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A Quest for Crawfish

Did you know that crawfish, also called crawdads, are an invasive species in the Western United States? In the eastern states, where the species is native, the crawfish have natural enemies and even diseases that keep its numbers in check. In the west however, there are no such checks on the crawfish populations and this can lead to disastrous environmental problems.

Once crayfish enter a western river or lake it becomes theirs. The crawfish eat all other life forms, as the population raises unchecked. Soon they begin the eat all of the aquatic plants. The crawfish require oxygen and now there are less plants to recycle that back into the water, so instead algae takes over living off the excess Carbon Dioxide. Soon a once clear mountain stream, covered with different species of animals and plants, can become a murky stagnant series of pools with nothing but the cannibalistic crawfish hunting each other in the barren darkness.

This is how what is only a hobby or a way to get a free dinner in the east becomes a moral obligation in the west. Crawfish hunting is one of the few things on this Earth where the more you catch the more you are helping the environment.

Crawfish hunting is also fun. People of all ages can get involved and most folks agree that the crayfish themselves are delicious. If you like lobster then you will like crawfish too, for they are closely related.

 

 

Crawfish Fishing Techniques

  

    There are many ways that the citizens of the west can pick up the slack and get involved in crawfish fishing, which is currently the only way the crawfish population is being controlled.

Traps 

          Considered by most to be the most tried and true method of capture. This is particularly true if one has time to set the traps out in advance. Traps are also used when you require a huge amount of crawfish, such as when large groups of people are looking forward to all sharing in a feast. Since it can bring in great quantities with little effort, it is considered a great aid to the environment and needs to be encouraged as much as possible

Nets 

          Some people, especially younger children, need a little more action to feel involved. Nets are a great way to take a more active approach to crawfish hunting. Crawdads can often be spotted sunning themselves on the bed of streams. When catching them it is important to remember to hold the net behind them, for they swim backwards.

          A two handed approach works well. Place the net behind the crawfish, and then tap the front of it with a stick. It will shot backwards into the net and now you will have another one for the bucket.

          Some people even lure the crawfish in, by setting out a little bait. It does not have to be anything fancy, any scraps of meat will work.

Meat On A Stick 

          Perhaps the most comical way of catching crawfish is to simply tie a string to a stick and then tie a piece of meat to the other end. This technique is great because even the smallest of children can try it out. You just leave the meat in the water. It only takes between three and five minutes before a crawfish latched onto the meat. Then you just pull them out of the water. In most cases they are too ignorant to let go and they you can just drop them in the bucket.

Preparing Crawfish 

          The forest service recommends the crawfish be killed by putting them on ice. Once this is done they should be soaked in strongly salted water. This water should just be high enough to cover them. Then they are boiled in a large pot with pieces of corn on the cob, other vegetables, and your favorite spices. Once they turn red they are done. Place a little bowl of garlic butter in front of you and have at it. Most people just eat the tails. They are easy to open. Once the meat is free dip it into the butter and you have started to enjoy your not only free, but even guilt free meal.

          Catch a free dinner and help the environment at the same time. Happy hunting.

For more fun with Mike Griffiths check out his first book!!!

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