How to Catch a Crawdad the Oklahoma Way

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Lots of people believe that they have to go to a creek or river to catch a crawdad. However, in Oklahoma the crawdads like to make their homes in ditches and other low-lying areas where there is water directly underneath the ground.


The following are instructions on how to recognize a crawdad's home and how to coax him out of his home once you find it.

Things You'll Need

  • bacon
  • piece of string
  • A crawdad looks like a lobster, but smaller. He has two large claws that are used like we use our hands - to grab onto things. Some people boil and eat crawdads like lobsters, but it's not common in my state to do that. Crawdads are usually caught by kids for fun and for scaring the heck out of Grandma, then released to go back to their crawdad business.

  • Get your bait ready. A crawdad's favorite dinner is a piece of bacon, just a few inches big. Tie a string tightly around the piece of bacon. It will become the centerpiece of a huge tug of war pretty soon, so make sure it is secure. The string should be about 15 inches or so long.

  • You have to find a crawdad's house before you can catch him. Crawdads like to stay under the ground, in the water, so you won't find one taking a stroll in the park.

    A crawdad's abode is in a low-lying area where water stands when it rains, such as a ditch. You will see a mound of little mud clods, formed and carefully placed kind of like an Egyptian pyramid. This pyramid was made not by an Egyptian, but by the crawdad himself, as he was digging the hole down to the water underneath.

  • Knock over the crawdad's mound. He may not like it, but he'll get over it. You will see a carefully-dug hole directly underneath where the mound was. This is the crawdad's route to his living room in the water.

  • Pull out your bait on a string and carefully feed it down into the hole. It should go down until it hits the water. Then wiggle and bob it a little, holding tightly to the top of the string. If the crawdad is at home, he will think it's Christmas, and Santa is coming down the chimney. He will latch onto the bacon/gift with one of his big claws.

  • The tug of war begins. You can't be too aggressive and jerk the string right up, or the crawdad will figure out that he's being tricked and will let go. Pull it slowly and carefully, letting the crawdad win a little, then dashing his hopes by pulling a little harder. He will hang on because, come on, how many times does bacon just walk in the door?

  • Pull him up slowly and carefully. Haul him out onto the grass and marvel at what a scary and unattractive creature this is. Let him chow down on the bacon if he wants, but he'll probably have a nervous stomach from the trip up the crawdad hole and won't feel like eating.

  • Don't let those claws get near you, or anyone that you want to scare, seriously. He will get some serious revenge on you for wrecking his day if he can.

    Handle the little guy carefully, and let him scurry back down to his house after a few minutes. You don't want to hurt him - he probably has a wife and kids to support down there, after all.

  • Photo Credit Debra West
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