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19 responses to “Crayfishing and Childhood”

  1. Ron

    Why thank you sir! That was a joy to read and seemed almost a direct response to my question in the catfish comments. Brings back a lot of childhood memories of my own: turning over rocks in a little creek in Charlotte, N.C. I’m planning on setting a couple of traps down on a lake in Missouri next week and can only hope I’ll have as much luck as you did there.

  2. Andrew

    I think these are the crayfish I’d catch on Vancouver Island. I’d throw salmon guts into a back eddy in the evening and then pick them up when they came out to feed. I filled a grocery bag. It was a lot of fun.

  3. Christine

    Thanks for the memories, Hank! I used to spend my childhood summer vacations catching crayfish on a hooked worm in Ontario, Canada. I’d flick them onto shore and scoop them into a minnow pail with the cottage kitchen utensils. After releasing them, they were much smarter and more difficult to catch the following day. This only made it more fun.

  4. Janie

    That was a great read, thank you! We have Signals in the UK but not in the south west so I’ve never had the pleasure. Boy would I love to though!

  5. Oliver

    Loved that post, thank you. When I lived in England, American signal crayfish were a popular haul of what is a pest there. Here in Australia, we have a few different species, but pretty much anywhere you go, one ‘yabby’ or another fills many people’s childhood memories. Mine is as a 7 year old snorkelling in a clear water river, spearing them with a kitchen fork – sounds unsporting now, but you know what they say boys will be.
    My take on our version here:

  6. Yabby (Cherax destructor) « The Forager's Year

    […] more crayfish tales, I’ve come across a great American one here Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeOne blogger likes […]

  7. Bill

    I would use chicken livers to catch crawdads in the San Joaquin River, then use the crayfish as bait to catch catfish from the bank. Worked like a charm every time. One of my fondest memories came at a swimming hole near Oakdale. My brother promised me a rope swing into the river, and he delivered. I came to find out that in this particular spot — it was very deep. There was a wide hole in the bottom of the river. Being the curious chap that I was, I wanted to see what was down there, I dove as far as I could into that hole and waited for the murkiness to clear. There, in this hole, sat nature’s shelving at every level. And, on every shelf, sat the most giant crawdads I’d ever seen. Some must have been a foot and a half long. Needless to say, they terrified me! Those claws were huge! That was the end of “swinging on the rope” fun for that day. Thank goodness I didn’t break my neck like so many others did on those haphazardly set up rope swings.

  8. teala

    The Boy and I just pulled in a 10 or so pound hall from Donner Lake this week using canned cat food and traps. Had a Donner Party Crawfish Boil CA style using some mismatched beers, bay leaves, thyme, serano’s, onion, taters and fresh white corn w/a healthy helping of Old Bay in one big pot. Everytime we’d pull up a pot the boy would do a Crawfish Dance on the dock. Good times!

  9. IF

    Last fall camping on a High Sierra lake the weather started to turn and wind and rain arrived. Lots of crayfish made it into the shallow, searching for food. Like you I caught about 30 on a rod and hat tails and claws for dinner. The next day you couldn’t tell that there were any crayfish in the clear lake…

  10. IF

    P.S. You probably want to use different resampling options for downscaling the first image. Not sure what you used in CS4 but I suggest to try one of the bicubic options.

  11. Jim

    Great story! I grew up in Green Brook, NJ, about 10 minutes from Westfield. Just the other day I was telling my 8yr old daughter how I used to catch crayfish in NJ when I was a boy. She thought it was the most amazing thing. Now she does it on her Grandma’s farm in Indiana. The torch has passed. Thanks for memories!

  12. Mike

    WOW! I almost sold my crawdad trap a few weeks ago due to the fact that I had not used it in some 12+ years… I’m going out today for the first “‘dads” in some time… Thanks for the story!

  13. Peter

    Hank, you research stuff pretty darn carefully, but I wonder if you are right about crays not being native to California. I knew the man, for example, who in 1908 carted a bunch of them from Ross, in Marin County, to the west shore of Lake Tahoe. That was four years before your stated date of their release from that experiment. And how could they populate all the watercourses all over northern CA as they do? Did they go overland by themselves?

    Those critters are now so numerous in Tahoe that someone just got all the permitting needed to start fishing them commercially, the catch going to the kitchens of Harrah’s Culb in Reno, I think.

    We used to snorkel them at Tahoe, grabbing from behind the carapace, but still getting nipped at times. What fun, you are right

  14. Nate @ House of Annie

    We used to catch crayfish with hook and line in a stream behind my house in Honolulu. Brought home a huge bucket load one time and spent a lovely afternoon cleaning, then wok-frying, then eating the little buggers.

    They tasted great. Thanks for sparking a taste memory!

  15. Jerry

    We used to catch them with little bits of bacon out of Sonoma creek in Sonoma, CA when I was a kid. we’d get them by the bucketload. Thanks for reminding me of a more peaceful time.

  16. Mollie Garnes


    This post was fun to read. It brought back such fond memories!

    We caught crawfish, using old hot dogs, out of Stevens Creek in Cupertino on our way to and from the pool in the summer. We’d also catch them from the Big Basin area when camping each Memorial Day.

    Never did we have such success, though. Our big catch was ten! I’ll remember to tell my son to try punctured cat food cans when he’s old enough to give it a try.

    Thanks for sharing. Neat picture of the crawfish in yellow, too.

  17. Ryan

    Describe the flavour. I’ve had some before that were a little muddy tasting. I’d imagine these’d be delicious coming from a mountain stream!

  18. shotgunner

    Thanks for the kick in the pants. I got out my trusty old crawdad trap and last night caught 60+ in three hours soak.

    Olive season coming soon too. Thanks again.

  19. Chris

    People can claim that all those “hotdogs” and “bacon” and such works the best but you have to wonder what crawdads eat most of the time.. and it’s fish. You can’t wrong with some dead sucker minnows in there. Bait stores usually give them away for free if you talk to the employee when it comes time to clean out his tanks. The bigger the better too. My neighbor also claims that he has the best luck with chicken guts… hmmm. I dig your images here on this post. You must have a camera on a tripod.

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