Heavy, sustained rains in south Louisiana will likely hurt crawfish farmers’ production because overflowing drainage canals allow fish to get into the ponds and eat young crawfish, LSU AgCenter crawfish specialist Greg Lutz said Thursday.

Generally, a nice cool rain is good for crawfish because it freshens the water in ponds, Lutz said in an email. The problem for crawfish farmers is that once the drainage canals fill, the water can back up into the ponds through drain pipes and fish such as bullheads and green sunfish get into the ponds.

“These fish can eat lots of juvenile crawfish. They can really reduce the population,” Lutz said. “This will really be a problem in most of the crawfish-producing parishes, unfortunately.”

In the Atchafalaya basin, the rains will help wild crawfish, providing more flooded habitat and encouraging “the mama crawfish” to come out of their burrows with young, Lutz said. But unless more water from the North flows in and keeps those areas flooded, there won’t be much long-term benefit.