Common Names: Crayfish, crawfish, crawdad
Scientific Name: order Decapoda, family Astacidae

Crayfish live in both lakes and rivers. They hide under rocks and make themselves as unavailable to fish (and herons, and racoons, and a host of other predators) as they can.

However, even crayfish gotta eat. So they venture forth at night and when the light is low, feeding on dead fish and other tasty morsels. A crayfish can move quickly by flipping its tail. When a crayfish does this, it moves backwards--tail first, eyes and claws facing the enemy it is leaving behind--but they don't seem to crash much, which is amazing when you stop to think about it.

A crayfish is a big bite for a trout, and a vulnerable one may be pursued aggressively. To imitate a crayfish, tie on an appropriate pattern and cast it near rocky areas. A quick, long strip that moves the fly near the bottom may entice a big trout into a vicious strike. Or it may just hang up your fly on a rock. It's the price you pay.


Most fly shops have some kind of crayfish imitation, although they vary from shop-to-shop and therefore aren't on Westfly's standard fly list. In a pinch, you can use a Woolly Bugger or other generic streamer pattern in an orange-ish color.


ADULT COLOR: Browns, oranges, olives

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Wide tail, long antennae, pinchers, four pairs of legs, prominent eyes.