Southern Louisiana carries the distinction of being the crawfish capital of the world. On August 26, 2005 Hurricane Katrina’s path came through the lower south east corner of Louisiana causing extensive property damage and flooding followed by Hurricane Rita that penetrated south west Louisiana. In Jefferson Parish, Lake Pontchartrain, vibrant with shrimp and some of the regions finest blue crab has been tested and found to contain no harmful contaminants in the fisheries from the flooding. Crawfish are not harvested from Lake Pontchartrain, so there was little impact on crawfish supplies.Louisiana red claw crawfish are found in agricultural ponds, swamps and marshes throughout the state, but the best wild populations occur in the overflow basins of the Atchafalaya, Red and Pearl rivers. These rivers were unaffected by Hurricane Katrina and Rita.
The other major source of Louisiana crawfish are the crawfish farms where crawfish are cultivated for local use and export to other states. Hurricane Rita did impact some of the coastal crawfish farms, but we still expect a favorable farm crawfish season for 2006. The pond crawfish season will start after Christmas, 2005.
Normally the season starts as early as late November. Unfortunately Hurricane Rita caused brackish waters to infiltrate the bayou swamps. Also leaves and storm debris contaminated the bayous as well. The water in the bayous is naturally filtered. But before water from the bayou is used to fill crawfish ponds for the purpose of cultivation, it will be necessary to wait a few more weeks for natural filtration to take place, thus delaying the crawfish season untill January 2006. The river crawfish season generally starts late March or early April and will not be affected by the weather events that Louisiana endured in 2005. All in all folks, look for the Lousiana crawfish season to start up the second or third week of January, 2006.