Crawfish, a staple of the bushcraft pantry

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Gathering' started by Brainchild, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Brainchild

    Brainchild Scout

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    Anybody use crawfish for eating while bushcrafting? I have em as often as i can (Summer-fall). They are usually very plentiful where i live and there are few (if any) restrictions on bag limit. How do you like to cook em? How do you like to catch em?

    I'll start.

    I like to boil in hot water after they are done i remove all i am not going to eat and season the rest with bay seasoning and pepper. (Butter if i bring it or oil too)

    Alot of people like to trap em which is easy and effective you can leave the trap out overnight and the traps are quite easy to build. Personally i like to catch by hand with a pair of goggles and any extra fish guts or scrap food. Toss in the food wait maybe .5 hrs and sneak into the water. when you get close enough with your hand grab behind the pincers and apply pressure to the creek bottom and grab em out (Gotta be quick). If they spot ya first then i like to use one hand to distract them while sneaking my other hand behind them and grab em.

    If doing it by hand make sure to change water regularly in storage bucket (or just build a crawfish corral out of stones) Crawfish need a certain amount of oxygen in the water to survive.
     
  2. Brainchild

    Brainchild Scout

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    BTW wasn't sure if this should go in the Food section or this one. Sorry if it's in the wrong area :(
     
  3. bass man

    bass man Scout Bushclass I

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    I use a trap hung off my dock,I put liver flav. can dog food in it.
    Boil then cook tails in butter Missouri Lobster
     
  4. SnakeRiverJim

    SnakeRiverJim Scout

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    I love crawdads. Cajun style. No better place to grab a plate full than Louisiana. I use a trap here in Idaho and have a couple of spots I get them from.
     
  5. asemery

    asemery Scout

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    This style minnnow trap is quite effective for minnows and crayfish have been caught as well. The glass jar is to show how it is made and I use it in my display of 19th century fishing nets. In actual use to prevent breakage I put the netting on an empty peanut butter jar. Tony
    [​IMG][/url]
     
  6. MiddleWolf

    MiddleWolf Guide

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    I have the regular basket style trap that comes in 2 halves I use around town or car camping. I just take a cheap can of cat food and poke it full of holes so the juice, aroma, and small pieces of meat can leak out to attract them. Hiking or the bush call for a piece of fishing line with a treble hook and whatever bait is available. Tie it to a stick if you want but pull it in slowly when checking so as not to pull them off. Most of the time they are hard pressed not to give up the goodies and stay on. My fishing experience is what first demonstrated that behavior and you can use it to your advantage. When using the line, if you want to carry a small net so they will float in to it if they drop off can also help. Something like butterfly net material.
     
  7. Pekane

    Pekane Scout

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    Me and the Old Man catch them by hand when we fish for Bass in a certain honey hole. I haven't looked into the reg's but if there's anywhere in this state to set crawdad traps, that's the place
     
  8. Brainchild

    Brainchild Scout

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    I've seen stow away traps made from hardware mesh. Just gotta untie the pieces and roll it up. You guys ever find the little worm like parasites on their claws or is that a cali thing? I never worried bout em just boiled em off.
     
  9. bass man

    bass man Scout Bushclass I

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    Ok where is honey hole I won't tell
     
  10. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Best way i've ever had 'em was steamed first, THEN dunked into the cajun brine. AMAZING.

    We have 'em all over down here... they make little chimneys out of mud pretty much everywhere you go, especially near water. meat on a string, just like crabs... the creeks are too muddy to see them, so i honestly have no idea if they live in our creeks (very unlike my native NY, where they lived under rocks in most creeks. but you could see them because the water was clean and clear.)

    i don't catch 'em wild... just pay the steamer dude to make them for me at $5.95 a pound (now, Lent. they get way cheaper later in the season). but you're right. they are good!
     
  11. Pekane

    Pekane Scout

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    Come visit Burlington VT and I'll show you the place. Nondisclosure agreement is mandatory.
     
  12. Ahnkochee

    Ahnkochee Bushmaster

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    They're nocturnal so I like to catch them at night using a hand spear and a flashlight. We also have these giant Tahitian prawns in our streams, much bigger than a crawdad with much more meat especially in the tail. We usually marinate in Italian dressing then throw on the grill for a couple minutes. "Broke da mout" as we say here in the islands.
    [​IMG]

    We also have native freshwater shrimp called Opae kala’ole or more commonly known as Mountain Opae. They grown to about 2 inches. We catch these using dip-nets. We stir-fry the whole shrimp shell and all in sesame oil with shoyu (soy sauce), sugar, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers for flavor, and eat them shell and all, very delicious.

    Mountain Opae
    [​IMG]
     
  13. riverjoe

    riverjoe Supporter Supporter

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    Man you must only go to the grocery to buy spices . Everything else you need is out your back door .
     
  14. J.M.

    J.M. Scout

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    I used to eat them a lot as a kid. My neighbor had fish ponds and he would drain them and seine out the crayfish as they preyed on fish eggs. Boiled em up and dipped in butter they were pretty good.
     
