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anthropic, catscratch, Dave Davidson1, esshup, ewest, FishinRod, John Kruid, teehjaeh57
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Original Post (Thread Starter)
#544722 03/01/2022 3:01 PM
by Jambi
Greetings! We have a one year old newly constructed 8 acre pond south of Tulsa, OK. I have all the normal stockings of Bluegill, fatheads, golden shiners. I'd say way above normal numbers of baitfish stocked and doing well. I want to add crawfish to the mix. I've trapped a few here and there on other ponds on our property so they eventually will find a way to this new pond, but not in very good numbers.

Is it ok to jump start the crawfish population and have a couple sacks (50-60#) of live crawfish shipped in from one of the online Louisiana stores? I could even do a road trip to NW Louisiana and drive them 'home'.

During construction, We dumped several loads of concrete blocks that are now in 2 to 4 FOW. I think this would make excellent crawfish habitat.

Thanks for help.
Liked Replies
#544773 Mar 2nd a 03:33 PM
by Quarter Acre
Quarter Acre
As far as what crawdads eat, I'd say almost anything...live, dead, plant, animal, eggs, young, etc. I have not found a submerged plant that they won't eat. They seem to leave my Pickerel Weed, Arrowhead, and Water Canna alone, but they are pretty tough and emergents at that. They love American Pond Weed & Water Primrose, and do considerable damage to water lilies.

Brushy Pondweed should make a good meal for them given that there is not anything else in abundance that the craws would prefer. I find that the craws tend to chew the bases off of the submerged plants more so than eat the whole plant. In some cases this kills the plant, but in others it could promote more growth if the plant can grow from the cuttings.
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#544775 Mar 2nd a 04:22 PM
by Bill Cody
Bill Cody
IMO it is difficult, if not very difficult, to get crayfish established in a pond with adult bass present. To get them established one needs lots of their preferred habitat as cover, usually extensive rocky shorelines; heavy wood cover might work.

Bass and panfish love to eat all the various sizes of crayfish. Smaller fish eat the new crays less than 1" and bass eat the larger ones depending on the size of crayfish and bass. Crays around 6" long might persist as breeders with 18"+ bass present - maybe not? Again habitat is important. If bass can eat the largest crayfish then when they die of old age without adequate cover, who survives to create crayfish eggs and hatchlings?

Crayfish provide good plant control for several reasons: 1. crayfish density compared to plant density is important,
2. Crayfish as omnivores eat a wide variety of plant material,
3. As their density increases crayfish more disturb sediments making murky water as described above by QuarterAcre. Murky water reduces light penetration that limits plant growth. Less plant material feeds fewer crayfish. Murky water proportionally reduces phytoplankton production as the base of the food chain. This limits natural production of fish. It is all a matter of balance.
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#544785 Mar 2nd a 07:52 PM
by Quarter Acre
Quarter Acre
Originally Posted by catscratch
...KS has 11 or 12 species of crayfish. Any possibility of screwing up a pond via trapping or seining out of a local creek? ...

You'll find a few opinions on this, but since you are more concerned than most about introducing odd species...I suggest you become acquainted with identifying the craws in your area. At least the more common natives and any invasives that may be around.

This way you can ID a good species or two to transplant and avoid any bad ones that show up in the trap/net.

Identifying craws can be pretty tricky, but it should be fairly easy to ID the bad ones from the rest of them. And, If in doubt...throw it back.

Some say...the invasive species is already here, why bother with avoiding the transplant. While others are more active in preservation of the natives. At any rate, transplanting craws from a nearby BOW should not ruin you pond with regards to species unless you transplant the tunneling type. I have heard they can damage the dam. The trick is stocking the craws at the right time in the right quantities. OR, you may find that your HBG pond dream turns into a great crawdad farm...lol
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#544772 Mar 2nd a 03:22 PM
by Quarter Acre
Quarter Acre
All it takes to seed a pond with crawdads is a few berried females. They tend to have eggs (berries) in the spring only. If you have other BOW's with crawdads in them, start trapping about mid march and look for eggs under their tail. Move the ones with eggs to your new pond. I'd say 20-30 berried females per acre would be a good number to shoot for. This approach will add hundreds of crawdads to the pond and allow them to balance themselves naturally.

