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Steve_IA

Crawfish size

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What size crawfish are preferred by your smallies?  Anybody pay particular attention to the craw"parts" spit up from the smallies in your livewell and hazard a guess as to the size of the eaten craw?

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I think a smallmouth will eat any crawfish it can fit in its mouth.  I just use the spit-up parts to see what colour the crawfish are if I'm fishing a new lake.

One thing I've read about crawfish size is that in lakes with rock bass (which is a lot of lakes up here), big craws live up in the shallow water while the small ones stay deep.  This is because if the small ones were in the shallow water, they would get eaten by the rock bass.  The big ones don't really have to worry about it that, so they can stay in the shallow water.  I take that into consideration when I'm choosing a bait for largemouths or smallies.  If I'm shallow I'll reach for a bulkier jig or tube, but for deep water I might downsize it.  Sometimes if the lake has two different kinds of crawfish, and one is big and one is small, the crawfish might actually look different at the different depths, so a colour change might be in order.

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Don't ask me why, but sometimes the size of the natural forage you find in the gizzard

of a fish is not the same size that produces the best action (pike are a good example).

For run-of-the-mill smallies, I try to keep the overall length around 3.5",

where I'd move to 3" before 4". In trophy waters like the TVA impoundments,

Tennessee River, Columbia River and Lake Erie, that range can be bumped up an inch.

At least, that's my experience.

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