Homemade crayfish bait can be made from many things and many crayfish fisherman claim that home made bait will create a larger catch. There are a few myths surrounding making your own bait that also need to be corrected.
Step 1: Best Bait to Use
For many years among crayfish fishermen the lore was that crayfish liked spoiled meat or smelly things like spoiled eggs, fish and chicken. This isn't true. In fact, many fishermen report higher yields with fresh bait. Also, the colder the water, the better a home made bait using a mixture of fresh meat and dry dog food seems to work.
Step 2: Use Whats Available
As a general rule, crayfish seem to be drawn to fish parts. If you are lucky enough to live near a fish market you may be able to get this for free. Salmon parts that are inedible to humans are a favorite bait in many parts of the country, but any fish parts including heads, guts and fat are also usable.
If there is a meat packing company near you or a meat market that cuts up whole chickens, you can pick up backs, necks and gizzards at a low price or maybe even for free. Use these in a bait pouch in your crayfish traps. No special preparation is needed.
Step 3: Dog Food
Some fishermen feel that if you mix the meat parts listed above with a cheap dog food, it will attract crayfish, especially in early season fishing or in cold water. Check your traps often. If you wait too long, the crayfish will be well fed and gone and your bait will be gone. Some fishermen use just enough bait to entice the crayfish into the traps and then reel them up and dump them into containers for holding.
Step 4: Cat Food
Inexpensive bargain store cat food is normally made from the cheaper parts of fish or the leftovers. It usually also has an extremely strong odor which is what crayfish seem to like. You can use the food as is or mix it with a bit of cornmeal to form balls the size of golf balls to put into your traps. This is an inexpensive way to bait your traps and its a source that is always easily available. Some fishermen also like to mix fish oil with corn meal when making these balls of bait.
Step 5: Catch of the Day
Many seasoned crayfish fishermen feel that catching your own bait the day you go out to set your traps is the proven way to get a good catch of crayfish for your work. Simply catch a couple of fish, put them in the traps as bait and wait. Some fishermen will use dead fish, if any are around, that have washed up on shore as bait. There are varied opinions on this since most people feel crayfish won't go after spoiled or rotten bait.