Crayfish are a popular freshwater fishing bait for catching smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, channel catfish, and other species.
In most Mid Atlantic states, crayfish can be caught with traps, by seining, or by hand around rocks, aquatic plants or other structures.
Crayfish are usually hooked thru the thorax (mid-section) or tail and free lined or fished under a float. For smallmouth bass, they are particularly effective when drifted over structure such as rocks, gravel bottoms, or deep pools.
Because non-native crayfish can have detrimental effects on local eco-systems, the use of crayfish for bait is restricted in some areas. It may be necessary to check local regulations before purchasing, transporting, or releasing crayfish into the wild.