  15. winter1857

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    I trap them mostly for bait. I use a cheap can of cat food and catch a dozen+ overnight. The striped bass/rockfish tear 'em up.
     
  16. RDROgers

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    I had a big ole plate full today! Boiled up cajun style with new potatoes, corn, and sausage! Fine eatin' for sure. Don't forget to suck the heads, that's the best part. Here, in the spring, people sell 'em on the side of the road!

    You can make a simple trap by cutting off the tops of 3 liter soda bottles and inverting them. Poke holes in the bottle so it will sink. Throw out several and you can get a nice haul.
     
  17. Brainchild

    Brainchild Scout

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    I've never noticed them to be nocturnal....i see A TON of them out mainly during the day...seems like they like the warm sun?
     
  18. schlotskey

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    They're definitely good eating! I've caught them by hand before many a time, simply by chasing them with one hand into an empty coffee can held behind them with the other hand. That way there's no fumbling about (at least for me) trying to be quick enough to actually catch hold of them by hand. I know traps work well too, but have never tried them to date.
     
  19. Ahnkochee

    Ahnkochee Bushmaster

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    You'll see many times more at night especially in streams that have predators like bass which sleep at night. They hide in holes and leaf litter on the bottom during the day. Try check the same streams at night with a flashlight, you may be surprised. :3:
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  20. SimplyMichael

    SimplyMichael Banned Member Banned

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    As a kid, we caught tons of em but never knew you could eat em, same goes for bluegill.
     
  21. Woods Walker

    Woods Walker Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Sure do eat them.

    [video=youtube;jVycgKzx5Ts]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVycgKzx5Ts[/video]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My crawfish kitchen. I fried the tails but also ate the claws.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  22. tim martin

    tim martin Tracker

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    that's how we eat shrimp. love it
     
  23. OrienM

    OrienM Scout

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    Crayfish are about my favorite wild-caught meat. I treat them just like shrimp in a variety of recipes, and they are delicious! Even my wife (a city girl who hates most "bugs") loves them. I've equipped myself with some wire-mesh traps, with little bags of dry dogfood tied in for bait, and they work real well...I've had a trap jammed completely full in a couple hours before. Then comes the boiling, cooling, shelling and deveining steps...lots of work per tail, but the flavor is worth it.

    Sometimes on river hiking trips I'll catch a bunch by hand, and cook the tails impaled on a stick like little hotdogs. Yummy...

    They make great fish bait, too, although I prefer to use the few stray minnows that end up in the traps.
     
  24. borego

    borego Scout

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    i fry and boil them them hole with lots of salt.

    I eat them has is, just remove the shell and eat.
     
  25. Boot1990

    Boot1990 Guide

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    mmm sure do love me some crawfish. Having dated a girl who grew up in Louisiana, crawfish boils were a regular occurance and boy was that great. I like 'em cooked up like a low country boil. lots of mudbugs, andoullie sausage, taters, corn, onions, mushrooms, water, and crab boil and cajun seasoning. If you dont suck the heads after eating the tails then you ain't doin it right. lol.
     
  26. scurvy

    scurvy Tracker

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    I've had pretty good luck making a weir trap: half circle of rocks, dig out the inside and pack the ouside with dirt to create a 'ramp' for them to get in, bait with fish guts on a stick so they can't swim off with it (a piece of raw bacon tied on a stick works even better). allow enough gaps to get the scent out but not let the dads easily escape..


    the weir:
    [​IMG]

    after dark check the trap with flashlight in hand, you gotta be quick and flip em on the bank.

    four trips to this weir the night before made for a nice lunch:
    [​IMG]

    wished I had some 'old bay' seasoning but, just a straight boil is excellent too:
    [​IMG]

    add the trout and beans and lunch is served:
    [​IMG]
     
  27. Brainchild

    Brainchild Scout

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    Great idea. I've never tried this method as a trap only used it as a way to store the ones caught by hand. If you just throw em in a bucket the tend to get all lethargic and die after a while due to O2 depravation. Crawdad season is coming up im pretty excited!!:4:
     
  28. borego

    borego Scout

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    mouth is watering!!!
     
  29. postman

    postman Scout Bushclass I

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    I've never eaten crawfish, so all you do is drop them whole into the boiling water? Do you kill and gut them first? are there any parts you shouldn't eat?
     
  30. CanyonWalker

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    Thanks for the post brother. Where are you at in the Sierra foothills? I never see crawdads when I go up there. The streams where I go are all fast running and cold and I don't think they like that. Thanks!
     
  31. Fish N Chips

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    I love crawdads. I have caught some huge ones on the Sacramento River, they are dark blue and turn red when you cook them. "Signal Crawfish" i believe they are called and are our natives. I usually catch the more common Louisiana reds though. They all taste great. I usually break off the tails and claws, put them on ice and cook them at home. Ray Mears showed a way to crack the back fins on the tail and pull the whole novo cord/guts out of them then roast them on the fire. I have not tried that yet but it looked easy to do. I normally boil them. If I boil them whole I toss them in a bucket with an aerator for a couple days and let them "purge". Only cook the live ones though! Some people use salt water for a faster purge, but you end up with more dead ones if you leave them too long. this is a good way to see if they have worms too, the worms will work their way out during the "purge."

