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I'm strongly considering an attempt at trapping crayfish from my local creek that is less than a half a mile from my pond. Is there any concern of bringing anything bad into my pond by doing this? I figure these crayfish being this close will make their way to the pond eventually without my help anyway. My goal is to get some crayfish in the pond before they lay eggs in order to build a population in advance of my SMB stocking. Is this worth doing? Will the crayfish reproduce in the pond or just go back to the stream?

My plan is to use a minnow trap and increase the size of the hole in the trap and bait with beef liver. Anyone have experience with this?

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Most of the species of crayfish that you catch in a stream will be makers of burrows and chimneys (dirt mounds). However bass and other predators will keep their numbers low due consuming most of the crayfish. There will be survivors to maintain some brood stock when rocky habitat is abundant. After working with crayfish in pond for numerous years I prefer the papershell (aka Calico crayfish - Orconectes immunis) or virle crayfish (Orconectes virilis) because they are more of a pond dwelling species, more likely to stay in the pond, create shallow burrows usually under rocks and less likely to make deep burrows into the pond banks - dams. Both look similar. "O. immunis have characteristically long, slender chelae with a very splotchy coloration, but these features are a bit difficult to use as diagnostic characters without a few reference specimens. The easiest way to distinguish between O. immunis and O. virilis is the notch near the base of the dactyl, or 'thumb' of the cheliped--O. immunis has it, O. virilis does not."
http://www.crayfishworld.com/internationalusa2.htm
(I used to work with Mr. Thoma creator of the above website)

http://ninnescahlife.wichita.edu/node/671
http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/virile-crayfish
Source of papershell crayfish. Be aware that there may be a few other species in the purchase similar to buying minnows.
http://www.smithcreekfishfarm.com/productdetails4.cfm?product=live-fish-crayfish

To initially get enough numbers for good broodstock it is a good idea to buy some known crayfish specie from a fish farm or place that raises crayfish. Initial stocking can easily be 1000/ac depending on how long they can reproduce before the predators get big enough to eat the adult crayfish.

This link provides some good information about the invasive nuisance rusty crayfish and some crayfish biology. It is good information and informative. Be aware of what rusty crayfish look like.
http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/ais/rustycrayfish_invader

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/28/14 11:02 AM.

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Very good question because I am planning on doing the same thing. Is there anyway to stock to many crayfish? I have a one acre pond and had in my mind 10 5 gallon buckets of crayfish is what my goal is. any thoughts

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Originally Posted By: KSBASS
Very good question because I am planning on doing the same thing. Is there anyway to stock to many crayfish? I have a one acre pond and had in my mind 10 5 gallon buckets of crayfish is what my goal is. any thoughts


Are there Rusty Crayfish in KS? Wouldn't want too many of those.

Cody Note: Luckily Rusty crayfish have not been reported for Kansas. See the link in my post above.

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I have never heard of those. We mainly have the hardback crawdads as we call them. I know the papershells are better but out here in the flinthills just hardbacks.

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I looked on the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Website to see what they were. They have no reports of the rusty crawfish in kansas. So i should be safe there.

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So has anyone ever stocked the hardback crawdads in a pond for smallmouth?

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Originally Posted By: JamieE
I'm strongly considering an attempt at trapping crayfish from my local creek that is less than a half a mile from my pond. Is there any concern of bringing anything bad into my pond by doing this? I figure these crayfish being this close will make their way to the pond eventually without my help anyway. My goal is to get some crayfish in the pond before they lay eggs in order to build a population in advance of my SMB stocking. Is this worth doing? Will the crayfish reproduce in the pond or just go back to the stream?

My plan is to use a minnow trap and increase the size of the hole in the trap and bait with beef liver. Anyone have experience with this?


For the trap, there are regular traps made for crayfish. I know this because our local Wal-Mart stocks them. Surely available elsewhere also. Never had much luck with the one I used last year, but that was probably me or the location. They are built like some sort of combination of a turtle and fish trap. Crawdads crawl up a ramp and fall over into an area with the bait.


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thinking about those crawdad traps... others gave good advice about using the long cylinder traps with the cone on the inside going to a smaller hole. I was told the traps can be setting on the bottom and the crayfish can swim up off the bottom and into the hole. Then snrub says the crayfish crawl up a ramp and fall into an area with bait.

