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Thread: Crayfish?

  1. #1
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    Default Crayfish?

    Does anybody here have any experience trapping crayfish? Especially in the Mid-atlantic region?

    Looking for any info on looking for hotspots, type of bait, type of traps, how often to check traps, etc,

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    Default Re: Crayfish?


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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    I used to catch them as a kid. They like to hide under rocks, thus a rocky bottom is a great place. You know, small to medium size rocks that you can easily turn over and look under. I caught them under bridges where the water was moving a bit. I think you find them in lakes and rivers. They like to eat anything dead. Old pieces of meat, hot dogs, fish etc. The stinkier, the better. As a kid, I often just shined a flashlight into the water and looked for them. They are attracted to the light and come right out to it. You can crab them by the sides of their body shell. Be careful of the claws.... They can often have worms so check for tight round coil like things....they are really good eating when fresh and from clean waters. -This is how it was in Finland. I'm sure you get lot of good and different output from others. Good luck and let us see some pixs when you've got them. Oh, and we used a cylinder type trap that had a small "inverted" opening in both ends, or a minature crabbing type trap. Google images for crayfish traps.••••••••••A word of caution: if you take your trap from one body of water to another, make sure it's very well cleaned. The crayfish population can be very easily wiped out by introducing a disease from one body of water into another. Several years ago in Finland, our Liesjarvi lake crayfish population was wiped out by someone bringing contaminated traps into it.
    Last edited by Spin_Drift; 08-29-2011 at 01:32 PM. Reason: Added caution....
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    BTW, if you get them from muddy bottoms, their flesh tastes muddy and bad..... I'd check the traps daily. They can eat each other if left unattended for any length of time.
    Choose wisely -Treat kindly...

    A secret to a good marriage is to have a quick mind and a slow mouth...


    S/V ORCA 38' Herreshoff Ketch

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Caught thousands of them from cold clean lakes (sorry, not Mid-Atlantic). We made wire cylinder traps like Spinner described with the "inverted" cone ends for a one way trip. Usually had two or three traps out checking them daily and it wasn't unusual to bring in several hundred at a time. For bait we'd often use canned dog food with screwdriver holes punched in them but we swore the best was smallmouth bass guts.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    The easiest way is to drain the pond, at least that's how my friend that farms them does it.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Thanks Spin Drift, one of the sales sites with the most information is from a fellow in Arizona of Swedish descent. The boil with dill sounded pretty darn interesting.

    I noticed that there is no crawfish section in our game laws, but I have seen one or two crayfish ( not really looking for them ). The guys I mentor seem to really enjoy all sorts of fishing and such.

    Was thinking that a string of crawdad traps could be fun. Going to fetch the crab pots is always a big deal. If anybody has had good luck with any particular kind of trap pics would be most welcome.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    When I was a kid, my grandmother from the old country (Latvia) would take us out to the creek in the pasture with hip boots and a small net, like a minnow seine with a metal tube down each side. She'd just wade right in and scoop 'em up off the bottom. Into the bucket they'd go.

    Then back to the farmhouse, toss'em in a stock pot of boiling water until done.
    You would not enjoy Nietzsche, sir. He is fundamentally unsound. — P.G. Wodehouse (Carry On, Jeeves)

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    The easiest way is to drain the pond, at least that's how my friend that farms them does it.
    I like it! DNREC may get a bit impatient with me but what a way to stop those silly bass tournaments that put 6-12 oil and gas slick producers on a 30 acre pond at once. If only I could convince the game wardens to play along.

    Some of the old timers tell stories of crayfish in Sussex County to the south of me, but I'm thinking that if they's in the water, they's in the water.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Why fool around with crawdads when you got a bay full of crab? IIRC Delaware will let you take a bushel a day on a Rec license. For $50 you can make up a trotline jump in a your boat and crab like the old timers.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    The ones I made were similar to this. The cylinders were about 12" diameter and 24"-30" or so long. The hole in the center of the finished cone was about 1 1/4"-2" diameter.



    Use large enough mesh so's the little ones can escape. There may be some regulations about that.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Quote Originally Posted by RichKrough View Post
    Why fool around with crawdads when you got a bay full of crab? IIRC Delaware will let you take a bushel a day on a Rec license. For $50 you can make up a trotline jump in a your boat and crab like the old timers.
    Because they are there. We try to catch anything we can, this is a poor neighborhood and it doesn't go to waste. Besides, I like crawdads. We are doing okay with the crab pots, always looking to diversify.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Probably need to be a bit farther south to get enough to have a party

    http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/m...k/IMG_8215.jpg
    Last edited by seedtick; 08-29-2011 at 04:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Quote Originally Posted by seedtick View Post
    Probably need to be a bit farther south to get enough to have a party

    http://i294.photobucket.com/albums/m...k/IMG_8215.jpg
    Could be, but a brother up in Mass tells me that he is making ends meet with mudbugs to local chefs and foodies. We definitely have them here, have seen kids snatch them up in broad daylight with bare hands.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Are these crayfish holes? They are about 100 feet from the river. It was suggested that they were crayfish when I asked what they were. The mud 'cones' are about three inches tall.


