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How to use Live Crawfish as Bait

Catching CrawfishHow to use Live Crawfish as Bait

Live crawfish make excellent bait.  My husband and daughter slaughtered a variety of fish one day with a bucket of live crawfish. Unbelievably, the smaller crawfish caught more fish than the large.  In order to fish with crawfish, first you have to find them, then you have to catch them.

Where to find Crawfish

There are several places to find crawfish.  Near or in lakes, rivers, creeks and ponds.  They can also be found in ditches that hold water for long periods of time.  In shallow water areas look under large rocks in the water as they love to hide.

Catching Crawfish

How to Catch a Crawfish

In shallow waters they can be caught by hand, but be sure to grab them from on top of their bodies behind their claws to avoid the mean little pinch they can shell out (pun).  Another way is with a net with small holes.  We have even used butterfly nets from the local dollar store. They don’t hold up long but they get the job done well for $1.  This is a fun way to entertain kids!  Of course they may freak out and not want to touch their catch, but that’s okay, parent to the rescue. Speaking of kids, grab our “Kids Guide to Finding Fish Bait” here. It will instantly download in a PDF file.

Remember that the way crawfish swim is backwards to how we think they should swim.  They use their tails to propel themselves backwards and pretty quickly too.  So when using a net take this into consideration if the water is deep enough for them to swim.   So anticipate their movement and take appropriate action.

Another popular way to catch crawfish is with with a trap.  You can find these for sell at local fishing shops or you may even make your own out of some chicken wire and ingenuity.  Simply place the trap along the edge of a lake, river, or creek where the water is deep enough.  You can place attractants, like hot dogs, chicken legs, or what you inside the trap to lure them in.  Leave the trap for several hours or overnight for best results.

Crawfish Trap
Here’s a handy Crawfish Trap on Amazon click the affiliate image to go read details or reviews.

How to use Crawfish for Bait

Once you have caught your crawfish store them in a minnow bucket in shallow water.  You don’t have to change the water frequently as you do with minnows, and since they can breath air, you can probably can make an entire fishing trip without doing so.

When you are ready to fish with them, simply use a small fish net and scoop one up!

How to Hook a Crawfish

The best way to hook a crawfish is in the upper part of their tail (below and not into the belly) and going from underneath their tail out the shell.

AnglersEscape on YouTube has a great little video explaining how to hook a crawfish – okay crayfish/crawdad/crawfish, whatever you want to call them. Watch it below:

Use them for Rigs Too

Noteworthy to mention, crawfish are great for rigs too!  I recommend removing their claws for this; that is if they have fairly large claws; this helps avoid tangling.


I hope I have been helpful in explaining how to catch and fish with crawfish.  If you get a chance to try this, please share your experience with me in the comments below!




Tina Sassy

Tina has been fishing since before she could walk.She met the love of her life 19 years ago and now they compete to see who can catch the most or largest fish. Together they raised their little girl who is no longer little, but a beautiful young fisherwoman herself and more competition for the happy family.
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