Live Crawfish, Crayfish or Mudbugs ~ Cooking Crawfish in Crawfish Season

Cooked crawfish

A heaping platter of cooked crawfish.
A heaping platter of cooked crawfish. | Source


In the Spring of each year aficionados of live crawfish, also called crayfish, crawdads or even mudbugs start flocking to restaurants where they are cooking crawfish once crawfish season has begun.

My husband and a friend and I recently went to a Chinese buffet restaurant in Houston, Texas that featured seafood among their offerings.

Every time a large batch of freshly boiled crawfish was brought out, it literally only took a few minutes of time for that large pan to be emptied by ravenous patrons eager to sample these delicacies.

Several restaurant patrons nicely allowed me to take a couple of pictures of a freshly delivered batch before they dug into that pile of cooked crawfish piling their plates high with these tasty freshwater crustaceans.

Crawfish Season

While crayfish can be found living in freshwater year round in almost all places around the globe, their shells are not as soft as they are in the Spring of the year from about March until June.

This makes it easier for people to eat them.

How to eat Crawfish

Cooking Crawfish

Crawfish generally grow to be about 4 inches ( 10 cm ) in length although there are exceptions with some getting much larger. It literally takes a mound of crawfish to make a meal because primarily the small amount of tail meat is what is commonly eaten.

Some people also suck the fatty portions from the head of the animal which absorbs some of the flavorings from the pot's boiling mixture.

Flavorings added to the large pots of boiling water differ depending upon local preferences.

In the South Cajun seasonings tend to be spicy and might include such things as cayenne pepper, Tobasco sauce, bay leaves, lemons, garlic, onions and even some sausage, corn and potatoes.

Some of the same flavorings for boiling shrimp can also be used when boiling crayfish. It is all a matter of taste.

Crawfish Farming

Crayfish farming

Most of the farmed crayfish come from areas in Louisiana where marshy areas also support the growing of rice.

In fact the greatest percentage of crayfish arriving in restaurants all across America come from the State of Louisiana.

Crawfish chimneys

Built by mudbugs, aka crawfish, crayfish or crawdads.
Built by mudbugs, aka crawfish, crayfish or crawdads. | Source
More evidence of crawfish activity.
More evidence of crawfish activity. | Source
Crawfish tunnel
Crawfish tunnel | Source


I was under the false impression that crawfish built their mud based tunnels (also known as chimneys) above ground when we had rainy weather. I seem to spot more of them at that time when walking our greenbelt area.

But from reading several articles including one from the Smithsonian Institution, it appears that crayfish build them when water is scarce...just the opposite of what I had believed. The females also lay their eggs in these chimneys returning to their regular habitats when water levels return to normal.

They are quite the little home builders! Crawfish also create tunnels beneath the ground. Photos taken on one of our walks show the appearance of what these temporary "homes" look like. They must all attend the same architecture school!

Perhaps their use of mud in constructing those chimneys is how crawfish also became known as mudbugs!

The crawfish hunter

Catching Crawfish

While walking along our greenbelt area in our subdivision we often see kids fishing for crawfish down in the ditch where excess water is directed. Obviously with a little patience they typically are rewarded for their efforts.

This is the same greenbelt area that is festooned with masses of wildflowers each Spring and into the Summer months. Birds, turtles and dragonflies also call the greenbelt home.

Once when we lived in our old subdivision and were walking our dogs, we came upon a lone crawfish in the middle of the sidewalk. He had his claws up and threatened us as we approached him.

This little 4 inch crustacean that looked like a mini lobster acted like a gladiator readied for battle!

We honored his temporary sidewalk space and cut a wide swath around him. Where he came from or where he went after we proceeded on our walk was unknown to us.

Suffice it to say, that crayfish co-exist with those of us who share spaces where there are creeks, rivers, swampy areas, ditches with water and other aquatic locales.

These crustaceans from the superfamily known as Astacoidea and Paraastacoidea have been around for millions of years and will probably exist for millions of years into the future if our fresh waters do not become too polluted.

Photo of crawfish


Now you perhaps know a bit more about the live crustaceans named crawfish, crawdads, crayfish and also mudbugs. There are over 600 species world-wide!

Whether you are on the lookout to catch your own crawfish or merely wanted to know more about cooking crawfish, this is now crawfish season, so get out there and enjoy!

Location of Louisiana

A markerLouisiana -
Louisiana, USA
[get directions]

Where most crawfish are commercially farmed.

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© 2011 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed! 42 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello Brenno,

That is true and many people just dump the cooked crawfish, corn on the cob and cooked potatoes which are often cooked with it onto a table covered with newspaper. It can be a casual feast! Thanks for your comment.

Brenno 3 years ago

Thank you! If you want to get really autnihtec you can even forgot the flats or plates and just lay down some newpaper on the table and dump the crawfish straight on the table . :)

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Jamie,

Glad that this hub could bring back happy memories for you of those crawfish boils and gatherings. :)

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Brett,

Nice that you not only know what they are but have tasted cooked crawfish as well. Thanks for the pin and shares.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi moonlake,

They certainly are delicious to eat when in season. Thanks!

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