I used to trap them up at my cabin in Potter. Just used a wire type minnow trap with a cheap can of fishy type cat food inside for bait. Caught afew everyday. Kept them in a wire cage sunk in the stream till I had enough for a feed.
I use the wire minnow trap also. I bait mine with shad mostly but also use fish heads and skins. In the spring time when the sandbass are running, I'll catch a bunch and fillet them out. I'll save the heads and guts and freeze them to bait up some traps with. But shad are better as they are much oilyer and attract crawdads much better. I usually bring a big bucket full home and freeze them in gallon size freezer bags.
I happen to live nearby a spring creek. I'll bait my traps up and place them at the head of a pool where the current will carry the scent across the bigger deeper pools of water. I leave it there for about 1 hour and then retrieve. If I'm just wanting a mess for my immediate family I'll bait one or two traps up and just leave it in the water for about one hour. I'f I'm trying to catch a mess for a big family reunion, then I'll work the creek. I'll place a trap out and then walk down to the next pool and set another trap, then I'll walk down to the next pool and set a third trap out. After the third trap is set I'll walk back to the first trap, empty it, rebait, and then walk down past the third trap and set it in the next pool of water. Then I retrieve the second and reset it, then the third, and so on. I'll keep rebaiting and resetting the traps till I think I have enough for the big reunion. It wont take long and you'll have a 5 gallon bucket full of crawdads.
I always use fresh bait. Oily fish work great. We'll freeze suckers and other oily fish until we go after crawdads. When you suck the goodness out of a boiled crawdad, would you rather ingest some fresh frozen fish, or rotten fish, or cat food?
We hit a little lake at dusk one time, put out 15 traps. DS was about 4, but he still qualified for 5 traps with his name on them. We set up the tent and ate and about 11 paddled back out in the rowboat. First trap was stuffed and had crawdads hanging onto the outside. The bucket was full by the 4th trap and the boat was almost full by the 15th. Next morning was a repeat. I set up the kettle and boiled while DW and DS worked the traps until noon. We brought home gallons of tail meat, and a whole 80 lb gunny sack of boiled carcasses for the hogs and chickens.
They sell an extension section to make the trap longer. Those work, but then I like to hang a bait near each cone instead of one bait in the very middle. It's a long way to walk to the ends for a poor crawdad.
Now ID upped the size limit a bunch. I made some traps that size and they are big.
Ed that's awesome. I've never trapped a lake before for crawdads. Do you have problems with turtles in the lakes out your way?
I've been trying to figure out how to trap ripraps near dams and bridges for crawdads. I once seen the tail end of a shad sticking out of the rocks and thought I would use it for bait. When I picked it up there was two huge big greenish blue crawdads stuck to it. They quickly fell off. Ever since then I've been trying to figure out how to set some traps and catch of feast of giant crawdads.
Ed that Danielson trap your web page showed is just the kind I use. Only thing is that I've gotten to where I will wrap the outside of the cage with clear packing tape but not the inside cone part. I do this to concentrate the crawdads to the entrance and am able to catch more. If I don't the crawdads will surround the outside and bottom and eat what they can reach in for. Of coarse I set my traps in streams and have them running perpindicular with the flow of the stream. This way the current enters one end of the trap and carries the smell out the other end attracting the crawdads to one entrance only.
I'm not sure if there are turtle in Idaho, I don't think there are. I never saw one.
This isn't really a lake, it is an irrigation reservoir, maybe 50 acres and way out in the sagebrush. It is about 4-8 feet deep where we trap, the bottom is either mud or big lava rocks and lava shelves. The water is alkali and there are trout and crawdads.
We do see lots of them hanging outside the trap so we get it in the boat fast and manage to get some of them. The tape sounds good.
When we set on the lava rocks, which are 1-4' diameter, we plunk the trap in and hope for the best. I think some still get in even if the trap is vertical in a hole. I did get a trap hung and pulled it in half and had to go for a swim to find the other half.