Crayfish are delicious little crustaceans that look like tiny lobsters. Although they’re not incredibly popular here in Minnesota, they’re common fare elsewhere in the US and around the world. We do have crayfish in Minnesota though, and anyone with a fishing license can trap them. I have good memories of catching and eating crayfish a handful of times growing up, so when I read that I could trap them (while perusing the fishing regulations, just for fun) I decided to try to get some.
My gardens are mostly in “just grow” mode, so there’s not much to report in the way of gardening projects. I’ll post some photos of growing progress in a few days.
Building a Crayfish Trap
There aren’t too many rules on crayfish traps. You can read what rules there are over at the MN Revisor of Statutes 6259.0100. The one thing I had to look up was what “stretch measure” meant, as in mesh size for crayfish traps may not be less than one-half inch, stretch measure. Stretch measure just means the distance between opposite diagonal nodes in a mesh. This leftover piece of 1cmx1cm square gardening fence rolls in with a spacious 0.556776992 inch stretch measure. That’s convenient!
The first step was to build a cylinder. I had a big bag of zip-ties someone gave me or I would’ve twisted wire pieces to hold it all together.
Make Some Trap Cones
The next step is to create two cones that meet 2 criteria 1) When trimmed they fit snugly into the ends of your trap 2) They leave space between the cone points when both are inserted into the cylinder.
Make a cone like this, then trim off the extra mesh that’s flopping about. Trim the wide-end’s peak so you have a nice flat circle for an end. Finally, cut a 1.25 inch diameter hole in the pointy end of the cone for the crayfish to crawl into.
Regret Not Wearing Gloves
Wire mesh is sharp and sneaky. This was the only scrape that bled.
Attach the Cones to the Cylinder
Hey, that’s starting to look like a real crayfish trap!
I used more zip-ties on this one project than I have during the entire rest of my life.
Add a Door to Your Crayfish Trap
Cut a hole big enough to get your bait in and your crayfish out. Cut another piece of mesh large enough to cover the hole.
You’ll also want to add a way to secure the door closed. Since I had an abundance of zip-ties, I used two long zip-ties which I lace through the fencing to latch it down tight.
Go Crayfish Trapping!
I thought that Rice Creek where it flows into Locke Lake seemed like a good place for crayfish. It’s got dark fast moving water and what looked like rocky bottoms. After 4 days of leaving my trap there (and checking it daily) I only caught a little 3 inch catfish and a lot of leaves. I used some chunky cat food for bait and the bait wasn’t even all gone.
If anyone knows where I can find some crayfish near Fridley, please let me know! Since you have to check your trap every day (fishing regulations!) it has to be somewhere close by.
Here’s a map of where not to try to catch crayfish.