Louisiana Crawfish: Floodwaters Can Affect Water Quality in Ponds

Crawfish ponds. Photo: LSU AgCenter

Ray McClain, LSU AgCenter aquaculture specialist, said deep floods should not be allowed to remain on crawfish ponds because the water will be low in oxygen.

“It’s not a bad idea to hold a real shallow flood,” McClain said.

He said only 3-4 inches of water will help allow decomposition of dead vegetation, but the water should be drained before the field is flooded for the crawfish season.

According to McClain, most areas should be better off than last year because the rainfall from Hurricane Harvey in most of Louisiana was less than last year’s August storm.

He said last year’s flooding in August was not bad for most crawfish operations because the deeper floods were drained quickly. But the crawfish crop in fields that held deep water for extended periods of time was affected by poor water quality, he said.

McClain said it’s not unusual that females with young crawfish have started emerging in ponds already, because they usually start coming out of their burrows with young crawfish in September.

If levees are overtopped by flooding, he said, young crawfish will escape from the ponds, and fish will enter the ponds and eat the remaining crawfish.

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