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Thread: Rusty Crayfish Impact on Spawning on LOTW

  1. #1
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    Rusty Crayfish Impact on Spawning on LOTW

    Let me apologize in advance that this may be an unpleasant topic, but I wanted to know if anyone else has thought about it.

    The spawning article in the latest issue of MHM says that muskies prefer and need weedy areas for successful spawning. We already know that the rusty crayfish have be damaging weeds on LOTW. So, it logically follows that spawning may be negatively impacted by the crayfish. Furthermore, I wonder if crayfish will eat musky eggs and fry.

    Any thoughts on this?

    Brian

  2. #2
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    Yes they will eat eggs and fry. Here is a little snippet I found on their diet.

    Food Habits

    Crayfish are considered opportunistic feeders. Rusty crayfish feed on a variety of aquatic plants, benthic invertebrates (like aquatic worms, snails, leeches, clams, aquatic insects, and crustaceans such as side-swimmers and waterfleas), detritus (decaying plants and animals, including associated bacteria and fungi), fish eggs, and small fish. Juveniles especially feed on benthic invertebrates like mayflies, stoneflies, midges, and side-swimmers.

    I'm sure they will have an impact on LOTW!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Steve Heiting's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how long rusties have been in LOTW, but they were there in large numbers when the big year classes we're currently catching were hatched, so I think the muskies are doing well in spite of them. In fact, judging by the number of muskies I've caught that were pooping crayfish parts, I'd say they exact some revenge.
    Steve Heiting

    www.steveheiting.com

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by lelekb View Post
    Let me apologize in advance that this may be an unpleasant topic, but I wanted to know if anyone else has thought about it.

    The spawning article in the latest issue of MHM says that muskies prefer and need weedy areas for successful spawning. We already know that the rusty crayfish have be damaging weeds on LOTW. So, it logically follows that spawning may be negatively impacted by the crayfish. Furthermore, I wonder if crayfish will eat musky eggs and fry.

    Any thoughts on this?

    Brian
    there are still 1792 bays full of weeds by June 1st on LOTW's - The rusty's have definitely jacked up some of my favorite spots (which were mostly isolated weed patches)...the spawning bays are usually unfishable (weed choked) by July 1st.

  5. #5
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    Rusties are definitely a nasty invasive species. However, as Justin C said, if anything they might help some of those weed-choked bays. And they're not one of those species that can completely alter (for better or worse) a fishery, like zebra mussles.

    Will they have an impact? Sure. But I'm sure the muskies are gorging on them in revenge. Might actually make for an interesting pattern as time goes on, crawling jigs like bass anglers do. Guys were really worried when gobies were found in Lake Erie. That worked out pretty well for the smallmouth anglers.

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