So if the crayfish can find the hole or can find the ramp by swimming, why can't they swim back out of the hole or swim back up to the top of the ramp that they came in by?

I guess this also would apply to the minnow traps that are designed the same way, how many minnows find their way back out of the trap if you are in still water and no current is involved?

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I wondered about this also. I was not sure with the crawdad trap if it was supposed to be used in shallow water with the ramp just submerged, or if it could also be used in deeper water. Like I said, where I used it in two different places, only caught a few, so maybe this particular design is not very good.

Crab and lobster pots (as well as fish) all use the idea of a small cone shaped hole so the bugs can not find their way back out.

I used to think that my minnow trap did not work very well as I usually only caught a hand full at a time. Then a couple weeks ago I baited it with some floating fish food and threw it out while I was feeding the FHM's in shallow water around the pond. Holy cow! Came back in about an hour and the trap was jam packed with FHM's about half full. Some had to be running back out of the hole because the trap was filled up to the hole when I drug it out of the water. That day I used that trap to catch probably around 5 pounds of minnows to move to my son's newly renovated pond to stock it. The FHM's had to be pushing each other out of the way trying to get in as I rarely had to leave it in the water over a half hour to have it 1/4 to 1/3 full. They were in a feeding frenzy I guess after a long winter.

Point is, maybe I just did not have the crawdad trap in the right location or at the right time to catch large numbers of crayfish. Might try it again this spring just for kicks. My guess is the bugs crawl in but can not crawl back out. I think the only time they really "swim" is when they are feeling threatened or attacked and they swim backwards by propelling themselves with their tails. At least that is what they do when trying to catch them by hand. I think either using the crayfish specific trap or a fish trap it is going to need to sit on the bottom for the bugs to crawl up into the hole. I could be wrong, but any I have ever seen while scuba diving at night will be crawling around on the bottom of the lake. Same thing with lobsters diving in the ocean (they are just really big salt water crayfish). Only timne you see them swimming is very fast backward when threatened.

Last edited by snrub; 03/28/14 02:11 PM.

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Originally Posted By: KSBASS
I looked on the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Website to see what they were. They have no reports of the rusty crawfish in Kansas. So i should be safe there.


We may not have the Rusty variety but whatever the variety we have locally is, they are nasty little buggers.

Caught some one time for the kiddies along with some local minnows and very small green sunfish to keep in the aquarium. Our kids were little and wanted to let them watch some local species. Wife went to a lot of trouble and put in nice natural grass and weeds from the creek in dirt containers in the bottom of the aquarium along with gravel. Even had some local tiny mussels.

Those enterprising little crawdads dug out every plant in the aquarium in a short order and made a mess out of her well laid aquarium plans.

Had them another time in with some of her goldfish. I put them in an already established goldfish "bowl". Wife noticed the tails were torn up on her "fancy" gold fish. Thought they were sick or something. One day caught one of the cradads hanging on to the tail of a gold fish while the fish was swimming around. The crawdad was using its smaller pincers to eat the goldfish tail while holding on with one big pincer all the while the goldfish was swimming around the bowl.

Tough, enterprising, onery little buggers they are.

Last edited by snrub; 03/28/14 02:34 PM.

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I have used the small cylinder minnow traps and let set for 2 or 3 days with chicken livers or fish pellets or beef melt and came back and the minnow trap be completely full. I did this 4 times in a row it was placed by a creek crossing where the water was going over rocks like a small waterfall.

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I take a my girlfriend with every spring to a local spot with a goldfish pond net. I flip a rock and shuffle my feet she backs the rock with the net. We can fill a cooler in about 2 hrs. About this time of year they have there eggs on them. Thinking of going early this week suppose to get warmer. It's a fun day that way.

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So for bait for minnows or crayfish we have:

1. fish pelletized feed
2. cooked chicken?
3. someone mentioned cooked ham, I wonder if that includes spam?
4. Did I read dry dog or cat food? I have bunny food pellets I wonder if that would work?
5. chicken liver

KSBASS, what is beef melt?

