Crayfish harvest at Lake Tahoe to begin this month

By Jeff Delong, Reno Gazette-Journal

Pursuing a vision to make a buck while helping to improve Lake Tahoe’s clarity, a Nevada man hopes to begin harvesting crayfish from the lake’s waters within this month.

With all but one key permit expected to be in hand this week, Fred Jackson and Tahoe Lobster Co. Inc. are ready to get to work. Chefs across the Reno-Tahoe area are lined up to receive a savory product they expect to be well received by customers.

“I’m ready to go. It’s time to make the move,” Jackson said.

Jackson plans the first commercial operation to sell live crayfish trapped from Tahoe’s waters, a venture he said could aid the lake. His company’s motto: “Clarity by cuisine.”

Crayfish don’t belong in Lake Tahoe, but they love the place. Introduced in the area in the late 1800s, Tahoe’s crayfish population is now estimated in the range of 200 million to 300 million.

They’re causing problems and could be associated with a dramatic decline in the lake’s native invertebrates, said Sudeep Chandra, a freshwater science expert at University of Nevada, Reno.

Crayfish could also be linked to algae blooms diminishing Tahoe’s famed clarity.

“When they poop, they stimulate algae growth,” said Chandra, who is working with Tahoe Lobster Co. to track potential ecological benefits in parts of the lake through removal of crayfish.

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Comments (4)
  1. dryclean says - Posted: June 1, 2012

    Very creative business venture. Best of luck and I look forward to sampling the harvest. I hope the product will be available in farmer’s markets in Lake Tahoe and local shops. Hopefully not too expensive.

  2. Old Long Skiis says - Posted: June 1, 2012

    I still call ’em Crawdads.Back when I was a kid we caught them in minnow traps. Sell the minnows to the fishermen at Ski Run Marina and throw back the crawdads.
    Years later we were catching them on a length of string with a piece of steak tied to the end. Look for a rocky place thats 10 or 20 ft. deep, lean over the side of the boat and watch them latch onto the bait and then slowly pull them up and shake them off into a 5 gallon bucket on the floor of the boat.
    Boil for a few minutes, break off tail, clean out poop vein, scoop out tail meat and cook in a pan with butter. Very tasty but they are small so it takes several to make a meal.
    Good luck Tahoe Lobster! I hope to see you out on the lake.
    Take care, Old Crawdad Skiis

  3. Bryan says - Posted: June 13, 2012

    This is true American business ingenuity at it’s best, clean up the lake from an invasive species and make a few bucks while you are at it, I can’t find a better business to want to support, bring on the Tahoe Lobster, best of luck with your endeavor.

  4. Bob Broili says - Posted: July 19, 2012

    My late father, Julius Broili, would also trap them in a minnow trap so we could eat the “cray-fish” or “craw-dads” at our Summer home at Homewood. We did not know they were not native as he had trapped them there in the 1920’s as well. They were only about 3-4 inches long as I recall. They turned red when you dropped them into boiling water just like lobster.