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Ask Fish and Game

Q.Where are the crawfish in Idaho?

A. Crawfish or crayfish or crawdads are found throughout Idaho. We have identified at least 4 species of the Genus Pacifastacus that are found from small higher elevation streams to lowland lakes and the Snake River as it flows out of Idaho. If you want to catch crayfish legally in Idaho, you need a valid fishing license, or be young enough not to require one. They are typically caught in a minnow or crayfish trap that is baited with some food for them to eat. Horses don't fit well into the traps, so chicken gizzards or fish parts are commonly used as bait. All traps must have a tag bearing the owner's name and address. It is legal to fish with up to 5 traps no larger than 18" x 12" x 12" (see page 7 of the 2000-2001 fishing rules for more information).

Crayfish are found in the Boise area rivers. Places that have abundant crayfish (the Snake River and impoundments from Idaho Falls to Hells Canyon) also have commercial fishing allowed after the purchase of the appropriate fishing license. The crayfish market is very poor, however, and only one person has purchased a commercial license this year. C.J. Strike and Hells Canyon reservoirs have been the most popular places over the last 10 years to catch crayfish.