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Thread: Rideau River Crayfish

  1. #11
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    Hi,
    The thing about eating crayfish is fur sure, you will need a lot of them. And with a bunch of friends and some beer, it's a lot of fun - although a bit messy.

    It's safe to eat freshwater crayfish, but you ought to purge them before cooking - they can taste muddy and a bit off if you don't.

    In my 20's, I was living in Albany NY, and would fish the Schoharie Creek for smallmouth. But first I'd spend a little while catching crayfish for bait - they were the normal smaller variety back then. And man, did the fish love them! I also used crays for brown trout, with really good results. But the very best fish I caught on a crayfish was a nice sized smallmouth, maybe 3-4 pounds. I was using a #8 baitholder hook, a small crayfish, and a split shot. That fish was right where I had guessed - beside some boulders at the edge of a small island in the northeastern part of Lake George. The damn thing fell right off the hook just after I lifted the fish into the boat (no net at the time).

    Cheers,
    Neil

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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilselden View Post
    Hi,
    The Rideau is literally crawling with crayfish. I was fishing behind Carleton U., and the crayfish were as thick as blackflies in season. A couple even crawled up my leg - and they were pretty damn big.

    I later learned they're an invasive species of crayfish - the rusty crayfish. They're big enough to make it worthwhile to trap them and do a crayfish boil shore lunch!

    Cheers,
    Neil
    Neil, you will find many if not most places in central Ontario are now literally crawling with invasive very aggressive rusty crayfish. Yes they're big enough to eat, and very easy to catch/trap.

    I used to catch crayfish as a kid on Lake Couchiching. In the day we'd tie a chicken wings to string and hang them off the dock. When crayfish grabbed the wing we'd haul them out. With the aggressive nature of rusty crayfish, this method would work well, they will fight to keep their chicken.

    At night we'd use a headlamp and a pair of kitchen tongs to snag foraging crayfish. Both methods violates current regulations. In my teens I visited US relatives in Florida and learned how to make pyramid traps to catch them. There residents can have a large number of traps and harvest hundreds of crayfish.

    I gave up fishing about 25 years ago when I started dating my now wife, she cried every time I killed and chilled fish I didn't intend to release, so I hadn't kept up on the regulations and had to look this up...

    Since I love crayfish and want to have large crayfish boils I started investigating the regulations in detail after paddle boarding on the Rouge River and seeing a couple very large crayfish (not that I'd eat a Rouge river crayfish, far from it). It appears though that Ontario wants to kill the idea of crayfish for human consumption in the province.


    In Ontario a licensed angler can have only one small trap. The size is limited to about 12" x 20" and you have to have a label with your license number or name and address affixed to the trap. Or you can use a dip net... of a limited size.

    The possession limit for crayfish is only 36 crayfish. This limit is listed both under the section on bait, and again under Schedule 6, sport fishing other than angling. Since there is no permissible method of catching crayfish by angling the possession limit is a firm 36 crayfish. Schedule 6 applies to human consumption as well since non-angling method is the only approved means of catching crayfish from what I can see.

    You can't make a meal out of 36 crayfish... not even close. This is stupid quota from a standpoint of controlling invasive species numbers. But clearly the province wants to limit the spread of invasive crayfish as the primary goal. Central ontario is already a lost cause from a population control standpoint. The rusty is the dominant species and have impacted the environments they are now in.

    Once you catch any crayfish you cannot transport them overland to your home to eat. So the way the regs are written you can catch and eat on the spot only. Bring a pot and your seasoning with you and do you duty and eat 36 of these guys every time you go out.

    I've written to the Ministry trying to get clarification on a few things. I'll update this if I hear back from them.

    One last fun fact or two...

    Rusty crayfish can reach densities of up to 113 crayfish/m2, with average densities between 6 and 64 crayfish/m2. So yeah, the Rideau is literally crawling with crayfish.

    The Rusty can mate with the smaller native northern clearwater crayfish and produce fertile hybrids that out compete either parent species. All these species eat fish eggs and can have a large have a large impact on sports fishing species populations.
    Last edited by TorontoBuilder; August 17th, 2022 at 02:19 PM.

  4. #13
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    Great write up one question if you asked the MNR is does the 36 limit apply to crayfish used as bait or ones caught for human consumption have a different limit?
    Time in the outdoors is never wasted

  5. #14
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    Make sure you know the rules when trapping, limits and transport. Serious fines...but sure are tasty snacks...36 per limit..which is hardly worth a meal
    Mark Snow, Leader Of The, Ontario Libertarian Party

  6. #15
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    I think you could get a pretty good feed with 36 large rustys when you realize that the piece of tail meat is as big as the shrimp you get with a shrimp ring. Would be great outing with kids as each person is allowed 36. Bring a corn pot with a wire sieve inset, jug of water, vinegar and your spices, butter and lemon. Fire up the old Coleman at creekside and have your boil. I agree that a purge does make them taste better. You could hang a mesh pen off your cottage dock. Check your traps each day and only bring back the big eaters for the purge pen. Just make surr you do not exceed the 36 limit per angler in your family. Do your boil at dockside and you coulf also add brown bottled cold beverage to the menu! Lots of crawdad boil recipes online. You can add your corn to the same boil water.
    Last edited by Fenelon; August 30th, 2022 at 08:58 AM.

  7. #16
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    Nope, I once ate 10 pounds of Lobster claws when I was Lobster fishing..

    Quote Originally Posted by Fenelon View Post
    I think you could get a pretty good feed with 36 large rustys when you realize that the piece of tail meat is as big as the shrimp you get with a shrimp ring. Would be great outing with kids as each person is allowed 36. Bring a corn pot with a wire sieve inset, jug of water, vinegar and your spices, butter and lemon. Fire up the old Coleman at creekside and have your boil. I agree that a purge does make them taste better. You could hang a mesh pen off your cottage dock. Check your traps each day and only bring back the big eaters for the purge pen. Just make surr you do not exceed the 36 limit per angler in your family. Do your boil at dockside and you coulf also add brown bottled cold beverage to the menu! Lots of crawdad boil recipes online. You can add your corn to the same boil water.
    "This is about unenforceable registration of weapons that violates the rights of people to own firearms."—Premier Ralph Klein (Alberta)Calgary Herald, 1998 October 9 (November 1, 1942 – March 29, 2013) OFAH Member

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