    I love to done a mask and grab them by hand, but here are a couple well used traps I made to catch them. The Wire trap is made from hardware cloth from Home Depot. I make a tube and then make the cones. I just use the wire tag ends and loose wire to hold it together but have used rabbit cage clips too and they work great.

    The wood trap is more traditional for historical re-enactments. I made it based upon a lobster trap. I made the hoops from willow, split some pine for the slats, and used old fish netting for the cover. I then painted the whole thing with homemade pine tar boat sauce. I made the pine tar from some fat wood, then mixed it with linseed and turpentine, equal parts. I then painted the trap with this to preserve the netting and add some stiffness. It is due for a re-treatment but has seen several years of hard use and has been left out in the weather. It works great and actually is my favorite trap to use. I have caught some nice fish in it too!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  32. Brainchild

    Brainchild Scout

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    I'm in El Dorado County. Near Coloma to be specific. We have and abundant amount of water holes and creeks/rivers. Sometimes takes a hike to find a good spot for crawdaddin. I have found little parasites on their claws and i'm not sure if this is safe to just boil off. In the past I have not worried about it and just thrown em in boiling water although it is pretty gross if ya look at em before you boil em.:26:
     
  33. fireeye

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    Love me some mud bugs!!!!!!!!!:4::4::4:
     
  34. Beal

    Beal Scout

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    My buddy and I caught some in the crick below my house, found a tin can and coocked em up. Pretty tasty.
    They dont seem to be real big around here, a few inches usually.
     
  35. NogginCarver325

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    Thanks for sharing. Crawfishing in western Oregon is done mostly with traps or by hand. The daily limit is 100 per person per day. Sometimes I snorkel upper tribuaries of Coos, Coquille, and Siuslaw and limit out in an hour or so. They go great with butter or olive oil and garlic after being boiled with some Old Bay seasoning with garlic hot sauce.
     
  36. Brainchild

    Brainchild Scout

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    I'm not aware of any limit in CA. I guess I'll have to check with DFG.
     
  37. jimbridge2010

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    a good technique that my boys and i use while camping is to stuff a old pair of my wifes pantyhose :27: with fish guts than tie them to low lying branches in the shallows. their claws get caught in the leggings and they cant get out. it works pretty good
     
  38. Brainchild

    Brainchild Scout

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    Very nice i'll have to give that a try!
     
  39. Beal

    Beal Scout

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    I heard that before. I got some sort of scarf that is basically the same material i want to try that with...
     
  40. Skab

    Skab Staff Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Love me some mud bugs. Made an insert for my zebra pot just for them.

    First I started with a stainless grease screen from the dollar store.

    [​IMG]

    Cut out the screen and using my zebra insert pan formed it into the pot, and then trimmed off what I didn't need.

    [​IMG]

    Here it is with lid and insert inside as if I was going to pack it away, doesn't take up much space at all.

    [​IMG]

    Had to try it out, so I dug out some of last summers crawfish catch and gave it ago!


    Alittle water in the bottom, using my trangia burner to heat it up and about 10 minutes later, ready to eat!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  41. Brainchild

    Brainchild Scout

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    That's pretty sweet Skab!! Just curious, do you have a thread somewhere where you have posted pics of your entire cook setup and how you store it? I noticed you've got a larger zebra and so wondering how most ppl store them.
     
  42. Skab

    Skab Staff Staff Member Super Moderator Vendor Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Can't say that I do. But, I have a stuff sac the zebra goes in and that just rides in the main compartment of my pack. Nothing special really. I do use the space of the inside of the pot to old this and that. But, it really depends on what I'm doing on what gets stored in it. Most times th fuel canister for my pocket rocket is in there.
     
  43. Aonarach1

    Aonarach1 Scout

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    I've only boiled and seasoned them with salt & butter, which was great! I found out recently that (like some of the other posters have said) the best part is the "head butter"...not sure how to get to it the right way, but it's supposed to be very good. Here are a few that I caught last summer:


    [​IMG]
     
  44. trevorludwig

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    I prefer them as bait...for now :)

    trev
     
  45. Tyrmak.Medic

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    thanks for the thread, buddy and I are trying a 3 day backpack outing for the first time and looking for food ideas, crawdad/crayfish are plentiful in the lakes by us. I know traditionalists suck off the heads down south with crawboils but anything wrong with cutting them off before hand and how far back should I cut?
     
  46. Pekane

    Pekane Scout

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    Nope, boil them whole and break off the tail to eat it. You don't have to suck the head
     
  47. MohaveGreen

    MohaveGreen Guide

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    Do you start with them in cold water and bring to a boil? Or do you throw them in already boiling water? Or does it matter?
     
  48. Pekane

    Pekane Scout

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    They cook quicker and die faster when the water is already boiling. YMMV
     
  49. Tyrmak.Medic

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    so you just are pulling the shell off from the tail end back, like pulling its pants off? or are you breaking the head off at that rate?
     
  50. Pekane

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