Of course, in Minnesota you don't eat crawfish (or crayfish as they're called here). Or do you? I am determined to find out.
I just bought my 2008 Minnesota fishing license, and in the license guide is a very, very brief mention of crayfishing. I've decided to drop a few traps in some local streams and see what I can catch. Here's what I've come to understand about crayfishing in Minnesota:
- The open season for taking crayfish is April 1 through November 30.
Crayfish less than one inch in length from tip of rostrum to tip of tail must be returned unharmed to the water.
- Crayfish may be harvested with gear allowed for rough fish and minnows in addition to gear specified in this part.
- Crayfish traps must be tagged with a plastic or metal tag not smaller than one inch by three inches bearing the user's name and address.
- The mesh size for crayfish traps may not be less than one-half inch, stretch measure.
- Floats used to mark traps may not be larger than four inches square or four inches in diameter.
- Rough fish parts may be used within a crayfish trap as bait. So go catch some carp for bait!
- Crayfish traps may be lifted from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset.
- Crayfish traps must be lifted at least once in each 24 hour period weather permitting.
- All trapped fish must be returned to the water.
- Dead crayfish or the shells or meats of crayfish may not be returned to the water or deposited on any shoreline or adjacent area.
- The transportation of any crayfish in Minnesta from one body of water to another is prohibited.
- You must have a valid Minnesota angling license
- You may take and possess up to 25 pounds of live, whole freshwater crayfish.
- If you take live crayfish for bait, you can only fish with them the same body of water where they were caught.
- Crayfish may be harvested for personal use in any Minnesota waters of the state where fish may be taken by angling, and to which the harvester has legal access, unless otherwise posted.
- Crayfish taken for personal use may not be sold
- If you're a Minnesota resident under the age of 16, you can fish for crayfish without a license.
Here's where I found most of the crayfish rules. https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/rules/?id=6259
StarTribune has this article on eating Minnesota Crayfish. And be sure to watch this video about cooking Minnesota crayfish by the cute and woodsy Amy Thielen. Here's another article about eatin' da Minnesota mudbugs.
This is a good site for beginners to crayfishing.
My goal for this season is to catch enough crayfish to boil up with some Zatairan's crab boil, and try to make a meal out of them. I'll need at least 10 pounds.
I put in a minnow trap today with some old meat (I know, fish is better) and I'll check it later today. I would be thrilled if the local rivers would generously bear crayfish. I'm sure I'm the only guy in the area, perhaps the state, who would like to eat these mudbugs.
So that's my crayfish story for the day. If I get good at this, I'll invite you over for a crayfish boil. Catching your own is not as easy as popping into Deanie's, but I think will still be a lot of fun. If you're interested in Crayfishing, leaving a comment for me with your best tips.