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I am creating some forage ponds for a client and he wants one of them to be for raising crayfish.

I am starting to research on how to make the best crayfish pond in central Illinois and figured Pond Boss would be the best place to start out the researching process. I figured a few others would be interested in the best way to make their own crayfish forage pond and will keep the thread updated with pics and descriptions of the whole process.

This pond will be gravity fed with water whenever needed and will be between 1/2 to 1 acre in size.

1. I need to figure out what would be the best max depth and average depth.

2. Also need to figure out what would be the best bottom substrate- pea gravel, sand, rocks, clay, mud, etc.

3. Also if we should add any structure, cover, vegetation, etc.

4. How many crayfish should we start the pond with and best place or ideas to get them.

5. Good ideas for how best to harvest them?

6. Any other information do you think would be important to know to help make the best crayfish forage pond possible.

Thanks for any and all suggestions, ideas, and information!


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Research indicates polyculture in crayfish ponds results in more overall production.


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Polyculture as in several species of crayfish in the same pond or polyculture like raising a species of fish along with a certain species of crayfish?


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man i know you can find millions of them down here in the flooded slu's of the creek bottoms. But when they dry up their gone and i have know idea where they go.. Also when i was little kid at our public park there was a damn that was built using old brick just poured in on the water side then covered with dirt on the backside and that place was absolutely infested with crawdads, getting them out was never easy though.. We use to catch the big ones with fishing poles and bologna or salami.. Ahhh the good ole days lol..


I believe in catch and release. I catch then release to the grease..

BG. CSBG. LMB. HSB. RES.

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Raising crayfish and 1 or 2 forage fish species. They can compliment each others growth.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 08/07/11 03:56 PM.

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Nate, what species of crayfish were you thinking about using?


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3/4 to 1 1/4 ac pond LMB, SMB, PS, BG, RES, CC, YP, Bardello BG, (RBT & Blue Tilapia - seasonal).
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I would like to get papershell crayfish, but am open to any native species.

Anyone out there with experience of some sort raising these things?


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For Starters I suggest:
1. Locate some sources.
2. Research the species sold.
3. If the source raises crayfish in quantity visit the grower.
4. Ask lots of questions.
5. Do more homework.
My main source-supplier harvests his crays by seining. I trap and seem to catch quite a few. ther are special crayfish traps that minimize exiting of the crays.

From the Web:
How to Raise Crayfish in a Farm Pond
By G.K. Bayne From the Internet - The Daily Puppy
Instructions
Things You’ll Need:
•Shallow farm pond.
•Aquatic plants.
•Pond aeration.
•Fish trap.
•Fish bait.
Step 1:
Ensure that your farm pond is at least 18 inches deep. Crayfish prefer shallow water, but need deeper water to grow, molt and breed..

Step 2:
Plant aquatic plants in the pond. This can be done at a shallow end. This gives the crayfish food and areas to hide..

Step 3:
Stock the farm pond with 40 to 60 pounds of crayfish per 1 acre of surface water. Crayfish are cannibalistic and will eat each other during molting periods, so for a decent harvest, more is better than less..

Step 4:
Install a paddle wheel or other type of pond pump to keep the water stirred and oxygenated. Crayfish require the oxygen level in pond water to be at least 3 parts per million (ppm) in order to live..

Step 5:
Add commercial crayfish food to the pond weekly. While crayfish can live exclusively on aquatic plants and other pond food sources, the addition of feed will help the crawdad grow faster..

Step 6:
Harvest the crayfish by submerging a baited fish or minnow trap in the water. Shad, chunks of catfish flesh, or chicken livers make good bait.







Last edited by Bill Cody; 08/08/11 07:38 PM.

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Good post Bill...


I believe in catch and release. I catch then release to the grease..

BG. CSBG. LMB. HSB. RES.

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Nate, I have been unsuccessful in stocking crawdads here. So, I called a Louisiana crawfish farmer the I found on the net. He recommended aeration and most of the stuff that we use to raise fish. Look one up and ask some questions.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Oh I have done mucho research in the last 24 hrs. If I dont know something I want to know I wont rest till I know it.

I have read all of Ewests links, saw the crayfish article online before Bill Cody posted it, read all the PDF articles from google, talked to several crayfish farmers from the south and even some somewhat locally, talked with our local DNR fishery biologist and exchanged a few emails and PM's with some forum members who dont like to post information on the actual forum for some reason.......

Anyhow what I am getting at is that I have a rock solid game plan for what I am trying to accomplish! I will post pics and updates as things progress this fall!


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You're ahead of what I did. I bought 10 pounds from the local grocery store. Then took them to a small pond and put them on the bank to warm up. When they were warm enough to want to pinch me I eased them into the water. When I came back 2 days later the bank was littered with crawdad pieces. They had committed suicide by coon. I tried several times before making a phone call.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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I have a pond already full of these little guys. Maybe I should just figure out what to feed them and make changes so they will grow and take over, since I doubt many fish could live in the murky water anyway.

I was going to do some sort of experiment, with Drum, Koi, RES, or anything different, just to see if the fish would make it.

I am just glad to find out why the pond is so muddy, and I think it is due to the thousands of crayfish in the small BOW.

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High density of crayfish will make the water turbid. Plan for it to happen.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 08/09/11 07:09 PM.

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Dave,

In our newest pond, the crawdads have been able to get some sort of a foothold. Granted that is pond is new. There are no fish predators in it large enough to eat the crawdads. There are some crawdads that are 8 inches or so. We have had problems with racoons and herons eating the crawdads as they are an easy target.


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