HOUMA -- With this year's winter seeing mild temperatures so far, crawfish farmers are expecting a decent crop of crawfish in the coming months.
Cold weather sends crawfish into a lethargic state where they don't feed as much and many bury themselves in the mud. Warmer temperatures make crawfish more active and they are therefore caught more easily. Last year's cold winter saw good crawfish harvests delayed until March.
"The season is going pretty good," Kyle LeBlanc, a Raceland farmer, told The Courier. "Last year we had such a bad winter."
He predicted harvests by mid-January will pick up and continue throughout February just in time for Mardi Gras, barring a snap of cold weather.
Farmers usually start crawfishing in December.
LeBlanc said he started running traps for crawfish in late November but hasn't caught crawfish in large quantities yet. Still, he said prices are high enough to warrant farming. Farmers are getting between $2.75 to $3 per pound, LeBlanc said. Prices tend to be higher during the winter when supply is low compared to the peak months in the spring.
Gary Blanchard, owner of Crawfish House in Houma, said the supply of crawfish is fair and should be getting better toward the end of the month. Blanchard is selling live crawfish for around $3.25 to $3.75 per pound, depending on size, and $5 per pound for boiled mud bugs.
Crawfish farmer Jimmy Cantrelle in Raceland is optimistic due to the good weather and good prices. He added that the warmer weather has meant a bigger crop of rice too, which he grows to feed his supply of crawfish. "It really helped to have food in the ponds."