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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulC View Post
    Are these crayfish holes? They are about 100 feet from the river. It was suggested that they were crayfish when I asked what they were. The mud 'cones' are about three inches tall.

    Yep, got them all over my back yard. I live about two miles from the river.
    "para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también" (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, as well.)

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    No, those are not crayfish holes ...

    I always caught them with string with bacon on the end ... everything loves bacon!
    Nothing else matters but how I raise my children ... and their opinion of me, as a father.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Are you serious, bobbys? I've never seen anything like that ... I guess I am wrong!
    Nothing else matters but how I raise my children ... and their opinion of me, as a father.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Quote Originally Posted by brad9798 View Post
    Are you serious, bobbys? I've never seen anything like that ... I guess I am wrong!
    I don't know if bobbys is serious or not, but I am. Yes you can catch them with bacon on a string. Just lower it down that hole and start pulling it back up. when you get him near the top, just push a stick in the ground beneath the crawdad so he cant get back down the hole.
    "para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también" (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, as well.)

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Crawfish are a staple around here. We even have a festival celebrating the tasty crustations in Breaux Bridge, LA.
    Do a Google search on Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival.
    Also, here's a link to a place where you can buy crawfish traps. http://www.southern-wire.com/crawfish/

    as for bait, any kind of meat will work. i.e. chicken neck, bacon, hotdog, etc.

    Tony (Bourdain) was in town just a few weeks ago and tryed the crawfish along with other local deliciousies. The show was on last night.

    Last edited by ucb4ume; 08-30-2011 at 08:18 AM.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    I just talked to the prime source of information hereabouts. My 13 year old fishing buddy bubby. His da does construction and tells me that many of the runoff ponds are infested, not sure which species possibly rusties? Also no season or limits, Commercial fishing and trapping laws don't even mention them. Hmmmmm.....

    Looked on Chowhound and it seems that it's hard to even get crayfish at a restaurant in Delaware. Have decided to buy one trap from Terry Bullard near Bellingham Wa. Like his website over others.

    Like that link to the commercial site too. If the test trap works out that site will come in handy. http://www.southern-wire.com/crawfish/

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Quote Originally Posted by perldog007 View Post
    Like that link to the commercial site too. If the test trap works out that site will come in handy. http://www.southern-wire.com/crawfish/
    So in Louisiana 'chicken wire' is referred to as 'crawfish wire'?

    I never saw the point in fishing for one at a time. Much more satisfying to go big with a few traps, sit around the boil with some friends, cold beer, clean'm and eat'm until you're stuffed and your hands are sore. Treat to have extras to freeze up.

    G'luck

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    I think the black PVC coating makes it "crawfish". Read some stuff about the black net/coating thing as it relates to fishing and crayfish on Terry Bullard's site. Could be true. One theory is that bare wire makes the critters feel more exposed to predation than black coated mesh/netting. That's the story.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    As a kid we would just pick them out of the creeks in Northern DE, Hockessin area. I haven't really ventured out looking for them, but my kids are getting close to the age, and there is a pond down the hill from us. Haven't seen any along the bank, but I am sure they are in the creek around it.

    BTW, what part of DE are you in? I am in the Newark area.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mhawley View Post
    As a kid we would just pick them out of the creeks in Northern DE, Hockessin area. I haven't really ventured out looking for them, but my kids are getting close to the age, and there is a pond down the hill from us. Haven't seen any along the bank, but I am sure they are in the creek around it.

    BTW, what part of DE are you in? I am in the Newark area.
    Newark is lovely. Remember staying at some brick apartment/dorm thingies back in the 60's when me Da was doing a play up there. I stay in Woodside/Magnolia - Meadowbrook Acres. All up in the hood.

    About eight miles down 13 from Dover.

    With no limits or season or restrictions of any kind that's pretty attractive to me. I work with ex-offenders and they really seem to love the whole hunter gatherer thing. Since most of them can't even get caught holding a frog gig..... If there's a legal way to sell them even better. I called DNREC today, no restrictions of any kind just be sure to have a rec fishing license.

    Whether we can make money on them or not it would be good to have a few crawfish boils. Crawfish etouffe, crawfish gumbo, crayfish omlette. Crayfish pasta, etc.

