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Crayfish in Alberta


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#1 African_Fever

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 07:50 AM

I'm wondering if anyone has ever caught many crayfish in Alberta, or knows of good places/ways to catch them in the southern half of the province. I'm thinking about using them as food for my rays, but have never had much luck in the way of catching them. I know they're around here (had one in a tank for years when I was younger), but all the times I've set out a trap I haven't come up with anything. Any bait ideas for them?

Thanks.

#2 fatpuffer

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 08:08 AM

I heard Blindman River here in Red Deer/Blackfalds have some. It might be illegal to catch them and keep the alive...I think you have to kill it on the spot and not transport them live. Ask Christian...he'll have more info about that.

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#3 BlackMumba

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 08:14 AM

I'm wondering if anyone has ever caught many crayfish in Alberta, or knows of good places/ways to catch them in the southern half of the province. I'm thinking about using them as food for my rays, but have never had much luck in the way of catching them. I know they're around here (had one in a tank for years when I was younger), but all the times I've set out a trap I haven't come up with anything. Any bait ideas for them?

Thanks.


Two years ago we went to B.C. the lake we were vacationing in was infested with them. All we used was HOTDOGS, put a hotdog on a fork dig into the sand, at night use a flash light wait for a bit, get a net and scoop up! We caught about 100 easy of good sized ones, the smaller ones we through back.

Now, I haven't seen any here in Alberta, Patrick loves these as a snacks. He says they are yummy... -01- In Sweden where patrick is from this is their favorite snack.... Go to IKEA in the frozen food section they sell them.

It would be interesting to find a place here that does have them. You would prob, find them in the lakes in the mountains.

#4 African_Fever

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 08:22 AM

There is a species that is native to Alberta, and from what most of my research says it is illegal to possess any live crays. The one I had as a kid was caught in Echo Dale right outside the Hat (there's both a swimming and fishing pond that are filled from the South Saskatchewan), and I've seen the remains of molting there, but never been able to catch any myself. I've always just assumed that the crays in Echo Dale came in from the South Saskatchewan as it's filled from there, and this was the native species of cray that I had.

BlackMumba - which lake was that?

Edited by African_Fever, 22 May 2008 - 08:24 AM.


#5 BlackMumba

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 09:41 AM

There is a species that is native to Alberta, and from what most of my research says it is illegal to possess any live crays. The one I had as a kid was caught in Echo Dale right outside the Hat (there's both a swimming and fishing pond that are filled from the South Saskatchewan), and I've seen the remains of molting there, but never been able to catch any myself. I've always just assumed that the crays in Echo Dale came in from the South Saskatchewan as it's filled from there, and this was the native species of cray that I had.

BlackMumba - which lake was that?


http://www.idabellakeresort.com/

It was in B.C. near Kelowna... and your allowed to have live Crayfish there is a limit per day though... now are we allowed to bring any live into Alberta is something I didn't research, Patrick eat them all! lol

#6 BigA

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 10:10 AM

Did a little research for you on this. The 1 crayfish species that is native to Alberta is called Orconectes virilis. Lives in waterways on the eastern side of the province, from the USA border up to Lac La Biche. More info from a study at U of A is available here about halfway down the page.

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#7 darkangel

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 04:29 PM

The man made lake just outside Morinville along the Hwy has lots of them of varous sizes from 1/2" up to 4". Just walk around the shoreline lift up a rock and you will find 2 to3 of them under it. My son caught over a 100 of them inside of a half hour. As far as keeping them alive I don't know what the laws are.

#8 patrick

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 06:44 PM

I looked into this a couple of years ago. I beleive there is no restriction how much crayfish you are allowed to catch, and you do not need a fishing license since they are considered bait. The problem however is that people are spreading bait crayfish into waters where they could potentially cause alot of problems. I read a while ago that it is illegal to posess cray as bait in Manitoba, and possibly now in Alberta as well. I don't think that bringing them home to eat them, or feeding your ray's would be illegal though.

