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How to Catch Crawfish in Missouri Streams


Crawdads are also called crayfish or crawfish and these small crustaceans look like little lobsters, hence the nickname “poor man’s lobster.” Crawdads breathe through small feathery gills and are found in bodies of water which do not freeze like brooks, streams and creek beds with fresh running water. Crawdads can be found all over the world from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia and even in Missouri. These little crustaceans are eaten all over the world, but only a small portion of the body is actually consumed and enjoyed in soups, etouffees and bisques.

crawdadCatching crawdads is an enjoyable activity for people of all ages and these little crustaceans are quite plentiful in the streams, brooks and creeks of Missouri. First, there is a list of items a person will need before setting out to hunt crawdads which includes a long handled net, string, meat bait and a bucket. Once these things have been assembled, you are then prepared to go exploring and catch some of these tasty little critters.

The first thing you need to do is find a creek, pond or stream where the bottom can be seen and it is neither too cold nor too deep. It is important the stream or body of water be fed with fresh water and crawdads prefer plenty of cover, so search for decomposing grass or big piles of leaves. Another important thing to remember is that if the body of water is deeper, check for rocks with rich algae growth which helps break the current and gives the crawdad an easy hunting ground.

There are two ways of hunting crawdads and one can either use an old fashioned cane pole and a hot dog for bait, which is particularly fun for kids or there are traps which can be set up in the area. When searching the water, look under weeds, under rocks or logs or any place which could provide a crawdad with privacy and plenty of cover. Once you have found the hiding place, you are then ready to set your trap and tempt them out of hiding.

Tie a piece of string around a chunk of meat; you can use a hot dog like mentioned above or a piece of chicken or lunchmeat. The use of meat is to get the crawdads out of their hiding place by putting it close to the hiding spots to see if any can be tempted to come out and bite. It is important to slowly pull the meat along the creek or brook bottom and once hooked, catch the crawdad from the back and secure with your net and put into a bucket.

Crawdads are natural scavengers and will not likely be able to resist a free meal, so you should not have much difficulty luring and catching them. Catching crawdads is usually as simple as throwing out and dragging some bait and because these little monsters are so gluttonous you can pull them right out of the water and pop them into your bucket.


Will Hanke is a float trip fanatic and an Amazon bestselling author. He owns Red Canoe Media, an Internet marketing agency south of St. Louis. When he's not geeking out, he's probably on the river in, yes, a red canoe.

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