How To Catch Crayfish With A Net

Catching Crayfish

There are many fairly simple ways to catch crayfish. Some people catch them with traps made especially for this purpose and others simply use their hands. If you aren't terrified of being snipped by a pincher then catching them by hand can often be the simplest approach. I've always just used my hand to scoop them up, but they can some times be fairly elusive. This is usually not a problem unless you are wanting to catch a large number.

One time when I was a kid my family and some friends were camping on cold spring fed river. The shallow water near the bank had thousands of crayfish. I was catching them as fishing bait, but if you went out in to waist deep water and looked down with some goggles you could see huge crayfish all over the place. When my uncle found out about the giant crayfish he set me on a task of collecting as many of them as possible so that we could cook them for dinner. I'd never eaten crayfish before and the idea intrigued me.

I set off on my mission with nothing more than a large bucket and some goggles. I quickly found out however that in the deeper water it was hard to move my hand quick enough to grab the big ones before they would swim away. I continued attempting to catch them by hand for a while, but at some point I realized that I could spend all day out there and not get many.


So we came up with an idea. I would like to take credit for it, but I don't remember exactly who thought of it. It worked really well and I was able to fill about half of a five gallon bucket with giant edible sized crayfish in about an hour. Unfortunately, by the time I brought my catch to camp my uncle was well inebriated and no longer cared about the crayfish, but that is a story for another day.

My Crude Method For Constructing A Net For Catching Crayfish

Here is my method for catching large sums of large or small crayfish. It's very simple yet it works amazingly well.

All you need is a handful of simple items you can piece together from random objects.

a mesh bag or a net - This doesn't actually have to be a legit net. Mine wasn't. If you have ever spent much time on rivers that are frequented by canoes and kayaks then you have probably seen the mesh trash bags that people carry in their boats. This is what I used. A mesh fruit or potato sack would work too. A mesh laundry bag might work as well. Any type of mesh bag should work so long as the crayfish you are after aren't bigger than the holes.

A bendable metal - In my case we used a shirt hangar, but anything similar would work.

Goggles if you are going to be in waist deep water.

Run the bendable wire through the holes in the mesh or netting interweaving it in and out occasionally. Bend the wire around so that it makes a circle. It should end up looking like a crude fishing net without a handle. You can add a handle if you so desire. It's a crude design and you may alter however you so desire.

My Method For Catching The Crayfish With Your Newly Constructed Crude Net

Assuming your construction came out alright, then catching the crayfish is the easiest part. Once you are in the water and have your eye on a crayfish you wish to catch, gently lower the open hoop down behind the crayfish. Make sure that the netting or mesh is pulled back so it's not in the way.

Crayfish swim backwards and they do so very quickly. This is why your contraction must be behind the the crayfish. Once you feel confident on the location of your contraption behind the crayfish simply move your free hand in front of the crayfish. If you've done all of this correctly the crayfish should swim right in to your net.

I know it sounds too easy, but it really works. I really used this simple method to fill half of a five gallon bucket in about an hour. If anyone tries this idea please let me know how it works in the comments section below. Also if you have any thoughts or ideas you wish to contribute feel free to add them in the comments as well.

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Comments 3 comments

Daffy Duck profile image

Daffy Duck 4 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

I remember doing that over 20 years ago. We would go camping every year on the Siletz River in Oregon. We would go to the river in the early morning when no one was around and come back with quite a few. We ended up boiling them in a pot and having a small feast.


Phillbert profile image

Phillbert 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

That's awesome Daffy! It's surprisingly simple to catch them once you kind of figure it out.


Rick 8 months ago

I like to put a hot dog wiener on a hook and lower it in.....the craw dads lach on and you gently hoist them up! Cut the wiener into 4 pieces...hook in the middle and you're good to go.

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