find these little guys, here’s a few ways on HOW to catch them for yourself! *BUT before heading out, make sure you do your research to find out if where you decide to fish requires a license or not! Okay, now to the fun part – catching crawfish.

There are 3 main methods: by hand, by trap, or by bait and string. The first method does not need any bait, but the other two do. HAND: This is probably the most fun. Since crawfish swim backwards, you can catch them from behind.

All you have to do is stand downstream from a current (meaning the water is flowing towards you), lift up rocks, and either scoop them up or grab them from behind their head with your fingers. You can also use protective gloves or dip net.

*These next two methods require bait (fresh is always best) such as salmon, trout, carp, herring, and even raw meats like chicken and pork. You can also use fish-based cat or dog food. Always set traps with bait BEFORE placing in water.

TRAP (with bait): Traps can be left open for a few hours (a collapsible net) or closed overnight (cone-shaped funnel not exceeding three feet). Bait should be kept in a nylon stocking to prevent quick-eating and the trap should gradually funnel the crawfish into a small opening, making it difficult to find a way out.

STRING (with bait): Work best with raw chicken leg. Tie bait to nylon string, dip and soak in stream for a few minutes. Because of the chicken’s tough skin, the crawfish will attach itself on if bait is slowly lifted and then scooped into a dip net. You need to be quick because crawfish will let go after they break the surface of the water.

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