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Trapping Crayfish

Crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads — members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related.

For the scope of this article, we will cover trapping crayfish. Whether you call them crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads these crustaceans area tasty treat for a backpacker or life saving nutrition to a survivalist. A properly built crayfish trap can provide food while we are resting or taking care of other tasks around the camp.

A commercial crayfish / fish trap has cone shaped ends as seen in the images below.

Similar traps can be built using materials such as plastic bottles, wire mesh or wood. In the following sequence we will use a plastic water bottle to build a fish/crayfish trap. As with any other trap, having knowledge of the animal you want to catch. We set the traps in running water around rocks.

Luckily the water was clear enough that we could get a visual on the crayfish. We have been able to catch crayfish in creeks, lakes, brooks and streams.

The first crayfish we caught using our hands. Crayfish are omnivores. If there is no other bait available, we can use the crayfish as bait.

To build the trap we used a one gallon plastic water bottle. We cut the narrower mouth end of the bottle so we can turn it into our cone like ramp for the crayfish to crawl into the trap.

Once the bottle is put together, we placed multiple holes in the bottle so it will allow water in sinking to the bottom. Several holes can be added to the lip of the bottle allowing cordage to be used as an anchor point.

Here my friends Jake Wilson and David Fairchild show off different versions of the same trap. A trap door was added to help retrieve our catch.

The trap can be set for a couple of hours or overnight. The traps were set for a few hours and here are the results.

Add spices to boiling water and dinner is served.

There are other methods to trap crayfish. They can be pulled in using a string with a piece of bait tied to the end. Pulling the string slowly and dropping the crayfish into our hats. Try different methods and enjoy a wonderful dinner.

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