Crayfish (Astacoidea)

Crayfish

  • Size 1-1.5 oz
  • Food Value Excellent
  • Game Qualities None
  • Habitats Lake, River
There are around 500 species of Crayfish found all over the world. Also known as Crawfish, Crawdads, Crawdaddies, Mountain Lobsters, Mudbugs, Yabbies, and more, they have almost as many names as varieties. Whether or not you count catching Crayfish fishing, shellfish lovers go crazy for these tasty little critters.
 
In New Zealand, people also refer to Rock Lobsters as Crayfish. These saltwater species are a close relative, although true Crayfish live in freshwater.

How Big?

The size of Crayfish varies from species to species, but most of them are in the 4-7” range.

When and Where?

Of the 500 species of Crayfish worldwide, over 330 are found in the United States. Crawfish are the state crustacean of Louisiana and are a big part of Cajun cuisine. They’re not limited to the Pelican State, though. You can find them in rivers and streams across the country. Crayfishing is also a popular pastime all over Europe and Australia.
 
Most Crayfish species can’t tolerate polluted water, but some have adapted to city life. They're found throughout the year but they’re most active in the summer months when the water is warmer. April through October is generally the best time to try for them.
Crayfish displaying its pincers
Watch out for those claws!

How to Catch Crayfish

There are a few ways to catch Crayfish. You can dangle worms or artificial grubs just off the bottom and wait for them to grab hold. You can also do the grabbing yourself, checking under rocks and harvesting them with your bare hands. Keeping your movements slow is key to both techniques, to avoid scaring them off or getting a nasty pinch!
 
The most effective way to catch Crayfish is with traps. Bait either open or closed traps with anything from hot dogs to oily fish heads – the most important thing is that your baits are fresh. Once it’s baited, just leave your trap in a stream for a few hours then pull it out and voila!

Good to eat?

Crayfish are a staple food in many parts of the world. You can boil them up whole with corn and potatoes or scoop out meat and flambé it with butter and brandy if you’re feeling really fancy. Crawfish etouffé is a classic Cajun dish served with rice and a thick sauce. 
 
However you cook them, they’re mighty good eating, and they can be great fun to catch, too. So why not take a look in your local stream and see if you can find some dinner?

Fish Species Similar to Crayfish

Crab

Lobster


Top Crayfish Fishing Charters