Opening of Morganza Spillway will likely force abrupt end to crawfish season

Updated: May. 24, 2019 at 4:54 PM CDT
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MARINGOUIN, La. (WAFB) - If the swollen Mississippi River forces officials to open the Morganza Spillway, it could mean an abrupt end to this year’s crawfish season.

RELATED: LDAF commissioner urges farmers to prepare for effects of potential Morganza Spillway opening

It’s why workers spent Friday, May 24 picking up hundreds of traps in the ponds behind Maringouin, an area that would be directly in the path of the floodwaters if and when the Morganza Spillway is opened.


“You definitely got to pick those up. Once the water gets over them, you will never find them with the current,” said crawfish farmer, Larry Dees Jr.

It’s why the sacks that crews were able to fill up Friday may be the last for this season, since the traps will not go back in the water. Instead, they’re tossed in a trailer, with Mother Nature forcing an unofficial and early end and hitting farmers’ bottom line.

“You ain’t going to be able to crawfish. Most of them, that’s their living,” said Dees Jr. “It means you lose everything. That’s all your income if that’s all you got.”

That’s if they’re using pond traps. Some, like Dees, who has his traps in the spillway and tied to trees, are raising their strings.

“That’s a good 12 to 13 foot right there and that’s where it’s going to be when they open the locks. When they open the locks, it’ll get that high or higher probably,” said Dees.


Dees plans to stay on top of raising the traps so he can continue crawfishing despite the Morganza opening and flooding the spillway. A final decision will be made May 28 on whether or not the spillway will be opened. If it it opened, the process will start in early June with the opening of only one or two bays to make sure the water is increased by a foot per day so wildlife in the area has enough opportunity to make it to higher ground.

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