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Crayfish Fishing on Vancouver Island

The Crayfish has an united head and thorax, or middle, as well as a segmented body that is sandy yellow, green, white, pink, or dark brown, which is typical of most shrimp-like crustaceans.

Types of Crayfish on Vancouver Island

Signal Crayfish

The signal crayfish is one of two crayfish species that have been discovered in BC, and the only crayfish to catch in the waters of Vancouver Island. It's also known as Crawfish, Crawdad, Crawdab, and Mudbug. It's a blue-brown to red-brown crayfish with powerful, smooth claws that grow to a length of 15 (16) cm in males and 12 cm in females. The species' common name is derived from a white to pale blue-green spot at the claw hinge. Many would mistake this crustacean for lobsters which we will elaborate on the differences later on. According to Global Invasive Species Database, The cephalothorax is smooth, with two pairs of post-orbital ridges, the anterior pair with an apical spine, and no spines on the shoulders of the carapace below the cervical groove. The areola between branchiocardiac grooves is visible. The rostrum sides are smooth and more or less parallel till the apex; the acumen is highly pointed with large shoulders; and a simple median carina throughout the whole length. Adult males are huge either lengthwise or in breadth, and weight is normally 60-110g at 50-70mm carapace length.

3 Crayfish Trapping Methods

How To Catch Crayfish on Vancouver Island

String and Bait Crayfish Trapping

String and bait trapping is a simple and enjoyable family pastime for collecting crawfish. A fishing pole, rod, or stick, some fishing line or thread, and some bait are all you need.
A simple fish hook or even a safety pin can be used to secure the bait to the thread, ensuring that the crawfish do not escape.
Lower the bait into the water and wait patiently until the end of the thread is tugged. Then, as near to the shore as feasible, cautiously maneuver the crawfish and bait before gently removing them out of the water. Place the crawfish in a bucket right away. If you want, you may scoop up the crawfish with a long-handled netting as soon as you reel them in. They will be unable to escape if they release the bait.

Catching Crayfish using Open or Closed Traps:

These traps are the most efficient technique to catch big numbers of freshwater crawfish with minimal effort. So, if you want to feed a crawfish feast to your friends and family, this is the way to go. In BC, you may catch crawfish for personal consumption using any number or size of traps, but you must release all finfish caught in the trap. You may be as imaginative as you want because there are no rules or boundaries for what defines a crawfish trap. Open traps, which are simply foldable nets with an open end, and closed traps, which have a funnel on one end that enables the live crawfish to enter but prevents them from fleeing, are the two primary types of traps.

Trapping Crayfish by Hand:

Because there are no rules or standards for what defines a crawfish trap, a third alternative for collecting crawfish is to capture them by hand, as they are typically located among the rocks in small pools and may be readily picked up — please be careful of their sharp claws!
To capture a crawfish by hand, go for a pond, creek, or lake with a large crawfish population. Crawfish like to hide in the shallow portions of the water, beneath rocks and vegetation.
Wade into the water and check for pebbles that appear like they could be sheltering a crawfish.

What is the Best Time of Year to Catch Crayfish on Vancouver Island?

Crawfish are most active during the warmer months of the year, so April through October is the best time to go crawfish fishing. Crawfish may still be caught in the winter, but don't expect to find as many as in the summer. September has already proved to be crayfish season. According to studies, adult crayfish are most active after dusk and continue to feed heavily until morning, according to studies, but baby crayfish are more likely to be out during the day. They start to emerge around dusk, so if you're interested whether they're in a lake near you, take a walk down the shoreline after dark and shine a flashlight in there for a minute or two to see if you can detect any.

Where to Catch Crayfish Vancouver Island

Freshwater lakes, ponds, and streams are all good places to look for crawfish. Crawfish are freshwater crustaceans that live in a variety of bodies of water throughout Canada and the world. Along with canals, reservoirs, springs, and bedrock pools, crayfish make their homes in streams, ponds, and lakes. The majority of crawfish appear to favour quiet or slowly flowing water with lots of rocks and plants for cover.