The Orconectes virilis can reach about 10-12cm in size which is a bit small for human consumption as far as I am concerned, but if there are lots of them I can eat a bucket :D

In sweden the minimun allowed size is 12cm (from the head to the back of the tail when folded out). I have cathed some almost twice that size. It's a thrill sticking your hand between rocks trying to catch them, knowing how big their claws are...

The best to use when catching them is raw fish, either in a trap or on a stick. I always use a stick with a hole in it where I force the raw fish through and then attach the stick to the bottom close enough to the shore that I can reach out.
I would put out the bait sticks in the late afternoon and start checking them once it is getting dark using a flashlight. If I see a crayfish I quickly point the flash light in a different direction and move into postition. Once I am ready I either point the light a bit away from the cray, just enough that I can see it, and slowly move my hand close and grab it.
The other way to do it is to blind the cray with the light. You will have a few seconds to catch it before it figures out what is going on.
If the bottom is sandy without too many rocks, a regular butterfly net from the dollar store will work as well. If you approach the cray from behind he will get scared and swim right into the net.

#9 FrogFan23

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 07:15 PM

I know someone who works in the field. It is illegal to catch and transport living specimens of our native crayfish. The species is highly invasive and can very quickly disrupt the eco-system of an area they are introduced into, thus the law is intended to prevent their spread. My understanding is that the fines are quite high if caught.

Here is the excerpt from the Alberta General Fisheries Regulation:

Bait fish and crayfish

8(1) A person shall not be in possession of live bait fish or crayfish

( a ) unless they are possessed as specifically authorized under the authority of a research licence, or

( b ) if imported, unless they are held in contained waters as pets or for sale as pets.

(2) A person is not in possession of fish for the purposes of subsection (1) if, in the course of fishing, it is immediately returned to the waters from which it is taken and is released in a manner that causes it the least harm.

(3) A person does not require a licence to fish for crayfish by means other than with a hook and line provided that such fishing is not prohibited by any other law.

(4) Subsection (3) does not apply to fishing in the Beaver River or its tributaries.

AR 203/97 s8;204/2005


Basically, you can fish for them for the purposes of consumption, but you must kill them at the catch site prior to transporting them home.

Here is another link discussing the matter: Edmonton Reptiles

Edited by FrogFan23, 22 May 2008 - 07:28 PM.


#10 JORG

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 04:33 AM

I catch lots every time I go to the cabin,it's about 50 miles north from Medicine hat on the south sask river.I have a couple cheap prawn traps and for bait I use canned cat food with just a few small holes punched in the can it will last a couple days this way.On a good night there can be a couple dozen Crayfish in the trap. I find if you don't empty it first thing in the morning a lot will escape

#11 Ishkabod

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 06:58 AM

This is so amazing i had no idea Alberta had Crayfish let alone it's own native species of it. I wish i could help you but other than pointing out that the law if made to prevent the spread of the fish into new territory then the use of crayfish for feeding your tank fish should be okay. Don't take my advice for it. Your best bet maybe to ask your local fish and game office about the legality of what you want to do. If anyone should know it's the people who should enforce the law that would know.
have fun with finding out
Lisa

#12 sneekerp

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 09:09 PM

I'm wondering if anyone has ever caught many crayfish in Alberta, or knows of good places/ways to catch them in the southern half of the province. I'm thinking about using them as food for my rays, but have never had much luck in the way of catching them. I know they're around here (had one in a tank for years when I was younger), but all the times I've set out a trap I haven't come up with anything. Any bait ideas for them?

Thanks.


Lake Newell near Brooks has lots of crayfish. The NE corner of the lake seems to be the best place to catch them. Just put out a minnow trap with any kind of meat in it. They are however illegal to possess and transport alive.

#13 patmonza

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:10 PM

When I was younger we used to catch them in lake newwell , right by brooks. Again not legal to bring home live now.