Not only are these creatures plentiful, they are tasty. There is also a trick to catching them which will save you a considerable amount of time if you intend to go out to the stream and harvest some for a tasty meal. While may people associate them with Creole / Cajun Cuisine and the South in general, I have caught and eaten some tasty ones in Upstate New York so as far as I can tell, anywhere there is running water with some rocky shallows, there will be crawfish (or crayfish, depending on who you ask) for the picking.
- First, wear something like hipwaders, or sturdy water shoes as if you do not you are nearly certain to bash your toes on the rocks in the shallow areas where you will be concentrating, and while not generally harmful, the muck at the bottom of creeks can certainly cause a fairly nasty infection if you do get a cut.
- They spook easily and with one powerful flick of their tail they will swim off and hide. It happens in a flash and usually disturbs enough silt and algae that you will never know where that one got to. The best trick is to quietly lower a bucket or net into the water well behind the target and then spook it and it will zip off backwards right into your waiting trap.
- If you want to judge how many are hanging out in a general area, the best thing to do is to grab some worms (even old dried out ones from nearby exposed rocks) and toss 'em in. If you have found a live bunch they'll start coming out of nowhere, under rocks, amid weeds, etc... to feed. This would be a good place to start catching them.
As for cooking them, there are a handful of things that work quite well: