Freshwater crayfish, a sort of miniature lobster, are native to our lakes and rivers; the indigenous species found in Britain is the Small White-Clawed (Astacus pallipes) but they are increasingly rare due to pollution and being eaten out of house and home by the imported Red Signal which has all but wiped them out.
Farmed freshwater crayfish are a different species, the Red Signal (Pacifastacus leniusculus) come from the West coast of America and have the advantage of being bigger in size, faster growing and disease resistant. These are now much more common than our native White Clawed crayfish which are protected.
Our traps are very efficient at catching these little beasts, they come complete with a bait box (oily fish or cat food are a good bait), are made from plastic and stainless steel, and can be stacked for convenient storage. Please be aware our traps have an opening of no more than 95mm, ensuring mammals such as otters can not be trapped in them. Please ensure any trap you buy has this size opening, and if bigger an otter guard is fitted.
The rule is: "A legal trap will always have an entrance less than 200mm and if it is greater than 95mm will need an otter guard fitted."
Before eating, crayfish have to be cleansed to clear out their gut. Larousse Gastronomique goes into elaborate instructions about how to remove the 'media lamina of the tail flukes'. If you do not, 'it spoils their delicate flavour' Luckily this is not as difficult as it sounds, and placing them in a bucket of clean water, changed daily for a couple of days will will do the trick. Boiled in slightly salted water, or thrown on the BBQ they taste great! A simple recipe, and how to shell your crayfish can be found here.