Crayfish: useful information for the fisherman
River (freshwater) crayfish, common in Europe and Russia, include several species. All of them are representatives of the squad of decapods. Animals have a chitinous covering that serves as an external skeleton. The appearance of crayfish is quite recognizable, as a rule, the color has a greenish-brown color, which makes it invisible against the background of the bottom. Crayfish prefer water bodies with a good oxygen exchange, if they exist in stagnant or slow-flowing, especially in the southern regions, they adhere to places where groundwater exits. They live at a wide range of depths, under adverse conditions or in case of danger they hide in dug holes or under stones, etc. They prefer twilight and nocturnal lifestyle. Plants make up 90% of their food; they feed on animals and carrion from time to time. The sense of smell is highly developed. They can hardly be called cold-loving animals, but they are active in winter. They move head first, but swim backwards. The maximum sizes of all species range from 20-30 cm. Crayfish are susceptible to pestilence, plague of crayfish, so the distribution can be intermittent or just quite rare, but in some waters there are so many of them that they can be a threat to other species. It should be borne in mind that in most regions of Russia, the extraction of freshwater crustaceans is regulated by law or prohibited. Before going to catch crayfish, check the rules for harvesting this animal.
Ways to catch crayfish
Despite the problems with diseases and pestilence, crayfish can be an excellent object of fishing, but they are often a “bad companion” of anglers, they strip bait from hooks, eat bait, even the use of hard boilies does not help. On winter, ice fishing, they can come across not only on mormyshkas, but also on spinners and balancers. But they do not specifically catch crayfish with fishing rods. The most common way to harvest crayfish are crabs and nets. From the old ways, you can name the prey with the help of a “spear” – a long stick, the pointed part of which is split and wedged. In shallow water, at night, crayfish can be collected by hand. This will require a flashlight. If crayfish are found in small streams or rivers, then you can collect them during the day under stones and snags. This is quite an interesting, but “dangerous” occupation. In addition, crayfish are mined at depth using a mask and a diving snorkel. Another fun way to catch crayfish is to mention “boot fishing”. A bait is laid in the boot, and it sinks to the bottom with the help of a rope. It comes out after a while. Crayfish must crawl into the bootleg and are taken by the hunter.
When fishing with the help of various crayfish, bait is needed. Any meat, animal entrails, or simply rotten fish can be used for this.
Places of fishing and habitat
Most of the Russian Federation, including Siberia, is home to narrow-toed crayfish. The broad-clawed crayfish, in Russia, has a smaller range, mainly in the Baltic Sea river basin. These crayfish do not overlap each other’s habitats, but the narrow-clawed crayfish captures more and more territories. The large distribution of narrow-clawed crayfish is associated with a better adaptability of the species. Probably, the narrow-toed crayfish occupies territories where the broad-toed crayfish disappeared due to the plague. It is believed that in the past, the narrow-toed was distributed from the Caspian Sea basin. In Europe, the area of distribution of broad-toed crayfish was seized by another species, an invader – the American signal crayfish. On the territory of Russia, it was found in the Kaliningrad region. In the Far East, in the Amur River basin, another species of crayfish (genus Cambaroides) lives.
Crayfish become sexually mature at the age of 3-4 years. Fertilization in crayfish is internal, due to the anatomical structure and aggressiveness of males, several conditions must be met for successful reproduction. First of all, the male must be larger than the female, otherwise the female may escape. Females are afraid of males and avoid contact with them, so males behave very aggressively and can beat females a lot. Large males copulate several times, after several fertilizations, the male, due to hunger, can devour the last female. After mating, females may not leave their burrows or shelters for a long time, being afraid of males, which disrupts the aeration of eggs, and it may die. Three weeks after successful fertilization, spawning occurs. The eggs are attached to the prolegs of the female and will remain there until the larvae hatch. An independent life of the larvae begins only after two months.