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Bone Lake Protection: Invasive Species:

Rusty Crawfish

Rusty Crayfish are present in Bone Lake, discovered August 31, 2012. They are present in many Wisconsin lakes, rivers and streams.

Rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) are native to streams in the Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee region. Spread by anglers who use them as bait, rusty crayfish are prolific and can severely reduce lake and stream vegetation, depriving native fish and their prey of cover and food. They also reduce native crayfish populations.

They were likely introduced to Wisconsin waters primarily by anglers who used them as live bait. They are still sold as bait and by biological supply companies. It is illegal to possess both live crayfish and angling equipment simultaneously on any inland Wisconsin water (except the Mississippi River). It is also illegal to release crayfish into a water of the state without a permit. 

Rusty crayfish can be identified by their larger size, brown body and rusty colored patches on each side and claws with black bands near tips. Rusty crayfish are 1 3/8" long when they reach maturity, and can grow up to 4" long. For more information, download the Rusty Crawfish Brochure from the right hand column of this page.

Rusty Crayfish
photo: Minnesota Sea Grant

How to Identify Rusty Crayfish