The Favored Cajun Crawfish Bait, and How to Trap and Eat ‘em

Down in Louisiana, USA, there is a big demand for crawfish, so they know all about the best crawfish bait. If you ever heard of the country western singer Hank Williams, an American icon, you’ve heard him sing, “Jambalaya, crawfish pie, filet gumbo…” It aptly describes the culinary delights of Cajuns, and world-renowned New Orleans eateries.

Down on the bayou, as old Hank sings, is where they catch the fish, and they are the best. Here’s some hot tips on what to use for crawfish bait and how to trap ‘um.

You can catch them with a pole but its quicker and more profitable to use a trap. Assuming you have a proper trap, the right crawfish bait is critical.


While anything edible will catch a crawfish, the crawfish bait used by expert trappers is fresh fish – very fresh.  It must be very oily, but not a smelly old spoiled fish. Mud shad, menhaden, and salmon heads are excellent. Cut up the fish, including guts, and freeze it.  Then place the frozen fish in your trap.  Using a goodly amount helps.  The more the better. It is “gar-on-teed” (Cajun cook speak for guaranteed) to up your catch by over 10 pounds. If you have no fresh fish, Purina manufactures crawfish bait, which works ok when it’s warm outside.

You can make a trap yourself using half inch galvanized wire mesh and cloth from the hardware store. Or you can get one at a sporting goods store. Be sure to compare before you buy and obtain ideas from commercial fishing, so you’ll now what features are needed in a good trap.


Tie a strong rope to the trap and weight it with heavy rocks, then put it in the water.  Pick an area that has lots of growth for crawfish to eat.  They like to eat algae growing on rocks, and grass that grows in or near the water. Since these fish are night creatures, you can leave the trap all night. Just make sure the trap is secure so the catch won’t escape.

Now that you have a trap full of live crawfish, rinse them well and cook in boiling water.  Use a very large pot.  They will die while cooking (sad, I know).  Cook for about 8 minutes or until they turn red.  Break off the tails, peal, and eat. Connoisseurs especially like the little bits of claw meat, considered a delicacy.

Enjoy your craw fishing, trapping and eating.  Good luck!