How To Catch Crawfish? (A Quick Guide)

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how to catch crawfish in your yard

The crawfish season is upon us, so it’s time to get out there and catch some delicious seafood! If you’re planning on taking advantage of this fantastic seasonal opportunity, you may be wondering how to catch crawfish.

Lucky for you, I’ve got a quick rundown of the best tips and tricks to help you enjoy the upcoming crawfish season to its fullest potential!

Best Time And Places To Catch Crawfish

Want to know how to catch crawfish? You must know the best locations and times to catch them. So what seasons are they the most active in?

Let me tell you how and where to catch crawfish. Because if you are planning to catch them during winters, the chances are that you will get nothing in your hands.

How to catch crawfish in winter? It is tough; I don’t think you can. Crawfish like to hibernate during colder months; they hardly come out for food and don’t even mate.

Crawfish on the desk

But, when the seasons get a little hotter, crawfish slowly start getting active again, and in the mild summers, they are at their peak.

The ideal months for a good catch start from April when the sun starts getting its intensity and lasts till late August.

By the end of August, these critters start returning to their hibernation routines. Unarguably, the best month to catch them is during July, when summers are at their peak.

They stay active all night so that you can catch them anytime, day or night. You will find them in shallow waters under rocks and at the creeks. You must carefully lift up the rocks if you are catching them as you might scare them.

What Is The Best Bait To Catch Crawfish?

It is funny how anglers use crawfish or crayfish as bait to fish, and you can use the fish to bait these crustaceans too.

You can use any small fish as they would work well with crawfish. Some suggestions are salmon, carps, walleye, and herrings; you can use fish heads too.

guy using crawfish as bait

You can also use sunfish or gizzard shards. Are you out of fish for bait? Other meats work well too. You can use chicken pieces from your freezer for the rescue.

Many anglers recommend using chicken legs, chicken bones, chicken necks, or backs to be used as baits. But they must be raw if you want to attract the crawdads.

How To Catch Crawfish In 2023?

It doesn’t matter if you need to catch crawfish, use them as baits for larger fish, or just want a delicious dinner. I have sorted out ways for you to know how to trap crawfish. Special baits are unnecessary; there are many ways to catch them as we live in 2023.

#1- Catching Crawdads Using A Trap 

Let me tell you how to catch crawfish with a trap; it is effortless, requires less effort, and you’ll get the most of them by it. The traps available in the market are either closed ones or open traps. They are made out of the net and are mainly cylindrical in shape.

little girl holding crawdad trap

While square traps are also available, I don’t prefer them because I have used them once. They can break easily when they get trapped by the rocks at the bottom of the ocean. Mine broke, and then I had to use other ways to catch them.

You will also need to throw bait in the water before lowering your trap. Use bait boxes or jars if your trap does not come with a bait option.

How long to leave crawfish traps out? You can leave them overnight, but prolonging it can let the crawfish escape, so be careful.

If you are using open traps, you can catch crayfish in several hours.

#2- Catching Crawfish With Bait And String

The string method, also known as bait crawfishing, requires a fishing pole and baits. You can get experimental with bait and use a piece of meat that can be a chicken leg, hotdog, raw meat, chicken neck, or gizzards. Secure them well on your string with a hook.

catching crawfish using fishing line

If you are out of hooks, you would be surprised to know that safety pins do the work well too. But they are to be used for smaller baits. Lower your bait to the water and wait for a crayfish to grab it.

The moment you will feel a little pull when a crayfish takes the bait, slowly pull the string back towards the shore. You will catch a crawfish by the string method this way.

#3- Catch Crawfish By Hand

Thinking about catching crawfish by hand, but their claws scare you? I wouldn’t lie here; they have pinched me a lot.

The older you get, the harder your hands get, and a crayfish’s pinch doesn’t hurt much then. How to catch crayfish by hand without getting any injuries? Don’t worry; their pinch hurts, but it is not unbearable.

person catching crawdad with hand

As they live in shallow waters, you must cautiously lift rocks to find these crustaceans. Once you lift a rock, you’ll be able to see a lot of crayfish under them. Carefully, by using your thumb and index finger, hold the crawdad from above its claws so it won’t pinch you.

You don’t have to use your bare hands; you can wear some good-quality gloves to protect your hands. Also, using a bucket can make your task much smoother; just pick them up from it.

How To Keep Crawfish Alive?

Crawfish is undoubtedly the best live bait to fish most sea creatures throughout the fishing season. They can be expensive to buy and sometimes hard to find. If you know how to catch crawfish, the best option is to capture them and keep them alive at your home for baits.

Here’s how you can do that:

#1- First, You Need To Add Water

Crawdads need water but do remember that they don’t swim entirely in deep water. They prefer shallow waters. This means you don’t need to fill the whole container you are putting them in with water.

Filling the container more than half would be enough for them. Make sure you drill some holes in the top of the container so oxygen can enter inside.

#2- Feed Crawfish A Vegan & Good Diet

Crawfish aren’t picky when it comes to eating; you can feed them anything. But feeding them meat would dirty their water a lot, so it is better to stick with vegetables.

Use carrot shavings or any vegetable that is cut into julienne so the crayfish can hold them up quickly. Feeding them once a week would be enough, but changing their water daily is essential.

#3- Do A Body Search

Please keep a close check on the crayfish and whether they are molting. If they molt, you will have to immediately through their shells away because they can contaminate the water quickly.

Also, keep an eye on them and discard any dead crawfish you see. A dead fish spoils the water so quickly that it can kill the other fish in the container.

Final Verdict:

Now that you know how to catch crawfish, what are you waiting for? These crustaceans are available abundantly in the ocean.

Many states don’t even like them and consider them pests that destroy the ocean’s ecosystem. So why should they stay in the ocean when they are so delicious to eat?

Learn how to catch crawfish in a creek, kill them and then devour them with your family and friends. They can make a delicious treat for everyone if you have a friend who knows how to catch and cook crawfish. Just boil them with some butter, and Cajun seasonings, then have it with lime.

Even if you don’t plan to cook all of them, save the extra ones alive to use as baits for your next fishing trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – Will a minnow trap work for crawfish? 

Yes, a minnow trap works well for crawfish. The working of both a minnow trap and a crawfish trap is pretty similar to each other.

If you cannot find a crawfish trap but get your hands on a minnow trap, go for it. The results you would get from the minnow trap will be the same as from a crawfish trap.

#2 – How deep do you set crawfish traps? 

You can set your crawfish trap 2 to 20 feet deep, depending on the kind of water. You must find rocky bottomed water or a lake or river with slow-moving water because that is where you will catch them.

You can put the trap in water for several hours or overnight, but trapped crawfish can also start escaping. So please keep a check on your trap.

#3 – What’s the best time of year to catch crawfish?

How to catch crawfish without hassle? The best time of the year when you will quickly catch them is during the warmer months.

It is fair to say that you should go for crayfish fishing during the spring or summer. During summers, they are extra active, so you would be able to nail a good catch during that time.

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  • Since 2009 I've been writing on different media portals about fishing. Here on this website, it's time to share those experiences I've witnessed in my entire life so far. Let me help you get the best stuff you need while fishing.