Recreational Crawfishing?
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Recreational Crawfishing?
Posted by Mako on 1/14 at 9:12 am
I have always wanted to do a little crawfishing on my own. I know that you can catch crawfish in the basin with hand nets. I have access to a large track of land in the basin and would like to try crawfishing one weekend this year.

I understand crawfish live in holes and come out when its warm. I have always been curious as to when farmers crawfish in pounds/rice fields are there already crawfish there or do they 'stock' the area?

Question - What do you look for in places to crawfish? Any tips or recommendations on types of nets/traps to use/bait/set time.

This post was edited on 1/14 at 9:23 am

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Posted by TJG210 on 1/14 at 9:58 am to Mako
I would like more information on this as well. I've been a handful of times in the Spillway (New Orleans) and Honey Island Swamp, but have never had any great success.

A few things I've learned,
- Equipment depends on where you are crawfishing, if you are crawfishing in water that is less than 16" deep you want to use triangle set nets which are commonly called puddle nets.
- If its deeper than that you would want to use "deepwater nets".....essentially a crab net with smaller mesh.

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Posted by TigerPimpNationTrank on 1/14 at 10:16 am to Mako
Best bait to use is beef melt - basically it is neck tissue from a cow. Go to your local butcher and ask for it.

It's thick, lots of tendons lnd very bloody so it sticks on the nets very well and doesn't come off very easy at all.

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Posted by hardhead on 1/14 at 10:20 am to TigerPimpNationTrank

beef melt


and yes its the best bait

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Posted by yellowfin on 1/14 at 10:21 am to Mako
Most pond farming in done in fields that have had rice grown the prior year, yes we stock with crawfish in June for the following year

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Posted by 2indapink on 1/14 at 10:24 am to TigerPimpNationTrank
Pillow traps in deeper water. Set trap on the bottom and hang from a tree. Tupelo and Cypress swamp are a good start. Stagnant water doesn't do as well as water that might fluctuate in depth. Gives the crawfish oxygen in warmer temps. Water temperature is the key in when they come out in fishable numbers. Cut bait (pogies or shad) in the trap until the water temps warm. Then pelletized bait (looks like a light colored turd). When water gets warm/low make sure the top portion of the trap sticks out of the water to allow the crawfish a way to get oxygen. A table to sort is essential. Throw out all dead/crushed ones and any bait left over can be re-used or tossed. Make sure to pack your sacks as full as possible and put a good knot in the string. Be gentle when stacking or loading/un loading your catch. Don't intrude on any already established lines. I think you have to have a commercial license for anything over 25 traps. Check LDWF.

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Posted by Mako on 1/14 at 11:48 am to TigerPimpNationTrank
So am I just looking for moving water in the basin?

How long do I leave thr trap for? And how long can crawfish live in a trap?

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Posted by wickowick on 1/14 at 11:51 am to Mako
I have used set traps along the levees, south of Ramah, in high water in the grass. 2 dozen traps and I got no rest running continuously...

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Posted by Mako on 1/14 at 12:08 pm to wickowick
What is the most affordable traps? Where can I get some traps?

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Posted by Boats n Hose on 1/14 at 12:13 pm to Mako
Cheap ones can be had at academy. They won't last very long if you use them a good but though

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Posted by jimbeam on 1/14 at 12:14 pm to Boats n Hose
Can get small rice field style traps for a couple bucks well made

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Posted by RATeamWannabe on 1/14 at 12:20 pm to Mako
I think its a lot more fun to get the nets and make a day out of it once it gets warmed up. Used to have a whole lot of fun as a kid stomping around the swamp in boots and jeans lifting those nets with a forked stick that doubled as a snake pole

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Posted by faxis on 1/14 at 12:36 pm to RATeamWannabe
Not to mention snakes make good bait as well. We'd kill the water snakes we'd run across and then ran out of bait so we started cutting them into pieces. Crawfish loved it.

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Posted by fishfighter on 1/14 at 12:41 pm to faxis
Set nets if you are just looking for a couple sacks. Google "South Farm" just north of I-10 west of BR about 20 miles. It is a WMA and one will need a fishing lic along with a WMA stamp.

Limited to 100lbs per group per day.

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Posted by 2indapink on 1/14 at 1:13 pm to Mako
Not necessarily moving water but water that rises/falls at a few diff times of the year. Not just stagnant water. If the water is too hot, one day maybe two at the most. Alot of dead ones (15-20 per trap) means water is too hot. Cooler water or after a good rain (feb-april) 2-3 day sets.

Look on la sportsman or CL for used pillow traps. If looking to do it for the long haul and make money buy a roll of 3x coated wire and make your own. Pierre Part store or Net Company in Jonesville. Need good coated string (trot line string), flagging, and good clothes pins.

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Posted by Mako on 1/14 at 1:28 pm to 2indapink
Really just looking to do it two or three times a year. I know it will be hard work. But, If I can make it payoff (catch two sacks worth 60 to 80lbs), thats worth the time to me.

I have never been on south farm, but I am familar with the area. We hunt on the property north of there.

Is there anythign besides moving water - like flooded timber, that would make a good spot. Our property floods every winter, at least a few thousand acres of it. Should I be in new water or next to places that hold water year around - bayous or ponds?

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Posted by OldSouth on 1/14 at 1:42 pm to TigerPimpNationTrank

Best bait to use is beef melt - basically it is neck tissue from a cow.

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Posted by TJG210 on 1/14 at 2:04 pm to 2indapink

Look on la sportsman or CL for used pillow traps.

This is what I was going to all of my pillow traps from CL.

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Posted by thekid on 1/14 at 7:39 pm to Mako
I from Morgan City and my dad took me crawfish ing every year.
We would go to different areas of the atchafalaya basin sometimes in wooded sleus, sometimes more open areas...
We always were in shallow water (no more than 3ft deep) and we used pirogues...
We used double-hooped nets with a shower hook in the middle to hold the bait. We run 20-30 nets each, we used a paddle to make sure the nets rested on the bottom...
My dad would freeze the remains of the fish we cleaned all year and that is what we used for bait...
We would run the nets every 30-40 minutes or's important to keep moving the unproductive nets and keep your bait fresh...a lot of times by the time your done with a run, it would be time go again...
We would catch 2-5 sacks most trips...

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Posted by Spankum on 1/14 at 9:38 pm to Mako
I haven't crawfished in a long time...don't overdo it with the preperations or planning...

basically just get yourself a couple of dozen nets, about a 15' piece of wooden dowel rod with a nail driven in the end, and some bait like beef melt or fish basically want something that is bloody but durable...

find a good sized road ditch, rice field, slough, or whatever with some pretty muddy water in it and when it starts to get hot, try your luck...

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