Complement trout catch with abundant crayfish

Crayfish photo by George Andrejko, Arizona Game and Fish Department. For more information contact George Andrejko, 602-789-3231.
Crayfish photo by George Andrejko, Arizona Game and Fish Department.
For more information contact George Andrejko, 602-789-3231.


This is the time of year anglers head to the high country for some fishing and mountain air, so our biggest tip is augment your catch of trout or other fish with the abundant crayfish.

Crayfish are not native to Arizona. In fact, we are the only state in the lower 48 that doesn’t have native crayfish. In our trout lakes especially, they are a huge problem. So you can help the environment by catching and eating all of these delectable crustaceans you can.

Crayfish are free family fun

What’s more, it’s a lot of fun — especially for youngsters. Plus, all they really need is a stick and some string, or just string for that matter, plus a bucket or something to put the mud bugs into. A little piece of meat helps to attract the crayfish, such as a hot dog or small piece of bacon. Or a string soaked in bacon grease might attract a hoard of crayfish.

Kids can sight fish for crayfish, or simply toss a bait out, let it sink to the bottom, and pull it in when they feel a tug (sound familiar?).

Or set out a trap like this one:

Crayfish Trap

Preparing crayfish

For preparing the crayfish, keep in mind that most people overcook the crayfish and the meat becomes rubbery. To avoid this, bring the water to a boil, take the water off the heat, put in the crafish, keep the water OFF the heat, and in about 3 minutes, the crayfish should turn bright red, indicating they are done (this works for crab and lobster too).

If you want to get fancy, add a crab boil. These packets can be bought at just about any supermarket. You can cook the whole crayfish, but you can choose just to prepare the tails.

You can also boil or roast corn on the cob to go with the crayfish (and hopefully a trout or two). Melt a little butter and garlic (maybe some Mrs. Dash seasoning) for dipping the cooked crustaceans.

Nothing tastes quit as good as a meal your family has caught in the outdoors.

Eating such a meal in camp while the sun is going down and stars are filling the sky makes it even more special. These are the type of memories the whole family will look back upon in years or even decades to come.

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