    Catching them one at a time is a great pastime for kids of all ages. I still enjoy it. Used them for bait a couple of years ago, wicked live bait they is.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    My cousin and I used to seine them from ponds or Tanks as some people say. Sold them to bait shops. Just sayin.
    "para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también" (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, as well.)

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    That's a good angle Bobby, Haven't seen them in our bait shops. Maybe time to ask why not?

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Quote Originally Posted by perldog007 View Post
    That's a good angle Bobby, Haven't seen them in our bait shops. Maybe time to ask why not?
    Hope you find a good market.
    "para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también" (for everything bad, mezcal, and for everything good, as well.)

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    Thanks Bobby, we don't sweat what we can't sell but it would be nice. We've got our neighborhood almost bored with fresh crabs ( can't sell those without getting in serious trouble ) so we are good with giving away groceries. These kids usually do have fines and restitution to pay though.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    I'd be real wary selling them as bait. It is illegal here as the rusty crayfish has totally destroyed some very nice fishing lakes.
    The best helping hand you will ever receive is the one at the end of your own arm.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iceboy View Post
    I'd be real wary selling them as bait. It is illegal here as the rusty crayfish has totally destroyed some very nice fishing lakes.
    I would not do that myself, we do have bait shops that sometimes buy minnows off me. The kids tear up the cast nets so bad it's little better than break even though. Hope the crayfish traps hold up better

    ETA- our DNREC says we don't have any rusties - but since they were found in PA a few years ago I find that hard to believe. The buzz in the crayfish community that I can find says that unfortunately WI is prime rusty trapping territory. On trap maker claims that state governments are buying crayfish traps.
    Last edited by perldog007; 08-31-2011 at 12:23 PM.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Thinking of buying some traps from this brother: http://www.terrybullard.com/crayfish_products.html Any of you kids up in Washington State heard of him?

    Thinking about two of the smaller ones to start with.


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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    They're really pretty dern simple to make. The kids might get something out of that too.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Yeah, we have the fraybill crawdad/minnow trap available here, and I'm sure I'll try some of those too.

    Doug, have you tried purging the bugs in clean water with a little salt? I used to do that way back in the boy scouts when I could round up a bucket of mudbugs. We had running water at most places we camped, purge them for a few hours, change the water at least once, then cook them before they start eating each other too bad.

    I also like making my own boil, somewhere between the Scandanavian dill based and the creole/wye river/ old bay genre. In fact, did today's crabs in basil, dill, tarragon, salt, cayenne, cinnamon, allspice, and coconut vinegar to rave reviews.

    We probably will make some traps, this guys customers on FB seem to think his traps are the shiz, so I'll try a couple.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    I hear you, just got done choking down some leather like brutally over grilled striped bass ( rockfish ) that a friend invited me over for. Don't have to worry about flukes from that

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Well one of my "kids" and I blessed a local chef/owner with some free crabs today. He buys crab meat to serve, but he and his honey love to eat some fresh steamed crabs. The staff is eating well today, the crabs were twenty minutes from crab pot to chef's pot today.

    The man tried to pay us, we explained we were not licensed to sell the crabs but might have some crayfish and he's interested. He just signed a lease on a second restaurant. Just waiting for the traps to get here. Bought one high dollar model from Terry Bullard near Bellingham WA and two of the cheapest from Amazon to do a study.

    Still very interested if anyone else has experience with any particular brand, model, or design of crayfish trap.
    Last edited by perldog007; 09-08-2011 at 03:15 PM.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Crayfish traps are legally dodgy things in the UK - the cone types have a reputation for occasionally trapping and killing otters.

    Used to make a really simple alternative from a piece of bent coat-hanger wire, a nylon stocking, a washer, some spam and some nylon fishing line.

    The stocking net is stretched across the bent wire - the washer, spam and fishing line used to create a meat-filled pocket - dangle the whole gubbins in a typical small trout stream (the sort of stream where the trout run 3 to 5 to the pound). Pull it out two or three times an hour and collect some crayfish.
    Even when they work, they don't work well. I blame engineers.
    The only thing engineers have done to the toaster in the last 80 years is make it disposable. I think it applies to a lot of things

  38. #38
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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    Crayfish traps are legally dodgy things in the UK - the cone types have a reputation for occasionally trapping and killing otters.

    Used to make a really simple alternative from a piece of bent coat-hanger wire, a nylon stocking, a washer, some spam and some nylon fishing line.

    The stocking net is stretched across the bent wire - the washer, spam and fishing line used to create a meat-filled pocket - dangle the whole gubbins in a typical small trout stream (the sort of stream where the trout run 3 to 5 to the pound). Pull it out two or three times an hour and collect some crayfish.
    Thanks! that set up may work in a small creek near home that locals tell me is loaded down with crayfish. It's too small for most other traps. Will give it a go when the weather clears a bit maybe post some pics.

