As someone who craves crawfish and spends a lot of time plotting how I will get access to the good stuff since I currently live in the Midwest, I am a natural for finding an excuse to get to crawfish ponds. And luckily I have friends who were willing to help make that happen while I was in Louisiana. I was giddy. Giddy for days. Bill & Janice Cheek probably weren’t sure what hit them!
From the road, crawfish ponds look like a rice field but very few rice fields are flooded this time of year. So I have driven by a bunch and have wondered what I should look for, but without a farmer on tap to explain, I kept driving. Bill did a great job of talking through things and we captured some of that on video.
A Tough Spring
Spring 2019 was a rough one for farmers in several areas and that included Lebeau, Louisiana where Bill produces crawfish. That wet spring not only kept him from planting the rice he normally would, it kept him from getting his backup crop of sudangrass planted too! So he decided to go ahead with natural vegetation as the feed.
The process of putting out traps and working a boat in the shallow ponds remains intriguing, but Bill’s explanation of cutting trails into the field before he flooded it with water made absolute sense.
The number of birds I saw was amazing. And Bill’s stories about the others took things up a notch further! But it was probably the explanation of the crawfish reproductive cycle that left me truly in awe… but when Janice teted me photos… well, I can’t show them to enough people! I mean to see a crawfish with eggs or baby crawfish attached to the underneath of a tail? That’s mindblowing! And they make it out of mud burrows with that? Dang. Check them out!