Our property came with 6 acres of well irrigated land. I didn't fully realize how important the water was until we moved here and I spent time tending the oasis of green surrounded by desert. Once we figured out our irrigation system, we soon found we had an unexpected protein perk. Dozens of crayfish would end up washed into our irrigation ditch, miles downstream from where they left the North Fork of the Gunnison river. The river was low and warm, and the trout had fled downstream to the colder Gunnison River, allowing for a crayfish population explosion. The suddenly superabundant crayfish would leave the river and make their way down the ditch for miles, be clinging to the righthand side of the ditch when they came to our weir box, and be swept into our irrigation pipes, and end up with their claws protruding out of the irrigation gates on our lower pasture pipe. Once a week after watering the pasture, I would flush the gated pipe to release all the debris that had washed into it and threatened to clog the small gates. Each time, I saw a dozen or so crayfish riding the last gush of water out into the grass. Raccoon tracks soon began showing up at the end of the pipe. My 9 year old son Gabriel and I began holding a trout net at the end of our irrigation pipe when we flushed it, and we would snag the dozens of crayfish and transfer them to a bucket. Above is one stud example.
Here is what you get after boiling them in Tony Chachere's spice and water for a few minutes. This was only my second time eating crayfish, and they were far better than the buffet line crayfish I had in Virginia20 years ago. Definitely worth the effort. The kids, our neighbor and I had an impromptu crayfish feast on this catch while listening to Brazilian EDM and eating crackers. The little lobsters of Delta County didn't disappoint!