How to Find Wisconsin Crawfish

by Katie O'Gorman
Crawfish are related to lobsters.

Crawfish are related to lobsters.

Crawfish, also known as crayfish, can be found in abundance in Wisconsin waters. Many people catch crawfish to use as fishing bait or to keep as pets in their home aquariums. These shellfish are also popular in many recipes such as jambalaya or eaten boiled. Crawfish can be purchased or caught. The freshest and cheapest option is catching crawfish. Rules and regulations regarding catching crawfish vary by state. If you plan to take advantage of the crawfish fishing in Wisconsin, first learn about the correct ways and rules to do so.

Make sure you are not violating any Wisconsin regulations while catching crawfish.

1. Research the Wisconsin rules regarding catching crawfish. According to Wisconsin's fishing regulations, "A fishing or small game license is required for taking crayfish. Sales of crayfish or frogs for fish bait requires a bait dealers license. Nonresidents may not sell bait in Wisconsin." If you are under 16, you do not need a fishing license. To catch crawfish, you may use your hands, a crawfish trap or dip nets. If you are catching crawfish to eat, use a trap because crawfish are so small. You need to catch a lot of them to get a decent amount of meat. With a crawfish trap, you must have your name and address on the trap and empty it once a day.

2. Purchase a crawfish trap, stocked at most commercial fishing stores. If you are not certain about which type to chose, ask a sales clerk. Purchase bait to catch the crawfish. Crawfish can be baited by a variety of different meats, however, most fishermen use fresh seafood. Popular seafood bait includes trimmings of salmon, herring and even crawfish itself. The scent of the bait to lures the crawfish into the trap, so fresh seafood is more effective.

3. Locate where you want to catch crawfish. Crawfish live in all bodies of water in Wisconsin. Crawfish tend to thrive in shallow, murky water. Wolf River, Crawfish River and the Wisconsin River are all popular spots to find crawfish. Talk to locals to see if they can recommend any specific spots or bends along these rivers. Ask at a fishing and game store. Lastly, search locations on the Internet.

4. Set up your trap and bait. To prepare your bait, Cajun Crawfish Pie suggests, "You should chop it up (guts, skin, and all) and freeze it before using it. You can use either a bait box or bait jar, but most people swear to a bait box. Simply take out your fresh chopped up fish that has been frozen and insert it into your trap." When you place your trap in the river or lake, try to place it near large rocks. Crawfish tend to group around rocks. Follow all Wisconsin regulations about emptying your trap once a day.

Items you will need

  • Crawfish trap
  • Bait
  • Bait box

About the Author

Katie O'Gorman has more than 10 years of professional writing experience and holds a degree from Columbia College in creative writing. She is the founder and owner of Going Steady Studios; an event planning, floral design and styling company.

Photo Credits

  • ecrevisses de louisiane vivantes image by jcm from