Crawfish Farming

Whether you call them crawfish or crayfish or crawdads or even mudbugs, here in SW Louisiana they’re a Big Thing. Right now it’s prime crawfish season, and while I haven’t actually enjoyed an official Crawfish Boil, I was excited to be able to visit a small crawfish operation in the nearby town of Iowa. (Please, that is pronounced I-O-WAY, doncha know!).
Here are a couple of kids giving each other high fives since they made it OUT of the boat!
And this guy wasn’t taking any time to celebrate – he was just getting back home!

OK – back to the farming lesson.
This is what the crawfish pond/field looks like now.
But long before it looks like this, it’s just a regular old rice field that gets plowed and planted like all the others. And all the while it’s just a regular looking field, those little crawfish are down in the mud (hopefully) doing what all young crawfish should be doing – reproducing. Come September, you flood the field, and while the rice is growing the crawfish are growing right along side. When it’s time for the harvest, you put out your traps (baited with hunks of fish),
give it a day or two and and then get started hauling dem little guys in!
Here’s the boat – not too much to look at, but it does the trick.
The wheel on the back is what pushes the boat through the muddy bottom. As the boat moves down the row of traps, the boat driver/crawfish farmer (Prentiss) grabs a trap, empties it onto the sorting station, re-baits it and puts it back in the pond just in time to grab the next trap.
The crawfish in the sorting station either fall through the slats to return to the pond to live another day, or are too big to fit through and instead get pushed into the purple sacks.
And off to market they will go!
I know we really slowed Prentiss down as he took the time to take us out, two at a time, to watch him in action.
He graciously answered all our questions and it was very interesting see the whole process in action.

Aren’t the fields beautiful?

Here’s a little video I took of Prentiss in action –

Turns out our new friend Prentiss is a pretty talented guy off the boat too –


So, there you have it. An layman’s introduction to Crawfish Farming. (Remember, this is a blog, not a How-to!) Big Thank-yous to our camp hosts, Todd and Aaron, for making it happen, and to Prentiss for taking time out of his harvest to explain the process to a bunch of northerners. Yummmm…a Crawfish Boil IS in my future!

Guess what? There are a couple more pictures of the day HERE!

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