I cant tell you what lakes to fish for them on in Colorado but I'm sure there are plenty. Growing up I personally liked sticking a small worm on a hook and lowering it in between rocks along the river and pulling out crawpappies all day long while waiting to here the bell on my pole jingle. But this can take alot of time if you have kids I think they would find it enjoyable.
The more effecient way to do it and the way I use to do it; buy a minnow trap like the one on http://www.billssportshop.com/nets/traps1.html "Danielson MINNOW TRAP DANMTW " any of the ones that have the concaved ends. I think these work better then the crawdad trap that is on that page as well. However you have to modify it so that crawdads can crawl into them. So cut about a 2 inch hole at the peaks of the concaved part.
Bait: I have used hot dogs but what seems to do best for some reason is old chicken, maybe chicken hotdogs would be good.
If you catch alot you should try having a crawdad broil they can be yummy.
Try Chatfield, especially on the West side of the res. There are some convenient shallows south(?.) (..past the boat ramp and moving away from the dam...) of the West boat ramp. I've seen people there with buckets and flashlights just wading in the knee deep water and catching crawdads. They were catching them to ....eat!
I get mine from Lake Arbor off of 80th and Sheridan at the spill way end of the lake, and from the lake on 88th and Colorado, there are tons in there. I have tried using the bait traps but catch them a lot faster by hand with a piece of line and a hook with a worm on it, or hot dogs, liver etc.
Try putting a piece of liver on a string and drop it in shallow water close to shore. let it sit out for 20-30 minutes and the crayfish will be all over it. Good places for crayfish are the kingfisher area at Chatfield, the south shore of the marina area at Aurora(very large crayfish at Aurora) Aslo don't forget the ponds and small lakes scattered through out the metro area. most of them are full of crayfish.
Yep, We used to do this when we were kids and got 100's
Once fishing off of the jetty at C.creek I caught a crawfish that had to be close to 10in long, no lie. This thing looked like a lobster. When reeling it in I thought I had a fish due to the fact that it was tugging and fighting.
I've fished them for Wiper before on a Slip Rig(C.Rig). Im guessing though that any fish will take them. We started using them cause we couldnt keep the C.Dads from eating our worms off our hooks se we said the next one we got would become bait. Havnt had a prob yet with another crawdad eating its own kind.
When I use crayfish I usually fish them a three ways.
1. hooked through the back of tail, that way if I am drifting it looks like they are swimming. I can fish them at any depth I tend to get a higher hook rate, since a lot of fish will take them tail first.
2. Through the head, generally i do that if I am still fishing it keeps them from burrowing and they tend to try tyo dig down in the bottom and attract more attention.
3. Rip the head off the body and fish the tail only. I usually peel them too. Just cover the hook and depending on the species I am pursuing dictates the size of hook and how much meat I use.
I have success with these methods for bass, catfish and perch.
Another note, If you wanna use fresh crayfish, don't overload the bucket with them. The water needs to be changed frequently too keep it fresh and to keep them alive. Also they will keep suprisingly long if you put them in a tupperware type container and put wet newspaper or some wet sponges in it. As long as they stay cool they will last all day long.
When fishing them whole you might want to tear their pinchers off, still alive they will try to defend themselves against a catfish so no pinchers = no defense. I also peel the back shell off maybe old supersition or what have you but I think it allows their smell to reach the fish faster or makes it a stronger smell, was told that growing up so thats how I do it.
For some reason, crayfish can be a favorite for wiper. Sometimes the wipers that I have fished for will chose nothing but crayfish. I've experimented with mussells and of course nightcrawlers and shiners alongside with crayfish. When all others fail, crayfish is the way to go.
Wiper like most bass feed on crawdads as a main source of food and since a crawdad next to a worm is like comparing a lobster to a hotdog i'd probably choose the crawdad too.
This is why most bass scent baits or sprays are crayfish scented, its very important to kill what ever smells you transfer from your human hands to your fish baits so its usually a good idea to use these.
I accidently spilled a bucket with about 24 crawdads in it in the back of our truck one day going to the lake. When i got there i gathered them all up, thought for sure i had them all, went about my day fishing and went home. later i went out to our truck to get something out of the back of it and when i opened it up, there was this little crawdad, madder than a hatter, both claws up in the air. I could not believe it, that it was still alive after at least 5 hours in the back of the truck out of water. I took it in the house and put it in the fish tank.
I do want to ask if anyone here ever freezes crawdads to use for a later date? I have tried that but find that for some reason, they turn black on me. Anyone know why that happens?
Freezer Burn? I dunno.... I noticed that too when I freeze mine.
I tend to go with the myth: "fish like em fresh"... Like if I plan to use the tail only, I would let em stay alive all the way up until I'm ready to use it for bait and then rip off the head (Sounds so graphic).
If you do that and peel the tail for just the meat, before you cast it in, you'll notice the little muscles of the tail twitching. My personal theory (which may be totally incorrect) says that makes the tail a "hot" bait until the twitching goes away. I dunno...... I have weird beliefs on my fishing tactics.
Usually it doesn't make a difference if the tail twitches or not. But fresh crawdads do make a difference.
When I freeze crayfish i put them in a small container, usually 10-15 tails only and cover them completely with water and freeze. the block is small enough to melt easily, I don't waste alot of tails and it cuts the freezer burn down.
After a couple of times of them turning black in the freezer, i quit freezing them and set up a fish tank with an areator to keep them in. I never thought about putting them in a container with water in it to freeze though so that's a good idea.
I usually just use the tail meat and take the outer shell off. I have tried using whole ones but haven't had any luck yet with that.