    I checked with two game wardens, both told me that it's legal to sell crayfish as they are a non-regulated species here. So we are hoping we get the hang of catching them.

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    I can catch more crawdads than any of you with two strips of bacon, a coffee can, a six foot long piece of string and a safety pin.
    The Reverend

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Quote Originally Posted by Memphis Mike View Post
    I can catch more crawdads than any of you with two strips of bacon, a coffee can, a six foot long piece of string and a safety pin.
    Challenge accepted, I'll let you know when my traps get here.

  41. #41
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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    PD...If you get good at catching them, I'll be a customer. Let me know.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Will do, for the remainder of the "not freezin'" weather our plan is to play with methods and locations, build buy traps over the winter if it looks viable. My kids are psyched after the our encounter with chef today. The guy is a pit master extraordinaire, at his bbq joint he can pretty much kick me out of the park with the whole menu and I ain't no slouch at southern comfort and soul food.

    Now he just signed a lease on an Italian jernt. He definitely is interested in some mud bugs.

  43. #43
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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    They'd wash up during a good Southern windstorm. My father lobbied for having a feast, but for some reason my mother always overruled him. Mini-lobsters! Look at them, they are the same idea writ with slightly different instruction.
    So many questions, so little time.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    The legend on one of the tourism sites goes something like the Lobsters followed the Acadians from Canada but shrank along the way. I have had them Cajun style ( served warm with a spicy boil, corn and taters ) but am looking forward to the Swedish treatment one trap hustler wrote about dill boil served cold.

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Okay, we've pulled our crab pots. The creeks have too little salt in them after Irene and I'm just not in the mood to go out to the bay. Some of my mates have had their gear nicked. They suspect some of the rougher commercial crabbers. ( commercial crabbers can't work creeks, rivers, or inland bays and can get territorial over recreational pots on their turf - or so the legend goes )


    So I've got my high dollar trap from Mr. Bullard of Bellingham, and two of the cheapest traps I could find on Amazon.

    Looks like time to try them out today. I can go to the retention pond behind walmart which has an unfunny amount of bass, sunfish, etc. or I can go to McGinnis Pond which has very clean water ( relatively speaking ) but no crayfish sightings... or I can go to Mud Mill where I saw a guy just walk to the pond'e edge and yank a crayfish out. Mud Mill is about 16 miles.

    Have a few hours to sort this out as the wommins just headed out to get flour, sugar, and other non-ammunition supplies

    What do you folks think? Try nearby waters or take the drive to Mud Mill? I'm so confused. The rest of this year is mostly about finding crayfish and testing the traps. So for outing one, which to do?

    ETA - Here is the cheapest trap I could find. Collapsible stainless steel with black nylon netting. No escape preventors. Popular design with backpackers, recommended to soak for no more than three hours.



    Here is my high dollar trap from Terry Bullard near Bellingham WA. Welded wire, bait box, black nylon netting on the funnels.

    Last edited by perldog007; 09-17-2011 at 10:26 AM.

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Well the more expensive trap has shown an advantage even before I've managed to trap my first crayfish. ( the water cooled down real quick, they might not be real active right now.... ) Terry Bullard's trap has "anti-escape" fittings which also keep stuff like this out of the trap.



    the more affordable collapsible traps have proven to be a wonder in the art of trapping juvenile snapping turtles, and even this pretty painted turtle. Not too many crayfish are going in a trap with one of these in it.

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Are you talking about New York City Lobster? Apparently they catch them in plastic containers: http://www.nola.com/arts/index.ssf/2...cky_crawf.html
    "Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." ~ Mark Twain


  48. #48
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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Iirc Dogger, they do like a dirty bottom to hide in, and don't mind slow moving water. There's a big tax ditch coming out of Redden on the North end of Georgetown off Rte. 40. Small steep put in at the forest service pic-a-nic area or drive a bit and drop a boat in off the little bridge. Supposedly loaded with pickerel and bass banks very overgrown. Since it starts in the forest and doesn't run through too many farms it's probably pretty clean. Gonna chuck the pram in there and row upstream one of these cooler weekends just to see.
    Brute force and ignorance, all in one bulky and unappealing package

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    Default Re: Crayfish?

    Thanks C-daddy. I appreciate all the tips I can get. I was at McGinnis pond, known to hold some crayfish and my traps were right where the kids catch them. Maybe the sudden cooling off has moved them or made them less active? I don't know. I will figure it out though.

    If you find any crayfish laden waters, by all means that's a see something say something situation.

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