Crawfish make Thanksgiving cameo

HOUMA, LA (WVUE) - Move over turkey, crawfish is coming to dinner.

Bayou Cane Seafood in Terrebonne Parish is already slinging the crimson crustacean just in time for Thanksgiving.

"People think that it starts out around February, but we've been doing it for seven years now and doing it around mid-November," Delvin Francis, owner of Bayou Cane Seafood, said.

The price is no Black Friday sale, at $5.99 a pound, Francis knows, if you boil it, they will come.

"The price is a little high right now. It's probably gonna run that way until more ponds open up. It'll get a little better, it's gonna drop a little, but I don't see it dropping a whole bunch, but like I said, you're not gonna get the end of the year price at the beginning," Francis said.

The true crawfish connoisseur won't let the price tag stand in the way of their love for mudbugs.

"If I want 'em, I want 'em. I gotta pay for 'em, whatever they cost, I gotta pay for 'em, yeah, that's the way it goes," Robert Ross Jr., who was ordering lunch at the restaurant, said.

So far, the crawfish at the restaurant are a decent size, but Francis said if you want the good catch, it's wise to buy before the holidays.

"In the winter time sometimes it gets pretty chilly and they'll get smaller, they'll have a smaller crop that comes out, the larger ones probably bury themselves," Francis said.

Louisiana has more than 180,000 acres of crawfish production, but not every pond produces what's known as "early crawfish," according to LSU Aquaculturist Dr. Ray McClain.

McClain said the early catch typically comes from the permanent ponds that still have crawfish crawling around from last season.

"They were in the production ponds during the past season that didn't get harvested, either they were too small to harvest or they just evaded the traps, those are the ones that survived the summer typically," Dr. McClain said.

Dr. McClain said the ponds that use rice patties are typically rotated each year and those crawfish won't be ready to harvest until next year. LSU crawfish researcher Mark Shirley said we should see a typical season for crawfish, with plenty to peel next spring.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.