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Best Way to Catch Crawfish

Best Way to Catch Crawfish

Crawfish go by a lot of names. Some people call them crayfish, others call them crawfish, crawdads, yabbies, freshwater (or mountain) lobsters and even (shudder) “mudbugs.”However, regardless of what you call them, there is little doubt that most members of this rather humble species of decapods are a vital food resource throughout the world. This is why knowing how to catch crayfish or crawfish is the missing chapter in every fisherman’s life book.

Catching crawfish is an excellent and fun activity for couples, children, grandkids, and anyone who would like to have a fun and entertaining day in the water. Fishing for these creatures is a unique and relatively low-cost activity that often results in a delicious, wild harvested meal that you will love. Crawfish are tiny ten-legged crustaceans. And you can find them in nearly all water bodies, particularly in freshwater lakes and rivers.

Where to Catch Crawfish

You can catch crawfish in pretty much any stream, pond, or lake which has enough places for these fish to hide and enough food supply. Note that you will easily find them under rocks as well as around different water plants.

Do you know that crawfish are usually scavengers? So, you can also found them at the bottom of a lake or river. You will be better off looking in areas with lots of rocks for crawfish to hide under or near water plants which are usually rooted under the surface, like Cattails. Crawfish are often found on the bottom often in search of food are they are scavengers.

Best Bait for Crawfish

It is very important to use the right bait for crawfish so you can catch them effectively and efficiently. Crawfish have an evolved sense of smell. This is why they are able to make excellent use of their long feelers in order to locate their next meal. It is worth mentioning that some bait tends to work better than others. 

You will find that everything from chicken parts and bacon to hotdogs work really well for catching crawfish. However, fresh fish parts and dead fish are the best bait in most cases. So, you may use various parts of oily fish, like the head, tails and guts for salmon, walleye, carp, herring, trout and perch. You can also use raw meat, like pork and chicken. You may even use pieces of hotdog and cat food to bait crayfish. However, always make sure that the meat you use for the bait is fresh. This is because crawfish are not attracted to rotten meat.

Methods to Catch Crawfish 


You can catch a good number of crayfish very easily by using either handled nets (with a sturdy wood or metal rim) or drop nets (you can improvise them easily using any netting material and a bike wheel for the rim). The most effective technique when using a drop net is to use it as an active trap. You will have to bait the center with a juicy tidbit and then lift the contraption at specific intervals in order to remove crayfish that have been lured in. 

When you spot crawfish, go slowly and gently sweep your net towards the crawfish from its tail. Don’t make the mistake of scooping the crawfish from its head as they swim backward when startled. It is worth noting that using a handled net will allow you to be more active in your fishing technique. Once you have identified your quarry, you should position your net gradually behind the crayfish before you can move your hand toward it from the front. Note that crayfish’s flight instinct will kick in and cause it to propel itself back into your waiting net.

Lift and Catch

Catching a crawfish by hand is the least expensive way to score them. If you are out fishing in a shallow river or stream and want to find some yummy crawfish for your seafood dinner, then you may easily use your hands in order to catch some crawfish manually. 

It is worth noting that crawfish population often inhabits the bottom of rocks as well as plants in various shallow water bodies. You should go into shallow parts of the water and then carefully look under plants and rocks for any crawfish. It is important that you don’t make any sudden movements that may scare the crayfish that are hiding under the rocks. Also, if you move too hastily, you will likely kick up sand and mud. So, avoid it.

When you spot crawfish under the plants or rock, gentle pick them up by cupping both your hands and lift them out of the water.

You may also use a stick and bucket to scoop the crawfish. All you have to do is carefully put your bucket a couple of inches behind the crawfish. Now, tap the crayfish gently or wave your stick in front of them. As you know that crayfish tend to swim backward, they will swim into your bucket. 

Use the Bait and String Method 

This method is both fun and simple. Therefore, it can be a good and fun family activity as well. You will just need a fishing pole or rod, fishing string and some bait. First, you will have to attach the bait to your string. You can use a fish hook or safety pin to do this. It is important to connect the bait securely so that the crayfish don’t get away. It is worth noting that you can use artificial lures, like grubs.

Place the bait, such as chicken pieces, into the water and jiggle them a little until you feel a tug on your string. Now, gently pull your bait to the shore and then slowly pull it out of the water. Also, note that you can use a fish net in order to scoop the crayfish when you sense the tug. This is one of the best ways to prevent the crawfish from releasing the bait.

Final Thoughts 

Whether you are planning to catch crawfish for fun, or for food, we hope these methods will help you out!