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Do Trout Eat Crayfish?

My brother and I grew up fishing in Florida and we often came across wild crayfish. However, we’ve never used crayfish to catch trout, so we wanted to find out more. After a little research, here’s what we found.

Trout love to eat crayfish. You can often find crayfish shells inside trout bellies. Using crayfish lures also work well if you can bounce them off the bottom like a real crayfish, rather than pulling the lure horizontally. There’s also less chance of snagging the line.

So, while trout will eat crayfish, are they good to use as bait, and what are the best crayfish lures out there? Let’s take a closer look.

Do Trout Eat Crayfish in the Wild?

surveying crayfish in trout waters
Surveying crayfish in trout waters

Trout do eat crayfish in the wild, but it’s not as common as other prey due to their different regions. Crayfish are normally found in the southeast US, while wild trout are found in the northern US. However, in places like Texas and Louisana, stocked trout often feed on the native crayfish.

Most of the farmed and wild crayfish population are found in the southeastern US, with about 90% of the crayfish found in Louisana alone.

While Louisana does have stocked trout, wild trout are common in areas with colder waters.

I live in Austin, Texas, and I’ve seen both crayfish and stocked trout in the same bodies of water. While I haven’t seen a trout eat a crayfish personally, I imagine that if they come across each other, the trout won’t pass up on an easy meal.

Are Crayfish Good Bait for Trout?

holding a crayfish over a river

Crayfish are a good bait to use for trout. When using crayfish bait, aim for rocks piles and shadowy meadows. Fishing in the early morning or later afternoon is best, as crayfish naturally come out in low light. By mimicking the crayfish’s natural behavior, your chance to catch trout will be increased.

Whether stocked or wild, trout love feeding on crayfish bait and artificial crayfish lures. This is especially true of mackinaw and brown trout, but rainbow trout will also eat them if given the chance.

Of course, every body of water is different, so adjust your fishing style to your environment to maximize your chances of catching trout.

If you’d like to see firsthand how to rig a live crayfish, check out this video by AnglersEscape (the video says bass and catfish, but this rig is also great for trout!).

The Top 3 Crayfish Lures for Trout

If you don’t have access to crayfish bait, or you prefer lures, you’re in luck. I did some research and found these 3 crayfish lures are some of the best out there for catching trout.

1. Rebel Crayfish

2. Uncle Buck’s Rigged Crayfish

3. Rebel Big Craw

Final Thoughts

Although trout and crayfish generally live in different regions, there is some overlap. Even if a trout hasn’t been exposed to crayfish as a natural prey, the look and scent of the crayfish will still be appealing and the trout will most likely take the bait.

Still, ask local fishermen and the local fishing shop to see what the trout are biting this year. While crayfish aren’t a common bait, you might be surprised by how effective it is for catching trout.

Worst case, you can always bring spare bait and lures as a backup. Keep plenty of hooks, sinkers, and leaders for best results.

More Tips to Catch Trout

  • Stocked trout love corn. Since stocked trout are typically raised on corn pellets, they have a natural desire for anything corn. Use any bait that’s corn scented, or even use fresh corn at the end of your lure to attract more trout!
  • Add PowerBait on the end of the hooks. Trout are suckers for PowerBait, and you really can’t go wrong here. To see which PowerBait are best for trout, check out my recent post: The Top 3 PowerBait for Stocked Trout.
  • Chum the water (if it’s legal). In some areas, chumming is allowed and can dramatically attract trout to feed around your bait. With a bit of luck, they’ll take the bait.
  • Fish for trout in the right months. Trout are somewhat seasonal fish, so it’s important to know when they’re active (or stocked). To see which months are best to catch trout in your area, you can check out my other recent post: The Best Months to Fish for Trout in the US.