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BiggerWorm

Crawdads/Crayfish

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At what water temperature do crayfish come out of hybernation?  Has anyone seen any active crayfish while out fishing this spring?  If so, what was the water temp where you were fishing?

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From my experience,a steady 55-56 water temp will get them goin'.

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my tiny test pond had a thin layer of ice in the shadows, and i was slowly jerking a husky jerk. I felt weight, set the hook, and reeled in a crawdad. The must be up and about pretty dang early.

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They should be out between 55-60 degrees depending on water clarity.  In muddy water they will come out a bit earlier.  

Rocknfish....that sounds like a trip of mine when I caught a bullfrog on a topwater frog :P  Strange things happen on the water sometimes. lol

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yea ive caught a bullfrog on a tiny torpedo, and a sea gull on a mirror lure, and a snake on a scum frog, and a few turtles on devils horse, and like a million alligators on different topwater lures.... but anyways, the crawfish are already active right now, cause some of the fish ive cleaned have crawfish in the fishes stomachs.. but i live in south louisiana so

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I live in South Central Pa and the water temp in my home river is in the 50-52 range. I haven't seen any active crawfish yet but there are several places in the rocks where I find legs, claws, and shell fragments from crawfish devoured by hungry smallies! Natural tube and grub colors are catching me some decent 12-15" fish. 8-) I've never used live crawfish as bait.

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I've never used live crawfish as bait. How long will they stay alive?

Only until a smallie plasters it...... ;)

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Here in Missouri the low fifties water temp gets them moving.  We usually go from a shad die off (jerkbait bite) to a crankbait bite as the water warms.  There is a short week or so period inbetween when both methods work on the same lake.  

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I was watching Bill Dance the other day and he said it was a common misconception that crawdads hibernate .............  But maybe that's just his ponds.

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I was watching Bill Dance the other day and he said it was a common misconception that crawdads hibernate ............. But maybe that's just his ponds.

Of course crawdads dont hibernate in Dance's ponds......they are all heated and cooled......the lowest temps in his ponds are 62 and the highest they ever get is 72. ;D

Must be nice Bill   :-?

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Crawdads will typically start exposing themselves once water temp's reach low fifties.  The males will begin their own spawing season within 1-2 weeks once the water temps are in low fifties.  The males will expose themselves with pincers sticking out like the torches, hence easy meal for a sluggish bass, in hopes of attracting a female.  Pre-spawn is the best time to utilize soft plastics representing craw dads.  Some studies I have read in the past have stating, "bass prefer crawdads without pincers" - hence soft plastic tubes.  There are numerous species of crawdads so colors are hard to match from lake to lake.

Try chucking out a crawdad trap on your next fishing trip, check color and size, then dig through that bag of plastics and match up the best you can.  Fish the rip-rap on min. 3/8 oz weight (to keep in on the bottom) and sweep/twitch your rod from side to side vs. up and down when retrieving, then reel up the slack, give a little twitch and go again.  

Can ya tell I love fishing crawdads.....Check out Yum's crawbug.....

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from "Biology of a northern crayfish"

-What do crayfish do in winter? It's thought that they become much less active, but they do not go dormant or hibernate. Adult crayfish move to deeper water for the winter to avoid possible freeze-outs.

When they can finally be seen in the shallows, 55-60 degrees, it's game time.  This is the main reason our shallow coves turn on so much earlier than the main lake body.  This combined with the increasing warmth of the shallow water heating up makes the coves a prime place to start in the spring

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We have our LSU crawfish boil in May of each year and we check with Obie Watts in Plaquemine, Louisiana (south of Baton Rouge on the other side of the river), a crawfish farmer, beginning in January to see how his crawfish are doing.

They were moving around in February in Louisiana and they are very nice this year so they are on the move!

I think the 55 degree temperature is an outstanding measure but of course it depends on other factors, too.

I have not seen them on the move in central Virginia as of April 1 but with the warmer temperatures they will be out and about, soon.

They are great when you cook them with some onions, potatoes and Cajun spices.  I can eat at least 5 pounds at one sitting.  

And the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries asked me not to fish with them as they are the Red River variety and they are more agressive then the Virginia species.

But they still taste good!

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