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Introducing crawfish in ponds/tanks #10541237 01/14/15 05:25 AM
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BrandoA Offline OP
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Is this a good idea and if so when should you do it? Exploring this for our 15 acre lake. I know bass eat them.

Re: Introducing crawfish in ponds/tanks [Re: BrandoA] #10541718 01/14/15 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted By: BrandoA
Is this a good idea and if so when should you do it? Exploring this for our 15 acre lake. I know bass eat them.


Like so many things....depends.

In my area it is unnecessary except as a supplement, they already occur naturally. Sometimes a buddy goes and picks up all the "leftover" "live crawfish" for dirt cheap from the local grocers after the weekend. we dump the lot on the ground and put anything that can crawl away into the lake. Bass eat 'em all up right quick.

Stocking a lake that does not already have them may not be the best idea. The one you'll find for sale, Red Swamp Crawfish (Procamberus clarkii) is a notorious digger and can undermine a lake to the point of draining it by so doing.

If they can't dig through the bottom, they may make a nice supplement from time to time.

To become "established" they must be able to dig through the bottom of the lake to reproduce. Around here, its solid clay down a loooong ways so they can't dig through the bottom, but can dig a deep hole to reproduce in. At my fishing club, crawfish is among the most important forages for bass.

Now, things to consider, first, although bass love to eat them and they are quite nutritious, they are not "nutritionally dense" as most of the crawfish is the chitonous exoskeleton which is indigestible. In other words, "a pound of crawfish does not equal a pound of shad (or other fish)." This goes to price....what you get for your money, especially if being fed as a supplement, say compared to buying shiners for the same reason. Now, we may pay as much as $15/pound for shiners, but may get the crawfish for fifty cents a pound. Even if the crawfish only offer 20% of what we'd get from a shiner, they are so cheap as to be cost effective. Bu, if they both cost nearly the same, shiners would be a better buy.

In practice, I've found that forage species diversity is almost as important as which species make up the forage base.

If the lake bottom is sandy, they won't be able to dig through and make a hole, but neither will they be able to reproduce, so what is put in there is all there will be until more are added.

So, it might be a great idea, and it might not be very good at all.

Re: Introducing crawfish in ponds/tanks [Re: Fishbreeder] #10542766 01/14/15 10:28 PM
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Brett,

You mention not nutritionally dense. Can you be specific? The reason I ask is that the research I have seen is that crawfish have about 75% of the protein of trout. Again, the challenge is there any way to know how that is protein is converted to a pound of gain?

Any idea what percent of the crawfish is digestable?

Is there any type of research that shows a pound of crawfish equals a pound of weight gain on a bass? We use 10 lbs of "forage" to put 1 lb on a bass. But forage includes all.

I am unaware of any lakes where crawfish have tunneled through. I will keep my eyes and ears open for that. Lots of lake managers recommending crawfish for forage these days. Retail price for delivered seems to be between $3 and $4 lb.


Steve Alexander
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www.privatewaterfishing.com

Re: Introducing crawfish in ponds/tanks [Re: salex] #10544083 01/15/15 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted By: salex
Brett,

You mention not nutritionally dense. Can you be specific? The reason I ask is that the research I have seen is that crawfish have about 75% of the protein of trout. Again, the challenge is there any way to know how that is protein is converted to a pound of gain?

Any idea what percent of the crawfish is digestable?

Is there any type of research that shows a pound of crawfish equals a pound of weight gain on a bass? We use 10 lbs of "forage" to put 1 lb on a bass. But forage includes all.

I am unaware of any lakes where crawfish have tunneled through. I will keep my eyes and ears open for that. Lots of lake managers recommending crawfish for forage these days. Retail price for delivered seems to be between $3 and $4 lb.


well....all true.

BUT...."chitin" the crawfish' shell is made of protein, that is the biggest part by weight of the crawfish. However, chitin, although made of protein, is not digestible and passes through the digestive tract pretty much like it went in. So in fact, there is a lot of protein in a crawfish, just that most of it is not contributing to the nutrition of what eats it. A trout, OTOH, is almost pure protein and fat, almost all of it very digestible, and a superior meal for a bass compared to almost anything else.

