Any crawdad cooking experts out there?

Cliff

Well-Known Member
I know of a lake in Utah that has huge crawdads in it (I've seen the skeletons on the beach) but with the no live transport law in Utah I'm wondering how to get them home to boil. I've never done it but want to try them from that lake.
Many southerners will not cook and eat a dead crawdad. So how do you get them home to cook and stay within the law?
Are they just as good cooked dead or alive? Or do they make you dead if you cook them dead? :) :)
Can you pack them in a plastic bag full of ice? Do you have to pierce the head before you ice them? If so, can you cook them several hours later after you get home if they are dead when you leave the lake?
I've read somewhere that they start a chemical process internally that makes them inedible shortly after dying
Do you "clean" them by salting water while they are alive and soaking them in that? Do you twist the center tail fin and remove the main vein in the body?
 

SeaLegs

Well-Known Member
I have boiled crawfish a few times. A spicy Cajun seasoning with some sliced corn cobs and sausage. They must be alive. Crawfish are easy to keep alive in a cooler filled with water.
 

Cliff

Well-Known Member
I have boiled crawfish a few times. A spicy Cajun seasoning with some sliced corn cobs and sausage. They must be alive. Crawfish are easy to keep alive in a cooler filled with water.
Yes they can be kept alive but my point is I can't transport them from the lake to home alive by law.
I'm looking for other ideas Got any? I'm all ears
 

SeaLegs

Well-Known Member
Yes they can be kept alive but my point is I can't transport them from the lake to home alive by law.
I'm looking for other ideas Got any? I'm all ears
You can harvest and transport live crawfish to your kitchen.
 

Not Yet You Bet

Well-Known Member
The problem is that in the Utah fishing regulations it states "You may not transport live fish or crayfish away from the water where they were caught."

The only option you have to cook them alive, is to cook them where you catch them. That is not easy sometimes.

One time we were at a reservoir when they shut the water off, and the outlet pool dropped way down and there was thousands of crayfish coming out of the rocks. We went around picking up buckets full of crayfish, but we had nothing with us to cook them in, so we put the buckets in the vehicle and went directly home. It was maybe a half hour to an hour before we got home. We started washing the mud off of them before we cooked them and they were still alive. So did we break the law? or should this be legal? We transported them in an open bucket with no water on them. What is considered alive?

If we would have dumped them out after we realized we could not cook them alive we would have broken another law of waisting ("you may not waste any fish or crayfish or allow them to be wasted or spoiled. Waste means to abandon a fish or crayfish or allow it to spoil or be used in a manner not normally associated with its beneficial use. For example, using the meat of game fish as fertilizer or for trapping bait is not considered a beneficial use of the meat.")

Another example is catching crayfish at Strawberry. We caught a bunch and transported them to our campsite to cook them. Is this considered transporting live crayfish away from the water where they were caught? I don't think it should be, but the letter of the law says it is.

Even though these are examples and did not happen, I make my point that staying within the law when it comes to crayfish is not easy.

I have been told that you can break the tails off and put them on ice and then cook them later, but my experience has not been good when I tried this. The meat had a taste that was not good. Also it is not easy to break the tails off of 200+ crawdads and keep them iced. It also takes a long time, but I think this would be considered dead (not alive). There is a reason why they say crawdads must be alive when you cook them.

OK, I do have a reason for all of this. I think the regulations on crayfish need to be changed. The reason for these regulations is to keep crayfish out of the waters where they did not already exist. We tried that and it has not worked. We have crayfish in most of our reservoirs and water drainages now. Asking people not to put crayfish into waters other than where they were caught would probably work as good and not make it so hard to catch and cook crayfish (and be within the law). We could educate people not to move them and promote catching and eating crayfish. That may not totally prevent people from moving them, but it would probably work as good as what we have now, and at least it would not penalize the people that want to catch and eat them. If something doesn't work, lets get rid of it. The regulation that states you can not transport live crayfish away from the water where they were caught needs to be changed.
 

dlandon

Well-Known Member
I know of a lake in Utah that has huge crawdads in it (I've seen the skeletons on the beach) but with the no live transport law in Utah I'm wondering how to get them home to boil. I've never done it but want to try them from that lake.
Many southerners will not cook and eat a dead crawdad. So how do you get them home to cook and stay within the law?
Are they just as good cooked dead or alive? Or do they make you dead if you cook them dead? :) :)
Can you pack them in a plastic bag full of ice? Do you have to pierce the head before you ice them? If so, can you cook them several hours later after you get home if they are dead when you leave the lake?
I've read somewhere that they start a chemical process internally that makes them inedible shortly after dying
Do you "clean" them by salting water while they are alive and soaking them in that? Do you twist the center tail fin and remove the main vein in the body?
The posted article has great information.

Our dive shop club puts on a crawdad dive and cookout every year up at Strawberry Reservoir. We usually have 15-20 divers participate and we collect anywhere from 10 to 15 gallons of crawdads. Once we’re done collecting our lunch, everyone pitches in by prepping them for cooking. We save some for fettuccine and the rest are boiled with Cajun seasoning, corn, and fingerling potatoes.
 

