When fishing in small rivers or creeks, crawfish are one of the best baits you can use. You can bounce live crawdads near the bottom using a split shot rig, or you can opt for a heavier weight and just let your crawfish’s tail sit on the bottom.
But don’t make the mistake of thinking crawfish are only stream baits. They can also be used in lakes and reservoirs. In fact, crawfish are great for catching smallmouth bass, catfish, walleye and similar fish lake dwelling fish. Simply place the crayfish anywhere you find any of these game fish – from rocky points in the summer, to the edge of a grass bed in deep, open water.
You’ll want to use dead crawdads on a hook if you’re aiming to catch bullheads, catfish and carp. However, if you’re after smallmouth bass, use live, whole crayfish that you hook through the tail. And if you’re trying to catch pan fish, take the meat from the pincers or tail and use that as bait. Almost any fish will eat crawfish, so be prepared to catch anything from walleye to bluegills to trout.
You can find crawfish in some bait stores; however, if you’re looking for the freshest crawfish, you’ll have to find your own. You can do this by simply turning over a few rocks in a stream. If you’re looking for crawfish in a lake or river, you’ll have better luck if you tempt them with a few pieces of chicken placed inside a crawfish trap.
How to Hook a Crayfish
The best way to hook a crayfish for bait is to thread the hook through the back or forward part of the body so as not to puncture its vital organs. Alternatively, a crayfish can be hooked though the thick part of the tail.