I think my uncle used saltine crackers but when i tried that it didn't work. I wonder if there isn't enough 'smell' to it?

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beef liver works too.


www.hoosierpondpros.com


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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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Have read a bit of info on the rusty, in small ponds for YP and SMB would the rusty be all that bad of a crayfish to have? They seem very tough not saying stocking a invasive species is good. But, for a food source in say. 1/4 acre pond does not seem like they could do anything but feed a population of SMB quite well ?

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SMB readily eat crayfish. The more aggressive or ornery crayfish are not as easy for the bass to catch but usually the bass wins especially if the bass is noticeably larger than the crayfish. Most all adult crayfish are hard shells. When they molt to cast off the old skeleton and have the new skeleton exposed that shell is soft for a day or two until it hardens.

Dead fish, canned tuna with holes in the can or some road kill meat also work good in crayfish traps. Crayfish are scavengers.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 03/28/14 08:06 PM.

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Great links above Bill, just the kind of info. I need to help me identify what I may catch. Sounds like my best route may be to purchase papershells from Smith Creek unless I get lucky enough to find a local body of water they inhabit. Down side is Smith Creek wont let go of their crayfish until mid-June or later which will be well after they lay eggs. Hard to believe that Smith Creek is the only option to get the papershells...

Cody V did you read some of the info. about the Rusty crayfish in above links provided by Bill? They sound to be pretty devastating on the environment... No way I want them in my pond!

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Have another question... How big will the SMB and YP need to be to present a real threat to adult crayfish stocked in the pond?

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I've had 9"-10" perch eat a 2" long crayfish.


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I am also planning on sourcing wild crayfish from the same watershed as my pond. I already called smith creek a month ago and June is a long way off. I use the cylinder type traps with the extension. I use cut fish like sunfish, bass, BG, whatever, it doesn't really matter but I would think oily fish would be better. But crayfish can be caught on everything mentioned here, and even raw bacon or hotdogs.

It helps to use a mesh bait container in the middle of the trap. I use 1/2" hardware cloth. Crayfish have big appetites so stuff the bait container full. This way they will stay in the trap instead of trying to get out. And as they eat it keeps bringing more into the trap.

I have never used the square ramp type traps. But they also work.

You can go on You Tube and there are lots crayfish trapping videos. I was surprised that they catch lots of crayfish way up north like in Minnesota, and big ones too.


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I really did not consider purchasing crayfish until reading stuff on PondBoss and then thinking about it for a while. So a couple questions.

1) Will papershells do OK if native tunneling crayfish are already present?

2) In a new pond stocked with FHM, GSH, and YP in the last 2 years, and where SMB will be added later, when is it best to add papershells?

3) Do I need plants to be established in the pond before adding them?

4) What is the best supplier for central Indiana, and how many should be stocked per acre?

5) After adding papershells, how long should I wait before adding smaller SMB?

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Originally Posted By: Cody Veach
I take a my girlfriend with every spring to a local spot with a goldfish pond net. I flip a rock and shuffle my feet she backs the rock with the net. We can fill a cooler in about 2 hrs. About this time of year they have there eggs on them. Thinking of going early this week suppose to get warmer. It's a fun day that way.


Absolutely, two people working together can catch crayfish fast if you are in the right creek. You just need a shrimp net or even a small seine net. One person lifts flat rocks while the other person nets them downstream. It is fun especially for kids.


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Originally Posted By: RAH
I really did not consider purchasing crayfish until reading stuff on PondBoss and then thinking about it for a while. So a couple questions.

1) Will papershells do OK if native tunneling crayfish are already present?



Good question. There are so many different species of crayfish. I'm guessing that certain species of crayfish will eat the papershells for lunch.


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Just reposting to get some input:

I really did not consider purchasing crayfish until reading stuff on PondBoss and then thinking about it for a while. So a couple questions.

1) Will papershells do OK if native tunneling crayfish are already present?

2) In a new pond stocked with FHM, GSH, and YP in the last 2 years, and where SMB will be added later, when is it best to add papershells?

3) Do I need plants to be established in the pond before adding them?

4) What is the best supplier for central Indiana, and how many should be stocked per acre?

5) After adding papershells, how long should I wait before adding smaller SMB?

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