Cliff

Well-Known Member
In my research on this I found (with little trouble) 2 posted Utubes of people doing just what we are talking about.
One caught crawdads at Strawberry and took a huge cooler of them home and cooked them on the video and another did the same at another body of water in Utah.
Question- Is there a body of water anywhere in the state of Utah that does not have crawfish in it and the DNR wants to keep them out? With as ubiquitous as they are around the state, does the current law really need to be there in the regs?
Its kind of like not transporting chubs but they are back in Panguitch

Maybe Wayne could put us in touch with a DNR expert that could shed light on the subject?
 

dlandon

Well-Known Member
In my research on this I found (with little trouble) 2 posted Utubes of people doing just what we are talking about.
One caught crawdads at Strawberry and took a huge cooler of them home and cooked them on the video and another did the same at another body of water in Utah.
Question- Is there a body of water anywhere in the state of Utah that does not have crawfish in it and the DNR wants to keep them out? With as ubiquitous as they are around the state, does the current law really need to be there in the regs?
Its kind of like not transporting chubs but they are back in Panguitch

Maybe Wayne could put us in touch with a DNR expert that could shed light on the subject?
From my understanding and what is on the DWR website, crawdads are just about everywhere because fishermen have done what they’re not supposed to. It’s quite clear in the regs that transporting them live is illegal. My guess is there are waters that don’t have them. I know Pelican doesn’t. It’s a small fishery, but it doesn’t have them.

If there are videos of guys transporting them, that could be unfortunate for them. We do all our catching, cooking, and eating all at the Berry.
 

haulnass

Member
is it possible nature has allowed the distribution of crawfish naturally and was not due to "man" being responsible?
I honestly believe that nature has it's own set of rules that doesn't follow DNR regs!
 

SeaLegs

Well-Known Member
A couple of years ago a DNR Ranger told me it is legal to transport live crawfish for consumption but he also told me I needed a paddle in my boat that has a trolling motor attached.
 

Cliff

Well-Known Member
A couple of years ago a DNR Ranger told me it is legal to transport live crawfish for consumption but he also told me I needed a paddle in my boat that has a trolling motor attached.
Hence my request for a definitive answer from a DNR contact
 

SeaLegs

Well-Known Member
He also told me needed a bailing bucket even though I a had a bilge pump. Hope you get your answer soon.
 

KYKevin

Well-Known Member
I use to go out and get them for Bluegill bait, it is a great bait. I would go after the boat's got off, and it was dark, they come in to the bank, and I would just wade around the edge, and float an empty gallon ice cream bucket, and pick them up, tear the tale off, and throw it in the bucket, and throw the rest back out in the water. After they were out in the sun, and got to smelling a little, the Bluegill would come and find them.
I took 80 big one's home and cooked them, and I found out real fast they were not worth the trouble for me, the Cajun's suck the gut's out, so they get a little more out of them. But that was not for me. And 80 tale's were not enough for 5 people.
They are like a Night crawler, they will catch a variety of fish. If you decide like I did that there not worth the hassle, you can all way's use them for bait.
And try going out there after it get's dark, they will come to the bank. And it is much easier to catch them.
 

wayne gustaveson

Moderator
Staff member
"You may only use live crayfish for bait if you are on the water where the crayfish were captured. It is unlawful to transport live crayfish away from the water where they were captured." These are rules from the UT Fishing Proclamation. I know that some species of crayfish are predatory and could change the food chain in a lake. I will try to get more information and let you know what I find out.
 

dlandon

Well-Known Member
"You may only use live crayfish for bait if you are on the water where the crayfish were captured. It is unlawful to transport live crayfish away from the water where they were captured." These are rules from the UT Fishing Proclamation. I know that some species of crayfish are predatory and could change the food chain in a lake. I will try to get more information and let you know what I find out.
R657-13-15. Taking Crayfish.
(1) A person possessing a valid Utah fishing or combination license may take crayfish for personal, noncommercial purposes during the open fishing season set for the given body of water.

(2) Crayfish may be taken by hand or with a trap, pole, liftnet, dipnet, handline, or seine, provided that:

(a) game fish or their parts, or any substance unlawful for angling, is not used for bait;

(b) seines shall not exceed 10 feet in length or width;

(c) no more than five lines are used, and no more than two lines may have hooks attached. On unhooked lines, bait is tied to the line so that the crayfish grasps the bait with its claw; and

(d) live crayfish are not transported from the body of water where taken.

R657-13-17. Possession of Live Fish and Crayfish.
(1) A person may not possess or transport live protected aquatic wildlife except as provided by the Wildlife Code or the rules and proclamation of the Wildlife Board.

(2) For purposes of this rule, a person may not transport live fish or crayfish away from the water where taken.

(3) This does not preclude the use of live fish stringers, live wells, or hold type cages as part of normal angling procedures while on the same water in which the fish or crayfish are taken.
 

RamRod

Member
Catch the crawdaddy keep them alive tell you leave
Then dump the catch in a cooler full of ice .
been the best way I could figure out .
the ice keeps them fresh for cooking same day you get back home .
 
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