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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Taste of Louisiana Too Close To Home

credit: Kristyna Wentz-Graff,
from Sept. 8 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article
on the crayfish's appearance in Germantown, WI

For those of you who have never felt the heat in a Cajun shack in southern Louisiana sucking the heads of spicy crayfish to the sounds of a frottoir (washboard) and button accordion – you can savor the flavors without the miserably hot weather of the south. Locally supplied Cajun boils are happening throughout the north complete with crayfish pie, crayfish jambalaya, crayfish etouffee, and beans with "mudbugs". The only thing you’ll need to import is the Clifton Chenier and the Boozoo Chavis tunes.

Unfortunately, we may soon be supplying local-grown Louisiana crawdaddies too.

Wisconsin streams and rivers for years now have been invaded by the Rusty Crayfish, a crayfish with a voracious appetite of its own. It mows down native aquatic vegetation giving our fish no where to hide from predators and out competing our native crayfish for food and lodging. It is next impossible to eradicate these critters once they have infested a stream or lake; however, it is possible to keep their numbers in check by harvesting them. And folks around the state have been doing just that.

This summer the Louisiana red swamp crayfish has been found in a 6 acre pond in Washington County. These crayfish have an even more voracious appetite. They are dark red in color with raised bright red spots covering the body and claws and a black wedge-shaped stripe on the top of the abdomen. They may vary in length between 2 to 5 inches (some can reach a monstrous 8+ inches). It is very important that this infestation be contained.

If you are in the Menominee River watershed in southeast Wisconsin, please keep your eyes peeled for the Louisiana red swamp crayfish.
Check out these references to learn more about the crayfish and what to do if you should find one: and

posted by the River Rat

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