Not that crawfish are a bad forage, like anything else, the bass gets growth from the difference between energy expended in capturing a meal and how much energy is extracted from that meal. The extreme example is the dragonfly, if a bass jumps out and catches one, it has lost weight in the process. Less energy in the meal than was expended in the capture. Bass will starve to death eating nothing but dragonflies.

The crawfish, OTOH, is a much easier catch, ever watch a bass eat one? Very enlightening. If the bass is not huge and the crawfish is "hard" (not recently molted) and a large one, the bass will face the crawfish, grab one claw, shake it hard until it falls off, then grab the other claw and do the same, and only after the claws have been removed, will engulf the rest of the crawfish in one bite.

By weight, less than half the crawfish is digestible by the bass. However, that "half" is indeed rich in digestible protein and fat, why around here we "suck the heads" to get at the fat in the crawfish when eating them. Pound for pound, fish will have more digestible components by weight, about twice what the crawfish has.

At $4/pound live weight delivered, crawfish are a good choice for supplemental forage. Plus, if you wanna catch bass in the lake on crawworms or other craw baits, putting in crawfish will help make it happen.

The "hole" thing, its a big problem in levee type ponds, less so in "hole in the ground" ponds. Mostly in older lakes and ponds with trees on the levees. The tree dies, and the roots go into the levee, the crawfish will dig along the old root, sometimes right through the levee, and cause it to leak, sometimes fail. what we do here when we find such a leak, we dig the levee straight down the middle with a track hoe, below the bottom of the lake, then backfill the hole with a mix of dirt and Portland cement. No more holes in that spot.

There is another "hole maker" in my county, an evil, banned species, "apple snail," a big snail that digs three inch holes right through levees and eats rice to live. Their presence is revealed by their eggs, placed a foot above the water on a stick, pole or bulkhead. No mistaking them when you see them, the hottest hot pink you could imagine, looks like plastic garbage, but you see hot pink on a stick over the water, you got 'em.

Overall, I really like crawfish as a forage source, both as indigenous "in the lake" propagation as well as just "supplemental" feeding, as long as they are not put where they may be a problem.

Re: Introducing crawfish in ponds/tanks [Re: BrandoA] #10544691 01/15/15 07:23 PM
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BrandoA,

In my opinion there are better sources of forage...sources that won't risk drilling holes in your dam. Just me, but I wouldn't do it, myself.

Re: Introducing crawfish in ponds/tanks [Re: BrandoA] #10545651 01/16/15 02:13 AM
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The more I have read the more I am reluctant. Thanks for the information guys.

Re: Introducing crawfish in ponds/tanks [Re: BrandoA] #10550804 01/18/15 08:01 PM
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I was always under the impression that crawfish were important to a bass diet for the nutrients they provide for egg development and also supplementing their diet in lean times.


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Re: Introducing crawfish in ponds/tanks [Re: jagg] #10552239 01/19/15 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted By: jagg
I was always under the impression that crawfish were important to a bass diet for the nutrients they provide for egg development and also supplementing their diet in lean times.


Here where I'm at, that is indeed the case. Crawfish are among the most important forages, especially since they utilize a different energy source in the environment than forage fish do. Forage diversity is important. Diversity of forage species allows bass to find and eat what is in abundance in differing times, preventing periods of lack of food.

This is not the case everywhere, each lake is different, and in other parts of the state, crawfish are in much less abundance and may not play a role at all in the bass' normal diet.

Like I mentioned above, crawfish can be an excellent choice or they could create problems, depends in the situation.

Re: Introducing crawfish in ponds/tanks [Re: BrandoA] #10587656 02/02/15 02:50 PM
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We put 37 lbs in our 2 acre last year without any problems.

Re: Introducing crawfish in ponds/tanks [Re: BrandoA] #10627766 02/18/15 04:02 PM
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This is an interesting short video about stocking crawfish into ponds:





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