How to Trap/Catch Crayfish in the UK!
Firstly, decide which method is best suited to you:-
What you will need to trap Crayfish:-
How to use a Trapping Net:-
What you will need to net Crayfish:-
How to Net Crayfish in the UK:-
Netting Crayfish is really simple, hardly requires any kit and can be done by anyone and all ages!
Simply, find a shallow section of river or stream. If it is quite clear this will help dramatically.
- Using bait such as Oily Fish (Mackerel or Sardine), Bacon or Cat Food. Tear it up into little chunks.
- Standing at the bankside or even in the water, throw in little bits of bait around the edge or near rocks.
- Wait for the Crayfish to come out of their burrows and head to your bait.
- Being as careful as possible sweep your net over or under the Crayfish and take it out of the water.
- Put your catches into a bucket or tub.
Legalities and Laws to catch Crayfish in the UK:-
As mentioned above, their are more laws in regards to Trapping Crayfish in the UK but read on below for more information on staying within the law whilst catching Crayfish here.
Can I legally catch any Crayfish in the UK?
No you can’t, legally you can only catch the invasive American species of Crayfish called the Signal Crayfish. The native White Claw Crayfish are considered an endangered species and it is illegal to remove them from the waters unless for scientific research which requires a separate licence.
How can I tell the difference with which Crayfish I catch?
The invasive Signal Crayfish are usually much larger than the White Claws, The Signal Crayfish grows from anywhere to 15-16cm whereas the native White Claw won’t be found any larger than 10cm. As well as this, the Signals usually have a white/blue spot between the pincers of the claw which can be a instant differential. Another difference is the natives have a whitish colour on the sides whereas the invasive species have reddish/brown sides. See below for a easy difference image.
Can I eat Crayfish?
Yes you can, as long as they are the invasive Signals. Although they don’t contain a lot of meat, if you catch enough of them you can make a good sized meal. We won’t go through how to dispatch and eat Crayfish in this guide but stay tuned for a blog on that in the future!
What Net do I need to use to Trap Crayfish?
As mentioned above, we highly recommend this Net for Trapping Crayfish. This is completely legal and requires the right dimensions to stay within the law. The law requires your Trapping Net to be no longer than 600mm, no wider than 350mm and the mesh size should be no wider than 30mm, also the the entrance to the trap cannot be larger than 95mm. These sizes prevent you accidentally catching Otters, Fish or Voles.
So that should cover you for everything you need to begin Crayfishing in the UK. We hope you learnt something and hope you get out there and get started now!
After all, fishing for Crayfish is not just helping the eco-system and preventing the native species dying out. It is also a great way to spend the day and even provides you with a completely free meal! What more could you ask for…