Discussion in 'Lake Powell Fishing' started by mtnpull, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. mtnpull

    mtnpull Well-Known Member

    Just curious what the population of crawfish is like in Powell? I'm constantly finding crawfish in the stomachs of smallies we catch, but I rarely see any in the lake, so I know there has to be a decent population. I also usually see pretty small ones in the stomachs of the bass.

    When at Strawberry I see crawfish all the time and they are pretty big comparatively. So is it just the fact that powell has so much rock and structure that it is tough to actually see them as opposed to other lakes?

    What are your thoughts?
  2. wayne gustaveson

    wayne gustaveson Administrator Staff Member

    Crayfish are the 2nd most popular bait for game fish after shad. Any crawdad sticking its head out from under a rock is a target. We have a large amount of crayfish in the lake but not as many as we have fish. My best means of gauging crayfish abundance is to look in fish stomachs. We cannot catch them consistently in minnow traps.
    Bill Sampson and mtnpull like this.
  3. Dungee Fishing

    Dungee Fishing Well-Known Member

    I've also only ever seen a few, but they are constantly in the stomach of fish.
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  4. mtnpull

    mtnpull Well-Known Member

    Thanks Wayne! Does it ever appear to be a shortage or do the repopulate quickly enough? Just trying to learn a little more here.
  5. wayne gustaveson

    wayne gustaveson Administrator Staff Member

    They repopulate quickly but if you asked the fish they would want more. Its a balancing act between predators and prey. If I could choose I would provide more.
    Bill Sampson likes this.
  6. Dorado

    Dorado Well-Known Member

    Can we train them to eat Quaggas?
  7. Edward Gerdemann

    Edward Gerdemann Well-Known Member

    I think there have been a lot more crayfish in the lake the past two or three years than before as I've seen so many in the smallmouths I've filleted. Even when shad are abundant the smallies seem to prefer to chow down on crayfish - at least that's what the stomach contents of those I catch are telling me. I know this is not scientific, but it really seems like the smallmouths in the lower lake have been eating more crayfish than ever over the past few years. :)

    Ed Gerdemann
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  8. Mildog

    Mildog Member

    I have been catching crayfish to eat since I moved to Utah in 1970 so I have a lot if interest in them.
    35 years ago at Powell we would walk the shoreline at night with flashlights and see lots of crayfish out and about and we could turn over rocks and catch some. There would also be lots of activity around fish carcasses tossed in the lake, there were so many they would drag the carcasses away to even deeper water and by morning they were all gone. They seemed to be a little larger back then, but not that much. Even then we would never have much luck catching them with traps at Lake Powell. In more recent years on many trips I have looked and see very few if any, yet they are always present in fish stomachs. I think the smallmouth are so efficient at eating them they keep the numbers in check. It seems there are less around since the SMB became more prolific in the lake. Wayne would have more expertise on this, but I think the type of crayfish in Powell is different from the ones in Strawberry, Scofield etc. I have been told those are non native and were brought in years ago either accidentally with warm water fish from other states or on purpose as food for fish and then moved around illegally?? I can remember when there were not any of the bigger crayfish in Strawberry at all. I attended a meeting back in the eighty's if I remember correctly when the DWR changed the rules on transporting Crayfish alive to limit them being moved around. They had a map showing where they were spreading to, but that they were not in Strawberry yet. I told them at the time that they were already there but you could only find them near the boat ramps, (go figure) now of course they are everywhere.
    On a side note we used to catch lots of them in traps at Deer Creek years ago, now they seem to be very few, the introduction on SMB and Walleye I think have kept the numbers down from where they used to be......
    Mildog out
  9. wayne gustaveson

    wayne gustaveson Administrator Staff Member

    “Orconectes virilis is a popularly consumed food in the United States and increasingly more so in Europe (Collicut, undated). O. virilis a commonly used fish bait and is sold as such in bait shops. It is also sold commercially in the pet trade as pets or prey for predaceous aquarium fishes (Hunner, 1997). Beginning in approximately 1950 O. virilis was stocked as a biological control in the Colorado River watershed of western New Mexico and northeastern Arizona, primarily for vegetation control (Johnson, 1986).”

    The crayfish now present (Orconectes virilis) in Lake Powell was introduced before the lake was impounded. Luckily it has been a good forage source and not caused other damage that different species can create in new habitats. I am glad we have a good forage source for bass and other fish when shad are in low supply. They hide under rocks in the day time and come out to feed at night. The population seems to be consistent in number but are not easy to quantify.

  10. Meatwagon

    Meatwagon Well-Known Member

    Has there been a study to see if they forage on the quagga mussels?