Best Bait to Use for Catching Crawfish

Best Bait to Use for Catching Crawfish

Crawfish is every angler’s prey when looking for bait for larger fish. Crawfish is an excellent bait for trout, bass and even catfish! But to make big catches, you need to make some Crawfish catches first.

You can easily catch Crawfish by merely using the right type of bait. These baits range from other fish meat to even manufactured baits. Use any type of small fish as bait for Crawfish such as Carp, Salmon, Shad, Herring or Walleye.

All options are viable for catching Crawfish, and we will breakdown the pros and cons right ahead. 

Crawfish is known by many names, the most popular ones being crayfish, crawdads and mudbugs as well. While they’re a delicious lure for most big fish, they make for a superb meal as well, which makes them a cult favorite amongst anglers of all regions.

So, what bait should you use to lure Crawfish effectively? Worry not, for we have devised our list of the best baits to use for catching Crawfish. These lures will definitely land you significant crawfish catches!

Best Baits for Catching Crawfish

Crawfish make for a delicious meal, and catching this crustacean can be a breeze when using the right lures. You can locate this crustacean in a variety of water bodies and can use multiple traps, poles or even just your hands to catch them.

However, for all these methods to work, good bait is essential. There are two chief choices when it comes to baits for Crawfish; meat or manufactured bait. Here we enlist the merits and demerits of your options and what you need to consider before luring the Crawfish.

More Fish to Catch Crawfish

Funny enough, the best way to lure Crawfish is by using more fish! Crawfish traps are popularly used with other kinds of fish as traps. This is because smaller fish appeal a lot to the eyes of the Crawfish.

This technique has been mostly used in Sweden, where sunfish and herring were the main attraction for Crawfish. In Louisiana, we see anglers opting for menhaden and shads instead. Alternatively, anglers on the west coast have used oiled up fish and salmon heads to lure Crawfish as well.

But with so much variety in options, which ones are the best bait to use for catching Crawfish?

Well, after thorough research, we’ve come to the conclusion that any type of small fish works well with Crawfish. Our top picks are:

  • Carp
  • Salmon
  • Shads
  • Herring
  • Walleye

However, there is a list of fish that don’t work for catching Crawfish. This selection includes eel, sole, squid, clams and sardines. While they might work in some cases, the baits mentioned above are far better for enticing Crawfish than these are.

It’s best to use these fish when they’re a fresh catch however using them in warmer temperatures isn’t recommended due to the high chance of them getting spoilt. Using fresh fish works best in colder climates.

Other types of Meat to Catch Crawfish

Fish are not your only luring option when it comes to catching Crawfish. Interestingly enough, anglers have reported making massive Crawfish catches with even chicken trimmings!

Chicken necks, wings, backs and even legs work as excellent bait for catching Crawfish. The major factor you need to take care of is the quality of the chicken piece and the cut of it. By using the right pieces of meat, the Crawfish will come running to your drop.

Similarly, hotdogs and fish-based cat food can double up as an alternative for crawfish bait. Both of them have the meaty nature that Crawfish crave. However, use this only as an alternative as the effectiveness of these methods can’t be predicted easily.

If you’re looking to utilize the cat food as a crawfish bait, we recommend using it in warmer seasons only. This is an excellent alternative to using live bait which can often get spoilt in the warm sun. However, be careful to not use catfish in waters with a temperature under 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Crawfish have been lured with a wide variety of meats actually. Anglers in Finland have reported to even use squirrels and pork cuts to lure in the Crawfish. You can give it a try but we certainly don’t recommend going that far!

Quality of Meat

Having the right meat types isn’t enough to guarantee you crawfish catches. What best works with Crawfish is using fresh and premium meat quality. A fresh cut will immediately attract all Crawfish in your vicinity.

Crawfish stray away from spoilt and sour bait. This applies to all types of bait you can use. A fraction of anglers wholeheartedly believe that spoilt fish is a fantastic lure; however, the majority begs to differ.

Spoiled or rotten food immediately puts off the Crawfish, and chances are it might even swim away from your area. While the debate can be made that a more pungent scent attracts more Crawfish, the reality is that a rotten meat piece is not enticing for the Crawfish at all.

Fresh meats have a better scent that effectively attracts the Crawfish right into the trap. So, its best to pile up a fresh meat stock rather than using spoilt trimmings. Be sure to store them in a place with a cold temeprature to prevent them from rotting.

And, of course, the more bait, the merrier. Investing in more bait is definitely worth it when it comes to catching Crawfish. Alongside a hefty amount of bait, keep some variety too. Experiment with new kinds of baits to figure out what all the Crawfish in your area prefer so you can stock up on their favorite.

Manufactured Bait

In some states, catching Crawfish has been commercialized. With good fisheries and harvesting plans, nearly 30 to 50 million pounds of Crawfish are produced in the Cajun, Louisiana alone.

With the increase in commercialization of catching Crawfish, a growing need for bait presented itself. Thus, manufactured bait was formulated. This bait consists of cereal grains alongside some commercial artificial flavors to enhance the attraction of the bait to the Crawfish.

Their sizing can range from 1.5 to 3 inches which makes it a handy product. It’s compact and easy to take on angling trips and does not get spoilt by higher temperatures.

However, using manufactured baits in temperature below 70 degrees Fahrenheit may be counterproductive. Manufactured bait works best in warmer waters. The bait doesn’t make a mess, it tastes better in warm temperatures, and it is much easier to handle.

The best way to use manufactured bait is by using bait containers as a trap. Bottom lying bait is the first point of attack for Crawfish, which effectively captures it inside the box.

The artificial scent and seasoning of manufactured attract Crawfish like crazy. The smell is enough to lure the whole community right into your strategically set up trap. So, manufactured bait is definitely worth a try.


Catching Crawfish is easy if you have the right kind of equipment with you. With the perfect bait and the traps to match it, your crawfish catches are guaranteed. You can easily make enough catches for a nice dinner at home as well as baiting larger fish.

We hope through this article, we answered your question of the best bait to use when catching Crawfish. Through our tips and following our techniques, you will make guaranteed Crawfish catches this angling season!

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