Two crawfish baits and several bait quantities were evaluated in 2 trials conducted from January through May in four 2.0–2.5-ha experimental earthen crawfish (Procambarus clarkii and Procambarus zonangulus) ponds at the Aquaculture Research Station, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, LA. In the bait-type trial, a freshwater cluepid, gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum), a commercially formulated bait, and a shad formulated bait combination were evaluated. Highest daily crawfish catch per unit trap effort (CPUE) and bait margin (gross value of crawfish less bait cost) was with gizzard shad at water temperatures less than 20°C (January, February, March), and with formulated bait at 20°C and higher (April, May). The shad formulated bait combination was effective in attracting crawfish over a wide range of water temperatures from February through May. In the bait quantity trial, both gizzard shad and the formulated bait were evaluated singly at 113 g/trap, 150 g/trap, 227 g/trap, and 340 g/trap from February through May. As was observed in the bait-type trial, shad was more effective than formulated bait in cool water (≤20°C) and formulated bait was more effective in warm water (>20°C). With the exception of formulated bait in cool water, crawfish CPUE generally increased with an increase in bait quantity with both baits; however, bait margin did not differ among bait quantities, indicating that the additional revenue associated with increased catch did not compensate for the increased cost of bait. A wide range of bait quantities potentially can be used to maximize potential bait margin.
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Vol. 29 • No. 1