Trout are known to have a very diverse diet. They are opportunistic feeders and they will eat almost everything from small baitfish to insects as well as some crustaceans like shrimp.
Crustaceans are aquatic invertebrates that have a hard segmented outer body shell and a soft inner body with chewy flesh. Other kinds of crustacean that can be effective as trout bait are crayfish.
So, do trout eat crayfish? Trout do eat crayfish. Crayfish are effective as bait because trout will be attracted to the strong scent and natural action produced by them. However, it’s more common for stocked trout to eat crayfish than wild trout because crayfish are found in southeast areas of the US, while wild trout are found closer to the northern US.
Keep reading to learn more about why crayfish are good as bait, how to catch them, and how to rig them for trout fishing.
What Makes Crayfish Good as Trout Bait?
Crayfish are good as trout bait because they produce a strong scent in the water that trout can easily detect along with strong action in the water that will effectively grab the trout’s attention.
They’re also convenient for anglers as they’re easy to catch and easy to rig for trout fishing.
How to Catch Crayfish?
To use crayfish as bait, you will need to know where, when, and how to catch them.
Crayfish can be found in most lakes, ponds, streams and rivers throughout southeastern areas in the US and some areas in Canada. You can target them in slow-moving waters and areas with heavy cover and vegetation as they prefer to crawl under areas of cover to hide.
They are easier to find during the summer when the water temperature is warm and they will be the most active during nighttime.
Now, let’s take a look at some methods that will help you catch crayfish.
Catching Crayfish by Hand
The easiest way to catch crayfish is by hand. All you need to do is lift rocks in shallow areas of streams or lakes to find the crayfish hiding underneath.
Keep in mind the way the current is flowing and make sure to lift the rocks slowly to avoid scaring the crayfish.
Once you’ve found the crayfish, slowly reach with your hand into the water and grab the crayfish in one fluid motion. Make sure to grab the crayfish’s from behind to avoid getting pinched by its claws.
Here is a good video showing how to catch crayfish by hand:
Catching Crayfish Using a Trap
You will be able to catch crayfish in larger quantities using traps. There are two kinds of traps for catching crayfish which are open traps and closed traps.
Open traps are basically collapsible nets that are open at one end. They can be placed out for several hours.
Closed traps on the other hand are more complex and they have a funnel at one end to prevent crayfish from escaping. They can be placed out overnight.
Here is another video showing you how to catch a crayfish with a trap:
Can You Make a Crayfish Trap at Home?
You can make a very simple trap for the crayfish using common household supplies. You will only need an empty plastic bottle that’s about 2-3 liters, scissors, 15-20 feet of rope, and some bait for the crayfish.
Here’s how to put the trap together:
- Cut the bottle in half at the mouth using the scissors. Try to cut in a straight line so that the edges are matching.
- Separate the cut pieces of the bottle then insert the mouth piece into the base. Make sure to push down until the cut edges of the bottle line up.
- Cut several holes around the lined up edges of the bottle. Make sure that you’re cutting through both pieces of the bottle and that the holes are big enough to run a rope through them.
- Run a small piece of rope through the cut holes then tie it off to secure the mouth piece to the base.
- Cut more holes in the base of the bottle to allow water flow in and out. These holes need to be small so that the crayfish cannot get back out through them.
- Tie one end of a long piece of rope through the holes in the base of the bottle then tie its other end to something on the shore to secure the trap.
- Add some bait for the crayfish such as tuna or some fish food in the bottle then submerge it in the water.
- Leave the trap in the water a few hours or overnight then check back to see if you’ve caught any crayfish.
What Are the Regulations for Catching Crayfish?
Most US states require anglers to have a fishing license to catch crayfish in public waters. You can learn how to get a fishing license in every state here and how much it costs as well.
It’s also illegal for anglers to possess more than 100 crayfish unless they’re licensed bait dealers and there’s a bait dealer permit required to sell or buy crawfish.
Some states have restrictions on transporting crayfish because they can be considered invasive species in some areas.
So, it’s very important to check all the laws and regulations regarding crawfish in your state before attempting to catch them.
How to Rig Crayfish for Trout Fishing?
There are various ways you can rig a crayfish for trout fishing.
You can thread the hook through the crayfish’s head in two ways. The first way is to push the hook in from underneath the crayfish’s head then out on the top while the second way is to push the hook in through the top of the crayfish’s head then push the point of the hook underneath its vital organs.
You can also thread the hook through the hard part of the crawfish’s tail by pushing it in through the bottom of the tail and then out the top. This way will create better action in the water.
Is It Legal to Use Crayfish as Trout Bait?
It is legal to use crayfish as trout bait in almost all states if you’re fishing using a line and hook technique. However, there might be some regulations using chumming techniques with crayfish in some states. So, it’s important that you check the regulations in your state and confirm with the local authorities before using crayfish as trout bait,
Can You Use Artificial Crayfish Lures for Trout?
You can use artificial crayfish lures for Trout. That is because artificial crayfish lures can effectively mimic the appearance and action of live crayfish which makes them just as appealing to trout. Crayfish lure are available in a variety of sizes, weights and colors to suit fishing for trout in different conditions.
You can learn more about using artificial lures for trout here.
Level Up your Trout Fishing
- Gear up with the best Trout Fishing Rods here
- Check out the best Trout Fishing Reels here
- Find the best fishing lines for Trout here
- Learn about hook sizing for trout here, and the best baits for trout here.
- You can’t go wrong with these powerbaits for trout.
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