‘Tis the season for CRAWFISH!

‘Tis the season for CRAWFISH!

Female crawfish with eggs - Photo by Jim Avault
Female crawfish with eggs – Photo by Jim Avault

Dr. Greg Lutz, a top crawfish researcher for the LSU AgCenter, reports that it’s a bit too early to tell how good the crawfish season will be despite early reports that crawfish were coming out of the ponds and onto restaurant tables from Abbeville to New Orleans.
“Rains are really the trick to getting those momma crawfish out of the ground with their babies on their tails so they can get out in the pond and start growing,” Lutz said.
The crawfish, an ancient Juarassic Era creature, didn’t survive for 200 years by being stupid and they wait until they know there’s rain and water above ground before releasing their babies, said Dr. Jay Huner, crawfish researcher emeritus.
Rain and mild weather is good news for crawfish and we’ve had plenty or rain and warmish weather so it appears as though crawfish are plentiful right now. Farmers are happy because they are getting top dollar for their catch and consumers that love crawfish are happy too because, well, they love crawfish.

But if the weather gets chilly and the water temperature goes below 50 degrees F, all crawfish activity ceases.

2012 Crawfish Pond Acreage - Map by Robert Romaire
2012 Crawfish Pond Acreage – Map by Robert Romaire

“Their growth pretty much stops, at least temporarily, but also to harvest those crawfish, they’ve got to cooperate with us, they have to crawl into those traps, and when it gets cold, they stop crawling,” Lutz said.
So far we haven’t had any really cold weather and it rained so much the farmers didn’t have to pump water into their ponds very much, so those are good signs. If the weather stays warm and if water levels in the Atchafalaya Basin get high quickly as stays high, it looks like their is a potential for a plentiful crawfish season.
Early estimates coming out of the LSU AgCenter says crawfish pond acreage in the state has jumped up to more than 240,000 acres, an all time high.The chart shows there was only 182,000 acres in crawfish pond production. Apparently there’s money in them thar crawfish holes.

Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean
Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean

To learn more about how crawfish became such a big deal in Louisiana, read Sam Irwin’s Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean! Available at the better book stores, online retailers and bait shops!