Outdoor Report with Bruce McDonald

Crawfish scarce in Churchill ditches and canals, yet fishermen fill their nets in spillway waters

Special to the Herald-Guide

April 15, 2009 at 12:24 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Hunter McDonald of Luling is pictured with a crawfish caught in a ditch at the Churchill Hunting Club. Although his crawfishing experience wasn’t as prosperous as he’d like, McDonald was proud of his catch.
Hunter McDonald of Luling is pictured with a crawfish caught in a ditch at the Churchill Hunting Club. Although his crawfishing experience wasn’t as prosperous as he’d like, McDonald was proud of his catch.
About a year ago I bought a dozen nets, and like most good things, never got around to go crawfishing although boiling and eating seafood in south Louisiana is a Cajun tradition.

Many brag that they’re better at boiling than actually catching the crawfish. So, if someone is in need of a sack of mudbugs, they call the local seafood vendors and place an order.

But if you travel the local roads and highways on any given weekend this time of year, you’re bound to see people setting out their triangular wire nets in roadside ditches or shallow waters. And there’s no doubt that what they’re hoping for are bountiful crawfish.

With three dozen nets and a pack of melt, Hunter McDonald and Mark Chiasson tried their luck with crawfishing at the Churchill Hunting Club.

Although there are numerous ditches and canals on the hunting lease, they tried several locations without any success.

Finally the pair located a small ditch with some moving water about 15 inches deep.

They set the nets and waited patiently for the crawfish to take the bait.

Your standard crawfish nets have an 18-inch square netting section on the bottom and the top, rising 18 inches high. Nets can be bought at any local sporting goods store for $24 a dozen.

Most local fishermen like to use melt bait - the spleen of a cow, which can be found locally at Majoria’s Supermarket in Boutte or Frank’s Supervalu in Des Allemands.

In my experience, I’ve learned that fish heads work just as nets.

Once raising the nets, McDonald and Chiasson discovered that they had already caught half of a 5-gallon bucket.

After three hours of crawfishing, the catches were becoming slow again, so the pair decided to call it a day.

Checking the nets one final time, their expectations were high, but nets were bare.

With only enough crawfish for only two people, Chiasson called on some friends who had ordered a sack crawfish to help suffice their efforts.

The curiosity of crawfishing on Churchill Hunting Club had been fulfilled and taught McDonald how to crawfish in the outdoors.

Lately, I’ve received reports of people catching crawfish in the Bonnet Carre Spillway. So, if you’re in the mood to crawfish, I’d recommend making a trip to Norco.

Boiling your catch

My method of boiling crawfish is the same for crabs - one box of salt to a half a pot of water, 5 ounces of cayenne pepper, or one third of a 16-ounce container.

I then add potatoes, onions, and garlic and boil for 10 minutes before adding the crawfish.

After adding the crawfish, bring the water back to a boil and time the boil for 9 minutes.

After that, turn the fire off and begin cooling the outside of the pot with a light spray of the hose.

Let the crawfish set for 25 minutes then remove and feast.




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