Best Baits for Crayfish on Vancouver Island

Although the ideal bait for crawfishing is debatable, most sources agree that roe of oily fish endemic to the area is the best option.
Salmon, herring, carp, perch, walleye, and trout all have roe that works well as crawfish bait, but sardines, squid, clams, sole, and eel do not.
Any fatty, raw meat, such as chicken or pork, is another choice. Crawfish are also drawn to hot dog bits and even cat chow that is based on fish (though some crawfish experts would disagree with us).
The most crucial factor is that the meat is fresh, when it comes to bait. Contrary to common belief, crawfish will not be drawn to old, rotting, or stinky meat.

Crayfish Fishing Regulations on Vancouver Island

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Know Before You Go for the Crayfish

Crayfish vs. Lobster

Crayfish and lobster are two crustacean species that belong to the Decapodal order. They are well-known for their delicious seafood flavor.
✓ Crawfish are substantially smaller than lobsters, ranging in length from 2 to 6 inches. Lobsters are substantially bigger, ranging in size from 8 to 20 inches in length, with some reaching several feet.
✓  Lobsters reside in saltwater in seas and oceans, whereas crayfish habitats are freshwater rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams.
✓ Lobsters are greenish blue or greenish brown, whereas crawfish are dark blue, green, or black. Lobsters, on the other hand, can come in a variety of vivid hues, including albino, red, orange, and blue.
✓ Crayfish and lobsters eat different things, despite the fact that they are both omnivores. Tiny fish, mollusks, snails, clams, certain plants, and other small crustaceans are the principal foods of lobsters. Plants, worms, insects, and dead plants and animals are all eaten by crawfish.
✓ The lifespans of lobsters and crayfish are likewise substantially diverse. Crawfish can live anywhere from one to twenty years, depending on the species. Lobsters, on the other hand, may live for up to 100 years. Some are considerably older, with the oldest lobster ever captured being believed to be 140 years old. Telomerase, an enzyme that repairs DNA, is thought to be the key to their lifespan.

Vancouver Island Fish Species

If you are interested in fishing we have good news for you; Vancouver Island offers some of the best fishing destinations and spectacular fish species.
Click here to check all you need to know about Vancouver Island fish species before fishing on this stunning island!

Licences for Crayfish Fishing on Vancouver Island 

In order to catch crawfish in non-tidal waterways in BC, you must be 16 years old or older and have a valid basic freshwater fishing licence. You'll also need to get the necessary supplemental licences and stamps. If you are under 16 and a BC resident, you may sport fish without a license or stamp as long as you follow the restrictions. Non-tidal/freshwater fishing licecnses can be purchased online through the government of British Columbia's website or in-person from a participating vendor. To know more about fishing and crabbing licences on Vancouver Island, read our complete guide in this regard.

Salmon Fishing

Salmon Fishing

Bass Fishing

Bass Fishing

White Sturgeon Fishing

White Sturgeon Fishing

Trout Fishing

Trout Fishing

Yellow Perch Fishing

Yellow Perch Fishing

Tuna Fishing

Tuna Fishing

Halibut Fishing

Halibut Fishing

General Fishing Regulations

General Fishing Regulations

Water-Specific Fishing Regulations

Water-Specific Fishing Regulations

Fishing Licence

Fishing Licence

Customized Fishing/Crabbing Trip on Vancouver Island


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Common Questions About Catching Crayfish on Vancouver Island

Almost every stream and river on south to mid-Vancouver Island, as well as several lakes, contain a few. (They can be found in most of the deeper lakes.) There are several in larger rivers with salmon runs, such as the Cowichan and Campbell.
The Signal Crayfish is the sole native crayfish species on Vancouver Island (Pacifastacus leniusculus). When compared to nonnative species, this species may be recognized by its consistent brownish coloring, white or light coloration of the claw joint, and the smooth surface of its carapace and claws.
What to Look for. The Murray and Murrumbidgee River catchments, as well as their tributaries, are home to Murray crawfish. The Mitta Mitta, Kiewa, Ovens, and Goulburn River catchments in Victoria are the locations to visit.
Some anglers prefer to utilize cut-up salmon heads and any other greasy fish they can find.
Crawfish are most active throughout the summer months, therefore April to October is the greatest time to go crawfish fishing. Crawfish can be caught in the winter, but don't expect to find as many as in the summer. Freshwater lakes, ponds, and streams are all good places to look for crawfish.
They must be at least 9cm long from tail to nose, and no more than 25 male adults can be taken in British Columbia. Also, leave any eggs beneath the tails of native species females so that they can procreate, as locals have seen a decline in their numbers over time.

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