I would advise to wait, however, until you have adult predator's. I learned the hard way and stocked my pond with hundreds of adult crawdads (1-3" long) at the same time I was growing the stocked fish...the crawdads were too big for the small stocked fish to eat and the crawdads multiplied significantly and kept growing to reach 5 inches long. They stayed ahead of the mouth gape of my stocked fish and I ended up with too many crawdads. The water is muddy from them and I have difficulty getting any vegetation to grow in the water.

Do your research and do not stock non-native crawdads. Besides the legal aspect of it, non natives can change your local ecosystem.

If you are wiling to travel, I suspect I will start trapping out crawdads in a couple weeks and there should be berried females in the traps by the end of March. Otherwise, I have trapped all summer long for the last 2 years and should have plenty to give away. So, keep an eye open for my "Crawdads...Free to a Good Home!" thread located here....


What crawdads don't go to Pond Boss members to help stock their ponds get....eaten.
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#544784 Mar 2nd a 07:29 PM
by catscratch
Possibly silly question for those advocating bucket stocking from trapping locals?

KS has 11 or 12 species of crayfish. Any possibility of screwing up a pond via trapping or seining out of a local creek? My assumption has always been that anything in a local creek has been introduced into area ponds at some point through natural means, so it wouldn't matter if you transplanted... but I'm also very careful about introducing species and paranoid about messing up what I've got.
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#544752 Mar 1st a 10:00 PM
by ewest
Yes they do - to all - if you aren't subscribed to PB mag you should.
1 member likes this
#544774 Mar 2nd a 04:03 PM
by Augie
To anyone considering adding crayfish to the forage base in your pond:

Ignore Noel's advice at your own peril. Especially the part about having predators in the pond that are big enough to consume adult crayfish.
1 member likes this
#544776 Mar 2nd a 04:26 PM
by ewest
Originally Posted by anthropic
Eric, could crawfish help control excess bushy pondweed? Also, could they slow down LMB production? Like most pondmeisters, I have to harvest lots of LMB every year to keep things in balance..

Craws effect on fisheries depends on many factors including which species you add. Never add Rusty Craws IMO. My answer to OP assumed he had adult predators as he said it was a one year old pond with lots of forage. If not then my answer would change to much like Quater Acre's.

Craws will eat plants of most types as well as lots of other stuff including fish eggs. They can slow LMB reproduction a little but would have a bigger impact on BG reproduction. LMB are large enough to eat craws that move on their nest but BG can't eat adult craws. Like all things results depend on the location - it depends on numbers and facts.

From one Study;

Abstract.�We attempted to control a population of papershell crayfish (Orconectes immunis) in an 11-hectare fish-rearing impoundment in Jackson County, Wisconsin, by using traps and by stocking largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). Crayfish were harvested with traps during the summer of 1985, and the pond was stocked with 386 largemouth bass (mean weight, 1.1 kg) in spring 1986. The pond was drained in the fall of 1985 and 1986, and crayfish burrow counts were made to estimate the population. In 1985, we trapped more than 18,000 crayfish, of which 72% were adult males. Trapping had minor effect on the young-of-the-year crayfish. In 1986, the crayfish population was reduced by 98%, predation by largemouth bass being the probable major cause of the reduction.
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#544781 Mar 2nd a 06:28 PM
by RAH
Disclaimer: This is anecdotal. I had a healthy population of unwanted curly leaf pondweed in my SMB/YP/GSH pond. Two years after adding papershell crayfish, I had to look hard to find any pondweed. I did build a rock jetty for cover and released the crayfish next to it. The pondweed has not returned. I also tried to trap some crayfish near the jetty last spring and did not catch any.
1 member likes this
#544815 Mar 3rd a 04:46 PM
by Augie
36-ish varieties of crayfish live in Misery.

Misery Crayfishes
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