I'm in the process of trying to get a licence from the environment agency for Cray fish. It's not a 100% yet but Iíve got permission from the lake owner, which the environment agency suggested I do before applying for a licence with them.
The pots (funnel trap) I use for prawns are fine for Crayfish but Iíve not used any other fixed method. Has anyone out there used fyke nets or the like?
Can you use fyke nets? as youíll catch eel thus needing a licence for eel too or are there different traps for each? Does it matter if you release all the eels you catch?
So many questions to ask
Also does anyone know where I can get hold of some nets? Or some good sites where I might pick up some second hand?
As far as I am aware, fyke nets are illegal as they have the habit of catching otters (amongst others). We had a case recently of poachings using one on our local river and sadly they managed to net a bitch otter that had cubs (cubs couldnt be found).
Ed is probably best placed to tell you the legalities of Ed and if I am wrong, sorry for having misled you
It goes to show what can happen when you trap irresponsibly. Do you have anymore information on how the otter got trapped? Did he break into the pots or go through the tunnels? The reason Iím asking is that the entrance to the traps are too small for an otter to get through I think. So if he broke into the pot through the mesh and got caught that means all fixed engines, pots or whatever using net are a possible hazard for otters so I would have to use metal otter proof traps if there is such a thing. I see there is a lot more research to do.
I'm quite sure you still can purchase licences for fyke nets for eels, obviously you wonít be able to chuck them in any old river. http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk...88606/?lang=_e
The gravel pit Iím hoping to work was once a commercial crayfish lake in the past before moving on to other things. I know there is one other licensed potter who works it occasionally. I'm sure he uses a fyke net with pots. I have not be able to catch up with him yet.
You must use otter guards on any fyke nets whether for eels of whatever. Otter guards are a legal requirement under Fisheries byelaws. Guards are apparently regularly sent to eel netsmen with new net licences. Illegal fyke nets and legal ones will kill otters unless set properly. Read this article by the NFU from March 2004:
the problem is a fyke nets works by utilising a series of hole apertures which get increasingly small and trap the eel. But the otter can get in and get stuck whereas a fixed sixe aperture of a crayfish trap would prevent this. Personally I could not see a reason to use a fyke net when crayfish traps will work fine. I can post details if you want.
den, I see you have posted a few times on this so sorry if I repeat stuff. I spent quite a long time looking at these. A GREAT and underrated wild food source IMO.
I brought a Crayfish trap last year and am about to go out and use it and will post results. Also I intend to trial various techniques for catching them more suitable for Bushcrafting (i.e. light and foldable traps etc.). They taste superb, are easy to cook and you also help to reduce numbers of the invasive American Signal Crayfish which is wiping out the native Crayfish both in the UK and France ( and other countries in Europe).
But be aware that it is illegal at present in the UK to trap Crayfish without a licence from the Environment Agency! Mostly a reaction to this serious problem and the need to ensure they are not transported alive to other waters which do not have them yet. Serious fines if caught.
Here in France sense reigns and as long as you stick to the 2-3 invading species you can catch all year round what you want. BUT you have to kill them as you catch them and serious fines for moving them even to home to cook. But for out in the wild a great natural resource. In some areas of Britain already infested you can check the postcode where you live with the EA and may or may not be able to keep them alive at home for personal consumption without a licence.
You can check out current proposals and byelaws on crayfish fishing at the EA:
Lots of information. He makes traps to order based on years of crayfish trapping. Only available in the USA but read the 'History' section for a fascinating account of his trapping and trap evolution. Also the Q&A section has lots of useful info. There are loads of photos of types of traps to look at.
Trapper Arnes crayfish site is more lighthearted look at crayfish but very useful too and more traps. Again it is in the USA but gives some good ideas of what to go for. The blue Swedish trap he sells is available in Europe.
Alana Ecology in the UK sell two types. One is too small for the American Signal crayfish you want. The 'Trappy' trap with 20mm mesh allows the smaller native to escape but retain the larger Signal. £15.95 inc. VAT.
Small Live catch Crayfish trap
Manufactured from 14g wire which is hot dipped in moulten zinc after manufacture for long life.
Designed to only catch larger american signal cray fish
Hinged door to release captured crayfish
These 'trappy' traps are supplied flat and are easy to assemble. The advantage is they are tough but light and foldable. The cylindrical traps are apparently the best shape ( less snagging in bottom etc.) It also has a small cage you put the bait which is put in the trap. This stops the crayfish eating the bait and leaving so quickly!
Crayfish Trap for Free!
Found this guide to making a fish/ crayfish trap out of a plastic bottle. The instructions are in French but it is well illustrated with good photos of each stage.
the section at the bottom refers to a mirror trap of sorts :shock: Apparently the fish see their reflection and attack it being lured into the trap. Not essential in the trap
I would probably look to get a larger bottle or container as signals are pretty big. Obviously there is no mesh to allow the smaller white-claw crayfish to escape so you would need to check when emptying.
It would make a good minnow/ fish fry trap too.
I posted some more detail on another thread here also:
A month or so ago I tracked down the man in the environment agency who issues the licences. He said most upper parts and tributaries of rivers that hold signal crayfish still hold the native crayfish and people are getting confused.
I think currently only the Thames region issue licences. This is due to change after Christmas.
Iíll sort some photos out of the collapsible traps I am intending on using.
I have had them for a couple of years now and are great for salt water .I donít see any reason why they canít be used for crayfish.